For extreme home theater and entertainment enthusiasts, Kaleidescape has been the must-have system to own, if you can afford it. With the launch of the new Cinema One system, a lot more people will be bragging about their video servers than ever before.
Kaleidescape’s Cinema One is the company’s new entry-level high-definition entertainment server. At $3,995 it’s $10,000 cheaper than the company’s previous starter system. Yes, $10,000 cheaper. For the most part, it offers the same user experience for a single-room setup (or two-room: see below). Also, it doesn’t necessarily require an installer to hook up and configure. You can pick it up yourself from a dealer or even order it online directly from Kaleidescape. It ships with the required Ethernet and HDMI cables right in the box. It even does Wi-Fi (a first for the company).
The Cinema One, about the size of a Blu-ray player, can store about 600 DVDs, or the equivalent of 100 Blu-rays on its internal hard drive. I say “equivalent” when referring to Blu-rays, because with Kaleidescape’s system, users need to actually have Blu-ray discs held in a separate but connected Disc Vault (which you can add if you want). But with the Kaleidescape store, you don’t have to bother with discs—with the Cinema One you can download High-definition, Blu-ray equivalent, movies from Kaleidescape’s store, and have them saved permanently on the system. Those downloads include 1080p/24 Blu-ray quality video with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtracks, plus all the Blu-ray extras (and UltraViolet mobile copies) without a box to throw away.
Currently those movie downloads are only available from Warner and New Line, but Kaleidescape’s Tom Barnett says the company is in discussions with a dozen other movie studios, so let’s hope that means the movie store expands in the near future.
Of course, since the HD downloads are very big files, a movie may take hours to arrive ready to view on your system. This isn’t like streaming a Netflix movie. On the other hand, the image is about as perfect as you can get.
Check Out: Review of Kaleidescape 1U Server and Disc Vault.
The Cinema One is also a Blu-ray disc player, so you can watch movies already in your collection, unless they’re 3D. The system doesn’t support 3D Blu-ray (no Kaleidescape system does).
If 100 HD movies or 600 DVDs isn’t enough for your home theater, you can tether two Cinema One’s together to double your library. If you link two together, they can be used as a two-room system sharing the same library.
The Cinema One uses the same on-screen movie guide interface as other Kaleidescape systems, which easily lets users find the movie they want via a variety of ways (by title, genere, cast…). It also uses the same control protocols and drivers as the previous systems, so it can be integrated into control systems such as Control4 and Crestron.
Electronic House will be checking out a Cinema One system soon, so look for the review.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.