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post #1 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Kaleidescape Alto Movie Player Debuts for $2500



The new Alto drops the price of entry to the Kaleidescape ecosystem and gets all its locally stored content from the cloud.


I'm not a big fan of physical discs, but I love the image and sound quality of Blu-ray. Earlier this year, I reviewed the Kaleidescape Cinema One movie player, which I enjoyed using a great deal. But there were two issues that prevented me from imagining myself as an owner—it cost $3995, and the cloud-based movie collection was limited.

The new Alto addresses the cost issue; its price—$2495—is in the same range as a good pre/pro or flagship AVR. Kaleidescape fixed the second issue—limited selection—through a number of recent content deals with studios; the cloud-based library is much larger than it was. Currently, there are over 8500 movies and 1600 seasons of TV shows available for purchase and download.

The Alto stores downloaded content on its hard drive, which can hold up to 100 movies in Blu-ray quality or 600 movies in DVD quality. When it's combined with as many as three additional Alto players, the result is a system that supports up to four viewing zones. A system with four players stores up to 400 downloaded movies in Blu-ray quality or 2400 titles in DVD quality.

The Alto looks identical to the Cinema One, but it is a distinctly different product. It does not rip discs to a hard drive—not even CDs or DVDs—although it does have a Blu-ray drive built in. Instead, it uses the drive to catalog and play physical discs. Unlike previous Kaleidescape products, the Alto's design is not centered around importing data from discs in an existing library. It's about offering convenience, quality, and selection to users who want a top-quality, reliable cinematic experience from the cloud and still have the option to play discs.

When you put a disc into the Alto, the system identifies it within seconds. If the title exists in the Kaleidescape online store, it offer users the ability to upgrade their DVDs and Blu-ray discs to digital versions, which it then downloads from the store. Additionally, Kaleidescape's store honors UltraViolet-licensed content. Once I linked my account, most of my Vudu HDX movie collection was available for free download from the Kaleidescape online store, in Blu-ray quality and at no extra cost.

Even if you use it to play physical discs, the Alto offers speed and ease of use that I have not seen in any other player. When you press play there are no previews or other distractions—the Alto takes you right to the movie. In fact, it never took more than 20 seconds to load and start playing the actual movie on a Blu-ray—that's much faster than any player I've owned.

I've already watched several films on the Alto, including one title with an Atmos soundtrack—Step Up: All In. Since the movies are downloads—there is no streaming functionality—there is never a risk of interruption due to bandwidth issues, or in the case of a disc, a scratch or fingerprint. Ultimately, any unintentional interruption of an immersive cinematic experience is a disaster.

The Kaleidescape online store offers movie titles on the same release schedule as the UltraViolet versions, which is often weeks earlier than the physical disc. The purchase price is about the same as services like Vudu, Amazon, and iTunes—but you get better sound and better picture quality with Kaleidescape's Blu-ray quality downloads, as I've discovered in numerous comparisons between online delivery formats. In addition, I found the pricing and selection of older titles in the Kaleidescape store very appealing—many movies sell for under 10 dollars.

I'm not going to get too deep into describing the Alto's operation just yet. I have a demo unit, and I should have a review of it completed soon. I can say that I really enjoy the Alto, and it no longer seems unimaginable that I'd buy one someday. Way to go Kaleidescape.



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post #2 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 01:48 PM
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Mark, what audio quality is available from the cloud?

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post #3 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Mark, what audio quality is available from the cloud?
From Kaleidescape, exactly what's on the physical Blu-ray, bit for bit. Including uncompressed Atmos, if that's what the title features.

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post #4 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 01:51 PM
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This is still way way way too much money for mainstreet. This thing has no more capabilities than a Playstation 4 or Xbox One (or PS3 for that matter). And those boxes are over $2,000 less.

If Sony or Microsoft wanted to sell bluray downloads they would clean up. I wish they would.
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post #5 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 01:58 PM
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That's a nice price drop, really nice...I've hearing about Mymovies app , and have been reconsidering my whole approach about storing physical blu rays living in NYC, and even music even though I have a HTPC which isn't a walk in the part. I'm hoping this is the answer!

Very exciting, very exciting.. I think I should read the rest of your post instead of three lines

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post #6 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post
This is still way way way too much money for mainstreet. This thing has no more capabilities than a Playstation 4 or Xbox One (or PS3 for that matter). And those boxes are over $2,000 less.

If Sony or Microsoft wanted to sell bluray downloads they would clean up. I wish they would.
Technically it has fewer capabilities since it has no apps, no streaming capability, and does not play video games. But as you point out, those boxes do not have the feature that the Kaleidescape does have—true Blu-ray downloads. Yes, it's still boutique pricing. But it is really nice, it is fast and intuitive.
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post #7 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 02:22 PM
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It's getting closer to a fathomable price, but I won't personally be a buyer until each unit like this Alto is no more than maybe $500-700 at the most. Ideally I'd like to see a server that could house hundreds or even thousands of BD quality downloads, with cheaper client boxes that could pull the recordings off the server on the LAN. In that scenario I'd probably consider the server at around $1500-$2000 and clients with BD functionality at around $300-$400 (no HDD on the clients). I understand Kaleidescape offers something somewhat like that but it's insanely priced for people rich enough to not even look at pricing.

It seems like they are making efforts to get these units a bit more mass market, so that's a plus. I've amassed a pretty substantial UV VUDU collection, mostly from BD's I've purchased and converted to UV via VUDU's disc to digital program, and some old DVD's I had in the same manner, and I can play that content from any TV in my house, tablet on airplane rides, etc. It's convenient, but I'd be willing to pay for the full BD experience and snappy and intuitive interface - not to mention taking away the streaming aspect, which while my speeds are plenty fast to stream HDX on multiple TV's at the same time, it makes more sense to download content once and have it locally on the home LAN for me than to re-stream things. My ISP doesn't have a hard cap, which is better than most people, but they might send out a nasty gram or two if we use a lot of bandwidth.

One question, with these Alto Players, are the recordings from one Alto playable on another Alto on the LAN? Or just whatever is downloaded on the Alto you are on is playable? I'm assuming they only sent you one Mark, but do you know the answer?

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post #8 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 02:44 PM
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Until rediculous data caps are eliminated, cloud based storage is a no-go for many.
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post #9 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSHA222 View Post
Until rediculous data caps are eliminated, cloud based storage is a no-go for many.
I discussed that with Kaleidescape, and data caps are a concern. Currently, Comcast lists the cap on my account as "unenforced" but I'm curious what will happen when I exceed it, which is entirely possible if I use the Alto to download two or three movies per week. Then again, a family that uses Netflix all the time might very well use as much or more data in the long run.

On the flip side, downloading instead of streaming means your connection doesn't have to be super fast, it just has to have a high (or unenforced, or non-existent) data cap.

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post #10 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 03:01 PM
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Who wants a $2500 Blu ray player but only has 100 Blu rays?

I use a sub $100 Sony BDP and have 1200 Blu rays
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post #11 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Who wants a $2500 Blu ray player but only has 100 Blu rays?

I use a sub $100 Sony BDP and have 1200 Blu rays
It holds 100 downloads at once. But nothing stops you from deleting titles and downloading them again in the future. Your collection is in the cloud. If you don't trust cloud-based delivery and perpetual licensing then a device like this is not for you. However, it's also an exceptional Blu-ray player.

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post #12 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 03:21 PM
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It holds 100 downloads at once. But nothing stops you from deleting titles and downloading them again in the future. Your collection is in the cloud. If you don't trust cloud-based delivery and perpetual licensing then a device like this is not for you. However, it's also an exceptional Blu-ray player.

Does it offer the on-screen selection/browsing experience of the former Kaleidescape products?

And...do they offer 3D downloads?
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post #13 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Does it offer the on-screen selection/browsing experience of the former Kaleidescape products?

And...do they offer 3D downloads?
Yes the interface is the same.

The company promised 3D would be a part of the next revision of the Alto. So not yet, but it is coming.

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post #14 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 03:36 PM
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Until rediculous data caps are eliminated, cloud based storage is a no-go for many.
Agreed. Every day of every month, having to be the "data usage police" in my house has grown quite tiresome and aggravating. It's taken all the fun, convenience, and money savings away from having Netflix, Vudu, and Hulu vs adding premium channels to complement our internet service. I'm stuck trying to keep the bill down to "only" double or 2.5x what it should be, if we didn't go over the limit. The PC gaming industry shifting to digital game purchases makes it even worse; the average AAA title can easily require a 30 - 45 GB download, eating up a huge portion of our allowed 300GB/month.
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Yes the interface is the same.

The company promised 3D would be a part of the next revision of the Alto. So not yet, but it is coming.
Thanks. It's getting more intriguing, though I"m not sure it's doable on my data plan. Anyone know how big a download for the typical movie?
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Thanks. It's getting more intriguing, though I"m not sure it's doable on my data plan. Anyone know how big a download for the typical movie?
It varies quite a bit. The Thing (John Carpenter's version) is 22 gigs. Expendables 3 is 50 gigs. The download is the same size as the retail Blu-ray package.

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post #17 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 04:08 PM
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Let's see here, $2495 for a unit that can store the equivalent of 100 BluRay movies. And if I were starting new with this and did not have any Ultraviolet movies or another digital collection that I could convert, I would have to purchase all my downloads at what- an average of $10 each. So over time I buy 100 BluRay quality downloads and I've spent $3495, or $34.95 per movie. I own a decent sized collection of BluRay movies (including 3D titles), and I have never spent ~$35 on any single title.

Sure this gizmo may have some convenience and offer a wee bit of time savings, but I think I can sacrifice a couple minutes of my life each time I watch a movie and save lots of $$$.
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post #18 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post


The new Alto drops the price of entry to the Kaleidescape ecosystem and gets all its locally stored content from the cloud.


I'm not a big fan of physical discs, but I love the image and sound quality of Blu-ray. Earlier this year, I reviewed the Kaleidescape Cinema One movie player, which I enjoyed using a great deal. But there were two issues that prevented me from imagining myself as an owner—it cost $3995, and the cloud-based movie collection was limited.

The new Alto addresses the cost issue; its price—$2495—is in the same range as a good pre/pro or flagship AVR. Kaleidescape fixed the second issue—limited selection—through a number of recent content deals with studios; the cloud-based library is much larger than it was. Currently, there are over 8500 movies and 1600 seasons of TV shows available for purchase and download.

The Alto stores downloaded content on its hard drive, which can hold up to 100 movies in Blu-ray quality or 600 movies in DVD quality. When it's combined with as many as three additional Alto players, the result is a system that supports up to four viewing zones. A system with four players stores up to 400 downloaded movies in Blu-ray quality or 2400 titles in DVD quality.

The Alto looks identical to the Cinema One, but it is a distinctly different product. It does not rip discs to a hard drive—not even CDs or DVDs—although it does have a Blu-ray drive built in. Instead, it uses the drive to catalog and play physical discs. Unlike previous Kaleidescape products, the Alto's design is not centered around importing data from discs in an existing library. It's about offering convenience, quality, and selection to users who want a top-quality, reliable cinematic experience from the cloud and still have the option to play discs.

When you put a disc into the Alto, the system identifies it within seconds. If the title exists in the Kaleidescape online store, it offer users the ability to upgrade their DVDs and Blu-ray discs to digital versions, which it then downloads from the store. Additionally, Kaleidescape's store honors UltraViolet-licensed content. Once I linked my account, most of my Vudu HDX movie collection was available for free download from the Kaleidescape online store, in Blu-ray quality and at no extra cost.

Even if you use it to play physical discs, the Alto offers speed and ease of use that I have not seen in any other player. When you press play there are no previews or other distractions—the Alto takes you right to the movie. In fact, it never took more than 20 seconds to load and start playing the actual movie on a Blu-ray—that's much faster than any player I've owned.

I've already watched several films on the Alto, including one title with an Atmos soundtrack—Step Up: All In. Since the movies are downloads—there is no streaming functionality—there is never a risk of interruption due to bandwidth issues, or in the case of a disc, a scratch or fingerprint. Ultimately, any unintentional interruption of an immersive cinematic experience is a disaster.

The Kaleidescape online store offers movie titles on the same release schedule as the UltraViolet versions, which is often weeks earlier than the physical disc. The purchase price is about the same as services like Vudu, Amazon, and iTunes—but you get better sound and better picture quality with Kaleidescape's Blu-ray quality downloads, as I've discovered in numerous comparisons between online delivery formats. In addition, I found the pricing and selection of older titles in the Kaleidescape store very appealing—many movies sell for under 10 dollars.

I'm not going to get too deep into describing the Alto's operation just yet. I have a demo unit, and I should have a review of it completed soon. I can say that I really enjoy the Alto, and it no longer seems unimaginable that I'd buy one someday. Way to go Kaleidescape.



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Nice My girlfriend would love it she hates the bluray discs in the bedroom.
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post #19 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by They_call_me_Roto View Post
Let's see here, $2495 for a unit that can store the equivalent of 100 BluRay movies. And if I were starting new with this and did not have any Ultraviolet movies or another digital collection that I could convert, I would have to purchase all my downloads at what- an average of $10 each. So over time I buy 100 BluRay quality downloads and I've spent $3495, or $34.95 per movie. I own a decent sized collection of BluRay movies (including 3D titles), and I have never spent ~$35 on any single title.

Sure this gizmo may have some convenience and offer a wee bit of time savings, but I think I can sacrifice a couple minutes of my life each time I watch a movie and save lots of $$$.
Which the company fully acknowledges... that it is still boutique pricing. Kaleidescape did point to how far its brought the price down already, and that it is gunning for a wider audience. What that means going forward, I do not know.

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post #20 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 04:44 PM
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The company promised 3D would be a part of the next revision of the Alto. So not yet, but it is coming.
With this news and the cheaper client, the the prospect of owning a K-scape system is becoming tempting. Out of curiosity, is the Alto capable of remembering which discs have been played in it in the past, strictly so that those titles are included when I browse thru my library to pick something to watch. I don't care that much if I have to insert the disc once I have made my selection, but it would be nice if I could view the entire list of movies I own, both downloaded and on disc, without having to swap between the K-scape app and DVD Profiler. Failing that, is the Alto compatible with the Cinema One and/or one of their disc vaults?
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With this news and the cheaper client, the the prospect of owning a K-scape system is becoming tempting. Out of curiosity, is the Alto capable of remembering which discs have been played in it in the past, strictly so that those titles are included when I browse thru my library to pick something to watch. I don't care that much if I have to insert the disc once I have made my selection, but it would be nice if I could view the entire list of movies I own, both downloaded and on disc, without having to swap between the K-scape app and DVD Profiler. Failing that, is the Alto compatible with the Cinema One and/or one of their disc vaults?
Yes you can catalog your collection of physical discs.
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post #22 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 04:59 PM
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great write up but I still dont ever seeing myself buying something like this but thats only because I know how to build my own with far more storage and abilities for like half the price.. but it is a nice clean solution for those who dont want to code or put together their own system...
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post #23 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I discussed that with Kaleidescape, and data caps are a concern. Currently, Comcast lists the cap on my account as "unenforced" but I'm curious what will happen when I exceed it, which is entirely possible if I use the Alto to download two or three movies per week. Then again, a family that uses Netflix all the time might very well use as much or more data in the long run.

On the flip side, downloading instead of streaming means your connection doesn't have to be super fast, it just has to have a high (or unenforced, or non-existent) data cap.
A typical download would be around 30 gigs or more, what kind of download speeds Kaleidescape offers? Let's not forget the average downspeed in the US is about 4mbps. I know you have a much faster connection, but I can assure you that is a tiny minority in this country, despite what some ISP's propagate. Mine is around 6.5mbps but I have no cap at all.

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post #24 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 05:41 PM
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You have my attention with this. I will be watching closely. Thanks for the heads up Mark!
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post #25 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 05:49 PM
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i think the hardware and service is getting reasonable, something i would consider. my issue is with ISP's, the cost of getting bd quality content over the internet makes the purchase price look like a bargain...

but what i'm curious about is how it works with a HDD based content and 'the cloud'. you said no streaming, everything needs to be downloaded before you play it. which gives me a couple of questions. first, when you fill up the HDD, does your 'cloud' maintain your full collection? i'm guessing you could have any number of movies purchased in the cloud, but you're limited to the ~100 on the hdd that can be played. so if you wanted to watch an old movie, you'd have to first re-download it, and then play it, but this wouldn't cost you any money. my second question, how long does it take? seems like getting a 30gb movie would take several hrs at least(about a day with my connection i think), which does present a concern to me. having a collection of hundreds of movies, but having to plan things well in advance isn't appealing to me. which brings me to the last question, is there any support for additional storage? if i can afford 2500 for the box, and 7bux a movie, and whatever the bandwidth to download them goes for, i'm sure i can afford to buy larger hdd's as well. in fact, at ~30/tb, buying hdd's is actually cheaper than what i'd have to pay my ISP to redownload 1tb worth of data(i get 250gb for 80bux!)

the cost isn't cheap, but it's not super crazy either.
the cost of movies isn't cheap, but i'd rather pay the same price for bd quality than streaming
i like that it's got a built in bd player
it's awesome that it honors your UV purchases already. so nice that using the service doesn't mean starting from scratch

there's just a couple hiccups that are outside their scope right now. if they could arrange a direct line so i got unlimited bandwidth from their service, that would be amazing. it's the same reason i haven't adopted any streaming services yet. netflix sounds awesome, the price is great. but it doesn't make sense to save 50bux a month on cable, just to end up spending an extra 60/mth on internet. i think it's really unfortunate that the content providers don't actually have a way of providing your content directly. that's the missing feature for this kind of ecosystem to work for me.

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post #26 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 05:59 PM
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Looks like the trade off is limited convenience compared to a full blown K system but much lower entry cost and no need to have a server rack for their server, vault, etc which need maintenance and upgrading form time to time. I would like to see the ability to start a download and come back about 10 min later or so and start watching the move before it is complete. Bandwidth obviously comes into play here, but those with fast connections and no caps would benefit from such a feature.

I would also love to see someone offset the cost of this player with reduced cost of purchasing movies through means such as UV codes, etc.

In addition, you can't help but think at a lower start up cost, someone may find a way to "upgrade" storage on these. Being an always "connected" system, that may not be the case, but reminds me of when folks would put larger HDs in their DVRs.
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post #27 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 06:32 PM
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http://www.kaleidescape.com/files/da...Comparison.pdf

Looking here, there seems there will be a Vault for this during the 1st half of 2015. That can only mean you will be able to rip movies from BD with this once that comes out.
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post #28 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 06:41 PM
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The only thing that K has that I truly covet is that interface. Everything can be done diy if you have the patience but their GUI is second to none IMO. I'm one of those who don't like the cloud idea but mainly because of data caps as i mentioned in a previous post. But if the day comes when I can store my entire collection in the cloud and stream it full quality at my discretion without my provider sending any threatening email about an overage with the K interface, I'm in
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post #29 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 06:51 PM
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After doing a little more research, there are two more things worth mentioning. First, in addition to the Alto-compatible vault they are planning to release in the first half of 2015, they also intend to release compatible storage to expand the number of movies that can be stored in your system for less than the cost of an additional Alto player. So, if you don't need the additional viewing zone, this would be the most logical solution. Second, apparently they are phasing the Cinema One out over the course of the new few months. The Premier line will of coarse continue to exist.
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post #30 of 472 Old 12-04-2014, 06:58 PM
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On a side note, I was thinking of buying a tradition Kaleidescape BD server system a few months ago.

Until I read that Hollywood got their way and forced Kaleidescape to require disks in a drive regardless of having the disk ripped onto the HDD.

So what's the point of having a movie server if I have to walk over and change disks every time I want to watch a movie especially for the arm and leg that Kaleidescape charges for their products?

Last edited by GalvatronType_R; 12-04-2014 at 09:35 PM.
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