Anyway, the K-scape doesn’t copy the movies the way iTunes or other music ripping apps do. This system makes a bit-for-bit copy of the movie and everything else—the metadata, bonus features, yup, everything, so that you end up with the exact same quality experience of watching off the original disc, without worry that your three-year-old copy of Twilight has accumulated any fatal scratches since the last time you knew where it was.
I spent this time with the K-scape system not to do a full-fledged review. Electronic House actually published a review by Robert Archer of the M500 player last year (you can read it here). And in truth, there’s really not that much to say. It’s an incredibly easy to use system, and does exactly what it promises to do. It offers a huge amount of content (limited only by what you purchase and add to it) that is easily accessible. Most system owners have their K-scape integrated into an audio/video distribution system, so they can access their media collection from multiple locations and do neat things like start a movie in one room and finish it in another.
There are some other cool tricks that add to the wow factor of this system. When surfing around the cover art menu for something to watch, it will intuitively reorganize the menu when you hover over a particular title then display movies with similarities to that title. For example, if you scroll over Gladiator, the menu titles around Gladiator will all change to other action or historical dramas, thus making it easier to find something you want to watch.
A recently added scenes feature lets you easily find favorite movie scenes and add new favorite scenes. Being a person with a short attention span, I loved this. I could flip around and just watch scenes with amazing explosions without having to search through shelves or cabinets full of single discs.
Don’t even try to compare this to searching for a movie on a Netflix-connected TV or cable video-on-demand service. I’ve given up and picked up a book some nights waiting for those menus to load or the movies to stream. Kaleidescape is instant gratification.
Of course this kind of fun comes at a price. The system I borrowed cost over $20,000, and that’s before installation, wiring and all that. Kaleidescape isn’t for people who worry about such things. It’s for people who want the best of what’s available. I have a big movie collection myself. Some of it is in a cabinet in the living room (piled, shoved and squeezed into that cabinet), while 80 percent of the collection is in boxes and storage bins in the basement. Many of the disc boxes are probably missing their discs, and even if they’re in the right box, finding a movie is often more trouble than it’s worth. For that alone, many people would find the Kaleidescape worth the investment even if it didn’t perform as splendidly as it does. And it does.
Read about how one family uses their Kaleidescape.
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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. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.