(March 6, 2023) Last week, team Kaleidescape ignited excitement in the home theater world by subtly drawing attention to a new operating system update (kOS 10.14.0). Despite lacking an official announcement, word spread like wildfire, fueled by news that it unlocks access to the company’s Disc to Digital program using an external drive. Fast-forward to today, and Kaleidescape is making that news, along with the availability of kOS 10.14.0, officially official.
AV NIRVANA was granted access to James Kleist, Kaleidescape's Vice President of Engineering, for an exclusive interview about the ins and outs of the update and how owners can use it to catalog discs from their physical media library. Here's everything we learned...
The release of kOS 10.14.0 has admittedly been slow, but that’s intentional said Kleist. “We have always deployed kOS software to devices in the field in phases,” he explained. “That controls the impact of any potential issues discovered during the rollout.”
You may have noticed the software on your system as early as February 21st, and all customers will have it by the end of today (March 6th). The update’s most significant feature is game-changing access to Kaleidescape’s Disc to Digital program for owners of Strato and Strato C players. In short, Strato users no longer need an Alto player to catalog discs; simply pair an approved USB 2.0 or 3.0 external Blu-ray drive with a Strato or Strato-C player and you can begin registering discs. Once cataloged, you’ll find discounted prices for those titles in the Kaleidescape store.
“The depth of the discount varies depending on the resolution you choose to buy it in and the offers permitted by studio licensing agreements,” explained Kleist. “For example, cataloging a DVD may give you a disc to digital offer on the 4K digital version provided the offer is available by the studio.”
For the time being, owners can only catalog DVD and Blu-ray titles. That’s because Kaleidescape-branded disc player products do not support 4K discs. As a result, said Kleist, the company’s content recognition database doesn’t include commercial 4K titles.
That means you’ll only need to purchase an external drive with DVD and Blu-ray compatibility to take advantage of this new feature. Kaleidescape says the following players have been approved for use:
- Pioneer BDR-X13UBK (link)
- ASUS BW-16D1X-U (link)
- OWC Mercury Pro x16 Blu-ray (link)
- Buffalo BRXL-16U3 (link)
Once purchased, connect the disc player directly to a Strato player on your system and check your player’s standby status. If it’s been configured to use low-power standby, you’ll need to bring it out of standby to catalog discs. Those players using a default standby configuration can remain in standby while cataloging discs.
We asked Kleist if owners can pair the drive with a Terra Server, rather than a Strato or Strato-C player. He said no, adding the same holds for Alto players with damaged internal drives. “Cataloging via the external USB connected Blu-ray drive is only supported on a Strato player.”
The actual cataloging process is quick and guided by status lighting on a Strato player’s faceplate. The player will enter a recognition mode once an approved drive is connected, signified by its front panel blinking every three seconds. The light will begin to pulse with a period of one second during processing, which typically takes 5-10 seconds for DVDs and 10-15 seconds for Blu-rays. However, discs with scratches might take slightly longer or not work at all. So make sure to confirm your disc’s condition if the process doesn’t appear to be working.
After a disc has finished processing, it will eject from the drive and the Strato’s front panel will return to blinking every three seconds.
Kleist said the external drive can technically be left in place once you’ve finished a cataloging session. Though, it’s best not to catalog discs and watch content at the same time.
“All onscreen and player functions continue to be available while the external Blu-ray drive is connected,” said Kleist. “But, cataloging discs while using the player may affect performance and is therefore not advised.”
Also, drives connected to a Strato player can’t be used to playback discs. Kleist says discs won’t appear on the Strato player’s onscreen display (OSD), and the software update doesn’t support playback.
As for installing the new software update, that function is handled automatically. Kaleidescape Systems connected to the Internet download kOS updates as they become available, and installation happens during a reboot after a system is idle for four hours.
For more information about registering discs for Disc to Digital offers using an external USB Blu-ray drive, visit Kaleidescape’s support section at https://support.kaleidescape.com/article/Disc to Digital-Offers-Using-USB-Drive.