Media Servers

Kaleidescape Cinema One Media Server

ARTICLE INDEX

The Design

You might be familiar with the previous Kaleidescape products. They have always been sold and setup by custom installers where you have a central media rack. Typically it consists of a DVD/Blu-ray vault, a hard drive array, and then a client. All of your content resides in a central location and is then distributed over a network in the house.

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The Cinema One is the first Kaleidescape product that is sold direct to consumers and contains that hard drive, Blu-ray drive, and client in a single box. Contained in the box is a 4 TB hard drive to store your Blu-ray movies, DVD movies, and music.  This will hold up to 100 Blu-ray quality movies, 600 DVD quality movies, 6500 CDs, or a combination of all of them. This is one of the many things that help to set the Cinema One apart.

This hard drive also enables the use of Kaleidesacpe's newest feature: Their online movie store. Instead of buying a highly compressed film, you are buying a full resolution Blu-ray of the movie. You aren't choosing between convenience or quality, but getting both.

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Up front you won't find the usual playback buttons on the Cinema One. All you'll see are three buttons: Power, Eject, and Import. The first two are on every other Blu-ray player, but the Import button will import a disc to the hard drive once it is inserted into the player. Since copying a disc can take some time, being able to do it easily without turning your TV on is nice.

The rear of the Cinema One is about what you expect in a Blu-ray player. The analog audio outputs are less common today but make sense on the Cinema One. As it can store all your music on it as well, you can tie it into a music distribution system and use it to play music around the house. Most distribution systems are still analog based.

You'll also find an Ethernet jack that you probably want to use. The Cinema One does work over Wi-Fi, but Wi-Fi is only so reliable. If you have multiple Cinema One units you can stream movies between them and doing so over anything but Ethernet is inviting problems.

Setup of the Cinema One is very quick and easy. The menu system is very easy to navigate, much like a hardware product from Apple or Sonos, and provides clear explanations. It also supports all the custom screen sizes you might see: 16x9, 2.35 with a sliding anamorphic lens, 2.35 with a fixed lens, and even 2.35 with a zoomed projector. As I use the last one in my theater it will automatically scale content larger than 2.35 to fit, though at the cost of resolution.

Once the Cinema One is connected to my display and home network, it is ready for use.