CEDIA 2014: How Kaleidescape will Stay Relevant with Content, 4K, Cost
Kaleidescape CEO Cheena Srinivasan will “reposition” media server company to reach broader markets; promises more studio deals for online content, support for 4K Ultra HD, sub-$1k server by 2016.
At CEDIA Expo 2014, Kaleidescape will discuss plans for more online content, support for 4K, and lower-cost servers for a broader market.
By Julie Jacobson, August 19, 2014
movie servers grace the homes, yachts and airplanes of elite clientele around the world. But those buyers are in limited supply and the broader market is calling. At the same time, the digital domain is growing more important by the second, and the historically disc-centric Kaleidescape has been slow to incorporate online content into its ecosystem. Newly appointed CEO Cheena Srinivasan, a Kaleidescape co-founder, says the company will address these issues at CEDIA Expo 2014
, and demonstrate how Kaleidescape plans to respond with more studios represented in the company’s online video store, support for 4K Ultra HD by 2015, and a sub-$1,000 solution within a couple of years.
More Content Options, More Studio Deals
Kaleidescape launched an online movie store in 2012
, inviting customers to download DVD- and later Blu-ray-quality movies and TV shows to their Kaleidescape systems. At launch, the company offered about 500 titles from Warner Brothers. Later in the year, though, Kaleidescape brought on Lionsgate
and began offering classics like The Hunger Games
series, Apocalypse Now
and Mad Men
Srinivasan has always promised more relationships with more studios, but currently the store sits at about 4,600 titles from those two studios.
We can expect more, Srinivasan tells editor Dan Sait of our European publication Essential Install
: “We are working hard to expand our catalog and expect to reveal good news at CEDIA Expo in Denver this September.”
Srinivasan adds, “Registration and purchases have been steadily climbing and it has been terrific to even see some mega purchases of 100 to 200 titles at a time by some of our customers.”
The CEO declined to provide further details about studio deals, only saying, “By 2017 we expect to have a large catalog of the finest quality content.”
RELATED: Can Warner Bros. Save Kaleidescape?
But he did suggest that streaming content, which Kaleidescape has not supported in the past, might make it into the company’s future offerings.
Srinivasan says rising broadband speeds, combined with faster and more sophisticated TV processors, are making “online streaming or download of high-quality movies and content a reality. … [W]e are in a position to create the very best of these types of services.”
Does that mean Kaleidescape will finally incorporate Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other movie services into its content ecosystem?
It’s curious that Srinivasan mentions the speed and sophistication of TV processors. Does that mean Kaleidescape may license its famous media-management software to TV vendors and, for that matter, other component manufacturers?
‘Repositioning’ Kaleidescape for a Broader Market
The custom installation industry oohed and aahed at Kaleidescape’s “affordable” Cinema One server
introduced last year—a $4,000 machine, not including the $5,500 disc vault for Blu-ray playback. But the mass market still balked at the price.
Srinivasan wants to go broader, aiming this time
for a sub-$1,000 solution by 2016.
“Our aim,” he tells Essential Install
, “is to reposition the company and make the Kaleidescape experience available to as many people as possible.”
Srinivasan doesn’t specify how the company will get to the price point, only that the new product could be “a disc-based system or in the cloud.”
Kaleidescape isn’t even thinking about competing with the likes of Google Play, according to Srinivasan: “We will always be at the quality end of the market and be a custom install product, but we can definitely get much bigger and gain a much wider audience and that is our aim.”
Planning for 4K Ultra HD
Srinivasan acknowledges the excitement around 4K Ultra HD but says Kaleidescape has held off supporting the format because “for us to be involved, the quality of the content has to be there.”
He adds that Kaleidescape is “already working with studios to make sure we have access to those high-quality 4K titles when they come. … We are using our relationships with the content creators to make sure we will be involved. We aim to have a 4K player from Kaleidescape in 2015 and we will have attractive upgrade paths for our customers.”
Srinivasan says Kaleidescape will begin its 4K foray with digital downloads, and then add streaming and disc-based support.
“We will go where the best quality content can be delivered,” he says. “Customers should not be in a position where they have to worry about the format. All they should have to worry about is: what do I like and how do I get more of it? It’s our job to deliver that experience.”