Originally Posted by ktrdsl23
Let me preface this by saying that I have never seen a KScape system in person so there might be a ton of benefits that I'm not aware of. I have seen some YouTube videos.
I use XBMC to play all my movies and I just can't see why everyone talks about the "Kaleidescape experience". I understand that setting up an HTPC with XBMC and getting your library all together is out of the league of what some people want or possibly even can do.
But once it is set up I have to imagine it is as good or even better than what KScape can offer. Many people accept that the skins on XBMC have surpassed KScape in terms of visual eye candy. Anything is awesome when you go from a single disc DVD/BD solution to a server. This is the skin
I use that illustrates a bunch of the views.
In terms of simplicity, my wife picks up a remote, hits the XBMC button and she is presented with the home screen. From there she can choose Movies, Kids Movies, TV Shows or Music. If she chooses Movies than she will see a list of our movies in alphabetical order. It doesn't rearrange like KScape does based on similarity but I don't even think we'd want to. We know what movie we want to watch when we load it up and even if we didn't, some predetermined algorithm is less likely to show us something we want vs. simple scrolling. Once she gets to the movie she wants, she hits OK and it starts up. I rip to MKV so I'm skipping all intros and get straight to the movie.
I don't need the feature but XBMC also offers picking up a movie in a second room right where you left off.
HTPC and XBMC aren't perfect and certainly aren't for everybody. They do require the setup but that isn't really my point. I'm just wondering if you bypass all of that and are dealing with a fully functional system. Kaleidescape was revolutionary for what it offered but I just wonder if some of the hardcore users were shown what else is available today what their opinions would be.
Every few months I read a thread like this where someone praises XBMC and I go and download it to see if it has done away with the usability issues see that it has not and I delete it. This time was no exception
. This software simply is not designed by someone who understands usability. Yes, skins help to make it pretty but skins don't change the design of the software.
Example: I install the software and it comes up with the four choices of content. I select Music expecting to see my library. What I see is nothing like that. I see a tab saying "Music Files." Files? Why would any user want to know about files? Below that I see what appears to be a dialog box although not similar to anything on any operating system so I am not sure. It has two choices: Music add-ons and Add source. Really? The heck are these things? What add-ons? And what source? My music "files?" If so, why not start with My Music?
As I type this, my laptop is cooking with CPU near max. I have no idea what the heck it is doing in the background. Why not tell me?
I click Add source. I get another dialog telling me "ENTER THE PATHS OR BROWSE FOR THE MEDIA LOCATIONS." Really? All upper case letters? What school of UI did they go to? Below that "" is highlighted. Again, why not My Music as the default? I click Browse. It pops up some odd dialog with a path of "SPECIAL://MUSICPLAYLISTS." I see oddball directories like "Home Folder." What home? What the heck is a SAP stream? Here is the snapshot:
I went and selected weather. It pops up pretty UI with no data whatsoever! I am sure something needs to be configured but it is not telling me what.
This is stuff that engineers write who have never seen the inside of a usability lab and what it takes to write polished software. And skins can't cover up stuff like this.
Contrast this with K where you turn on the device, let it update its firmware and it is ready to go. There is essentially no set up at all. It just turns on and works like an appliance made for this purpose. You can add players, etc. all just works.
Yes, I am no fan of the association animation it does. It makes for cute demos but is the enemy of usability. Outside of that though, the thing does work with high level of polish and discovery. Give a "child remote" to someone and as soon as they try to browse, they only see the movies you want them to view! A 5 year old can now view things safely. They do a few things well. That is what Apple does. Get the design right and leave off non-essential things you can't deliver without polish.
The other thing is that K uses a playback license to decrypt the movie so it always works. Not so with people relying on underground decryption software like Slysoft which can get out of sync with some new movie, forcing you to wait for their next update before you can rip them. AACS is always working to make their job harder so this problem may become more acute in the future.
I wish ripping discs was a license anyone could get to build a good system. That would have allowed companies like Microsoft and Apple to build proper software. But that is not the case. So we are left with the one company, K, which builds it as integrated high-end system and DIY software that is barely meeting the usability bar. If you have the money, there is no question K is the right answer. I can build home servers in my sleep and I am telling you it is so tempting to just spend the money and get the darn thing