CEDIA 2018: Kaleidescape’s Strato S Player Offers a Cutting-Edge Experience
(September 7, 2018) There’s little secret that the physical disc market is crumbling before our very eyes – at least in wealthier countries – which means streaming and digital downloads are destined to become the primary way we all acquire media. While that reality strikes fear in the hearts of disc-clutching home theater enthusiasts, it may not be that bleak of a future when considering a service such as Kaleidescape.
Kaleidescape has been in the video business for quite some time, initially entering when DVDs ruled the landscape, eventually progressing to its current business state: the single best digital download force in the industry. Recently, the company revealed a brand-new movie player called the Strato S, a design that represents its most compact player with internal storage released to date.
What separates Kaleidescape from standard streaming and download services is that it offers the same audio and video quality (bit-for-bit) you’ll find on a Blu-ray or 4K UHD Blu-ray disc. That includes audio codecs such as Dolby Atmos (which is delivered using TrueHD, not Dolby’s Digital +). And as I saw during a demonstration today, that disc comparison extends to featured Extras and surpasses by offering Kaleidescape’s proprietary “Scenes” option that bookmarks memorable movie moments hand-picked by Kaleidescape’s staff. Throw-in the company’s proprietary kOS 10.3 system software, a killer graphical user interface, app control, and the potential for access to films weeks before they’re released in stores, and you have one impressive system.
Of course, the Kaleidescape experience comes with the weight of a hefty price tag. The 6-terabyte version of the Strato S costs $4,495, while a 12-terabyte version will set you back $2,500 more. In terms of storage size, the smaller version holds roughly 180 films representingt a typical mix of Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray discs, while the larger 12-terabyte version can hold the same amount in pure 4K.
Kaleidescape offers owners access to over 10,000 titles from 30 different studios. And download times aren’t painfully long, reportedly averaging about 1 hour for a true 4K film over Wi-Fi with speeds of 15-25 Gbps. Pricing for films is higher than disc based media (the examples I saw on the CEDIA show floor ranged from $20-$35), but the service does offer title-specific promotions from time to time. And once you own a film, you can delete it from your hard drive and download it again at a later date, making onsite storage less of an issue.
Kaleidescape has a rather strong dealer-centric sales model, so you can forget about direct-to-consumer sales for now. That being said, there’s a good chance most dealers would happily sell to a non-custom install buyer. Just choose your approach wisely.
AV NIRVANA might have a Kaleidescape review in its future. This tech is too cool to ignore!
- Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior AdminStaff MemberThread Starter
- Jan 20, 2017
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