June 18, 2008
| by Arlen Schweiger
Media server provider Kaleidescape is continuing to bank on consumers’ satisfaction with standard DVD, for now. Though the company is working toward pushing out a Blu-ray player next year, this year’s big product still fully integrates with Kaleidescape’s robust organizational system for your movies and music.
The company has announced two movie players that give your DVD collection the upconversion treatment—the 1080p Player and the 1080p Mini Player—and are straightforward in saying that these will be just as good as Blu-ray for the non-videophile mainstream viewer.
“We believe we’ve done a really good job of scaling DVD content. As I’ve looked at the output and we’ve had some folks look at the output, we’ve become pretty convinced that the viewing experience rivals that of Blu-ray,” says Kaleidescape product development director Linus Wong. “We’re not going to say you get a bit-for-bit identical image. But we certainly believe, that for most consumers, the experience they get with our new players will, in fact, rival the experience you might get with Blu-ray.”
Designed to work as components within a Kaleidescape system and not as standalone units, both new players deliver the 1080p upconverted goods with help from Sigma Designs VXP video processing.
The 1080p Player includes a DVD/CD-ROM drive for direct playback and importing to your Kaleidescape system, where you’ll get the usual metadata and extras in the company’s Movie Guide database while sorting through the onscreen display (OSD) for both movies and music. The 1080p Mini Player includes a mounting bracket so you can attach it and hide it locally in a room where you don’t need direct playback—perhaps a secondary area where you won’t be inserting Netflix rentals or movies that your friends bring over—and can just pull from your Kaleidescape server.
Wong says that an Import button on the front panel of the 1080p Player was added so people don’t have to worry about any potential legal troubles when popping in a borrowed or rented movie. The importing of a movie to the system only starts when you press the button, and not automatically when you insert a disc; you can also select the “Import DVD” or “Import CD” on the OSD.
“It helps cover the customers’ peace of mind,” says Wong. “Customers understand they aren’t allowed to import rented movies, or movies they don’t own. It gives them peace of mind that the player won’t automatically import content, as it did in the past.”
The 1080p Player is available now with an MSRP of $4,295, and the Mini Player will be out next month with an MSRP of $2,995.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.