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What systems are like Kaleidescape, but cheaper?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
I am wondering who makes a system like Kaleidescape, but cheaper? I like the Sonos, but want to be able to see it on my TV.

Thanks
post #2 of 40
cheapest solution I have found is a HTPC. You can run a font end like media center, XBMC, SageTV, ect... have ripped DVD library, music, photos, ect...

With Vista Media Center there is third party plugins like MyMovies (www.mymovies.dk) that get you thumbnail gui interface for movies like you get with Kscape but in the end it still won't be as refined as Kscape is.

- Josh
post #3 of 40
Kaleidescape is the only Legal option...
so there are no real competitors...
you can argue fair use all you want, but our Benevolent Media Overlords do not believe in fair use, and our BMO's have plenty of money to buy any law they feel they need, so therefore fair use is irrelevant...

but yea, the HTPC seems to be the most flexible... the NMT's seem like a good idea... the sage HD extenders seem to work well too...
post #4 of 40
I have tried:
htpc w vmc & tmt
htpc w sage
htpc w beyond tv
htpc w myhtpc (aka meedio)
htpc w meedios
htpc w media portal
xbox w xbmc
xbox 360
xbox 360 as mcx
sage hd extender w sage on htpc
plex on mac (just as a recent test)
ps3
ps3 as upnp client
ps3 as tversity transcoder cliet
front row on mac
apple tv

... and a bunch of others. still not enough to justify a kaleidoscope system hehe.

Frankly my opinion is that they all suck. Especially if you want HD (Blu-Ray), and even worse if you want HD Audio format support (TrueHD and DTS-HD).

I had good success with an SD HTPC. I really wanted an HD HTPC to work, but found it far too frustrating and the results did not meet my requirements or expectations. I think in 12 months or so an HTPC will be viable, but right now the software and hardware was not mature enough to work for me.

I tried the PS3 and found it to be the best bang for the buck.. but not adequate for my 800+ hd and sd dvd catalogue. Excellent disc based player, so it's a keeper for me for disc based playback.

So I am going to try something else for the video jukebox / kaleidoscope hack... a "networked media tank" (aka popcorn hour). I am going to try that in conjunction with the PS3 as a disc based SD and Blu-Ray player and some of the free movie jukebox front ends that can be installed on the NMT.

I have ordered a Popcorn Hour A-110 for $250 shipped. Probably won't have it for about a month due to order back-log. The major thing it lacks is hd and blu-ray .iso support (it has .iso support for sd dvds and will play .m2ts files w hd audio format support). I'm yet to see a jukebox skin for it that makes me say "wow" like the xmbc skins do.

I'll see if I can get the NMT working to my liking as a video jukebox. I have to think about the HD format I want to store my "movie only" backups in.

I will likely end up reverting back to an HTPC *if* and when the hardware and software is robust and relatively easy to use. The Popcorn Hour will become an "extender" of some sort.

Aside from playback devices something important to consider is how you catalog your movies. If you have a large collection you don't exactly want to do that more than once.. I am still undecided there as well. I may end up using MyMovies just for cataloging the library and export it to other tools as required.

I wish this were easier lol.

egg
post #5 of 40
There is also the new Escient Vision product line that is MUCH cheaper than Kaliedescape and very close in features. Check that one out - I've been eying it myself.

For me - I'm mainly looking for a video jukebox. I keep my music collection separately and use Sonos for that since it's very scalable and fairly slick.
post #6 of 40
check this article out - there are a number of kaliedescape-like products out there. Most in the installer channel.
http://www.cepro.com/article/is_your...turers_say_yes
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthemAVM View Post

I am wondering who makes a system like Kaleidescape, but cheaper? I like the Sonos, but want to be able to see it on my TV.

Thanks

You mean Lower Cost?

Purchase a Network Media Tank, ... about $200
Hard Drive for storage ... $189
Copy your movies over to the hard drive ...
Use Movie Collector to enter your movie collection ... $49
Then Export your movies over to your NMT using "My Lil Movie Jukebox" .. PRICELESS!!!!!




http://www.treasure-cove.net/jukeboxtestdrive/index.htm

and here's my webpage ..
http://www.treasure-cove.net/moviejukebox.htm

and, "YES" gratuities and donations graciously accepted!!!

Take Care;
Allen
post #8 of 40
Very nice. Thanks for the link
post #9 of 40
The NMT + Jukebox + PS3 is the route I am going to take. There are a couple of jukebox options for the NMTs. I am hoping it's going to work!

The total cost is about $850.

In contrast the "New MediaDeck™ 'Tera' - The Most Affordable Blu-ray Player and Storage Solution" link: http://axonix.com/MediaMax/New/ is $5000 and up!!

egg
post #10 of 40
Alan,

Just for clarification, to use My Lil' Jukebox, there has to be a hard drive in the Popcorn Hour unit? It can't pull all it's info from the server?

Thanks.
post #11 of 40
You do NOT need a hard drive installed in the Popcorn Hour.

You can export the html menu files to any storage that the Popcorn can recognize, ... extrernal USB, any SMB share, any NFS share, http, etc ...

When you turn on the Popcorn, the source menu will come up , ... and when you select a device, .. if there's an index.htm file in the root folder, ... the popcorn will run it automatically. ... and it can play any valid movie files from any of those sources.

take care
ALlen
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashope View Post

You do NOT need a hard drive installed in the Popcorn Hour.

You can export the html menu files to any storage that the Popcorn can recognize, ... extrernal USB, any SMB share, any NFS share, http, etc ...

When you turn on the Popcorn, the source menu will come up , ... and when you select a device, .. if there's an index.htm file in the root folder, ... the popcorn will run it automatically. ... and it can play any valid movie files from any of those sources.

take care
ALlen


Thanks for the info. That's what I was hoping you'd say.

One other quick question if I may. I realize you're probably spending the majority of time on the functionality of My Lil' Jukebox, but do you plan to make other skins available in the near future?
post #13 of 40
SKins, .... or, .. the background images, the size and spacing of the movie covers, .. a regular cover or blue glow with perspective, highlight colors, ..etc, .etc..... are all selectable by the user, .. and there are several to choose from.

Allen
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashope View Post

SKins, .... or, .. the background images, the size and spacing of the movie covers, .. a regular cover or blue glow with perspective, highlight colors, ..etc, .etc..... are all selectable by the user, .. and there are several to choose from.

Allen

Excellent. I didn't realize you had already built that level of customization into the program.

The only thing that made me hesitant to order a Popcorn Hour was the interface. After reviewing your program and getting some final questions answered, I finally ordered a PCH today. Your program made all the difference. I'll be downloading it in the very near future.
post #15 of 40
I'm bumping this old thread because I was at a home theater store today and really fell in love with Kaliedescape as a "movie jukebox."

Are there any affordable alternatives out there now?

On a related note, I have never burned DVD's (BluRay) to my computer but have always heard that it's a MAJOR pain in the neck.
post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

Kaleidescape is the only Legal option...
so there are no real competitors...
you can argue fair use all you want, but our Benevolent Media Overlords do not believe in fair use, and our BMO's have plenty of money to buy any law they feel they need, so therefore fair use is irrelevant...

but yea, the HTPC seems to be the most flexible... the NMT's seem like a good idea... the sage HD extenders seem to work well too...

I don't believe that Kaleidescape is the only real option. I use Request, and it presents a fairly good alternative to Kaledescape at a lower cost and it is completely legal. It offers support for up to 3 NAS devices, as well as an internal HDD of 1.5 TB. I have it attached to a QNAP TS-809 PRO with 8 2 TB WD Hard drives. The User Interface for Request could use some work (particularly for music) but as I said it does indeed present a reasonable alternative to Kaleidescape. More information can be obained from your dealer or visit http://www.request.com
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

Kaleidescape is the only Legal option...
so there are no real competitors...
you can argue fair use all you want, but our Benevolent Media Overlords do not believe in fair use, and our BMO's have plenty of money to buy any law they feel they need, so therefore fair use is irrelevant...

but yea, the HTPC seems to be the most flexible... the NMT's seem like a good idea... the sage HD extenders seem to work well too...

Kaleidescape lost it's court case and it's business model may be in jeopardy.
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrvegas1 View Post

I'm bumping this old thread because I was at a home theater store today and really fell in love with Kaliedescape as a "movie jukebox."

Are there any affordable alternatives out there now?

On a related note, I have never burned DVD's (BluRay) to my computer but have always heard that it's a MAJOR pain in the neck.

With media centers using Windows 7 there are LOTS of options. You can purchase software to rip the DVD's and it makes it very easy. Kaleidescape did loose the last battle with the DVDCCA and we will see what the final chapter will read. If they loose it will suck for all those people that purchased the units thinking they were doing the "legal" thing. Media centers have the added advantage of being able to keep all your DVD's, Blu rays, photo's, home movies and the list goes on and on under one user interface. It is really very nice. Buy a tuner card and use your media center as a DVR and watch live TV from it. You are only capped by your own creativity.

Burning DVD's with a properly set up system is as easy as installing the DVD and then going into the menu and saying to copy the movie.
post #19 of 40
Time for a good old bump on this topic. It sounds like there were several alternatives to Kaleidescape shown off at CEDIA this year. However, I haven't been able to find a list of those alternatives seen at the show, just a mention to alternatives on the HTGuys podcast from this morning.

I, for one, don't mind having a jukebox solution so that I can get all the menus and extra features when I want them. It seems the DIY approaches, of which I've been running the SageTV one, all require ripping the main movie for playback. Is there anyone else out there with the proper BluRay licenses so we can get full menus yet?
post #20 of 40
I researched high and low, almost bough the sony carousel disc player but the reviews sucked.

Right now your best choice is to snatch a Dune player (smart series- limited availability) and just rip your blu-ray to full .ISO using anydvd and their speed menu option with 'keep original menu' selected.

Boot to Zappiti and be done.

A side from that you can either A) Screw around with MKV, slicing out main movies and hoping that works, B) steel the movies from the torrent sites. rolleyes.gif
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxrealtor View Post

I researched high and low, almost bough the sony carousel disc player but the reviews sucked.

Right now your best choice is to snatch a Dune player (smart series- limited availability) and just rip your blu-ray to full .ISO using anydvd and their speed menu option with 'keep original menu' selected.

Boot to Zappiti and be done.

A side from that you can either A) Screw around with MKV, slicing out main movies and hoping that works, B) steel the movies from the torrent sites. rolleyes.gif

Thanks pdxrealtor. One of the CEDIA companies that demonstrated a similar solution was RipWave Electronics. I've reached out to learn more as their website is pretty non-functional today.

And for what it's worth, I avoid torrent sites, newsgroups and download lockers like the plague.
post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perogi View Post

Thanks pdxrealtor. One of the CEDIA companies that demonstrated a similar solution was RipWave Electronics. I've reached out to learn more as their website is pretty non-functional today.

And for what it's worth, I avoid torrent sites, newsgroups and download lockers like the plague.

Let us know what you find out. I checked out their site, and one of their server brochures, but I left not having a clue about their product.

Is it a legal solution like kaleidescape? Does it store the physical disc as well as put it on a hard drive?
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxrealtor View Post

Let us know what you find out. I checked out their site, and one of their server brochures, but I left not having a clue about their product.

Is it a legal solution like kaleidescape? Does it store the physical disc as well as put it on a hard drive?

Not sure yet. I'm going to hop on the phone with them this week some time to find out. It seems that most of these vendors at CEDIA are hocking commercialize HTPC's. In fact, many of the vendors use the same cases. Some run on WMC it seems while others aren't quite as apparent what they are running one. Details are very sketchy and these guys really only want to work with installers, not consumers.

Here's a few others from CEDIA '13:

http://sookbox.com/
http://www.assassinhtpc.com/


So....definitely not a Kaleidescape competitor yet. I'm guessing with all the lawsuits for "breaking DMCA", there won't be any anytime soon. So that begs the question, why aren't there any BluRay carousels with fancy metadata and fanart presentations and extenders to access it around the home? Anyone want to go into business with me? HA!
post #24 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perogi View Post

Not sure yet. I'm going to hop on the phone with them this week some time to find out. It seems that most of these vendors at CEDIA are hocking commercialize HTPC's. In fact, many of the vendors use the same cases. Some run on WMC it seems while others aren't quite as apparent what they are running one. Details are very sketchy and these guys really only want to work with installers, not consumers.

Here's a few others from CEDIA '13:

http://sookbox.com/
http://www.assassinhtpc.com/


So....definitely not a Kaleidescape competitor yet. I'm guessing with all the lawsuits for "breaking DMCA", there won't be any anytime soon. So that begs the question, why aren't there any BluRay carousels with fancy metadata and fanart presentations and extenders to access it around the home? Anyone want to go into business with me? HA!

Assassin is actually a contributing member of this site.

Bill
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perogi View Post

Not sure yet. I'm going to hop on the phone with them this week some time to find out. It seems that most of these vendors at CEDIA are hocking commercialize HTPC's. In fact, many of the vendors use the same cases. Some run on WMC it seems while others aren't quite as apparent what they are running one. Details are very sketchy and these guys really only want to work with installers, not consumers.

Here's a few others from CEDIA '13:

http://sookbox.com/
http://www.assassinhtpc.com/


So....definitely not a Kaleidescape competitor yet. I'm guessing with all the lawsuits for "breaking DMCA", there won't be any anytime soon. So that begs the question, why aren't there any BluRay carousels with fancy metadata and fanart presentations and extenders to access it around the home? Anyone want to go into business with me? HA!

Because an HTPC will offer up 99% of the Kaleidescape experience at 1% of the cost. I'm guessing the vast majority of users couldn't care less about the disc menus, and likewise about breaking copy-protection to rip a blu-ray to their home server. There's almost zero market for that type of device.
post #26 of 40
I also had good success with an SD HTPC. I really wanted an HD HTPC to work, but found it far too frustrating and the results did not meet my requirements or expectations. I think in 12 months or so an HTPC will be viable, but right now the software and hardware was not mature enough to work for me.EoRNcT
I tried the PS3 and found it to be the best bang for the buck.. but not adequate for my 800+ hd and sd dvd catalogue. Excellent disc based player, so it's a keeper for me for disc based playback.
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by emcdade View Post

Because an HTPC will offer up 99% of the Kaleidescape experience at 1% of the cost. I'm guessing the vast majority of users couldn't care less about the disc menus, and likewise about breaking copy-protection to rip a blu-ray to their home server. There's almost zero market for that type of device.

There is a market just the market of the rich and famous. That like in all one easy solution with no fiddling needed and that is what Kaleidescape offers, An htpc does not even begin to touch the features of a Kaleidescape system, Each Kaleidescape system can be programmed to behave differently with different remotes. If you hand your kid the "kid remote" the Kaleidescape system will only display movies/tv shows with parental ratings you allow, You switch to a master remote and all movies show. No need for passwords or different sections, you just need different remotes, It now has its store to download full bluray movies. If you just think its a way to get movies and fanart to the screen then yes its the same as any htpc/dedicated media player, But its all the bells and whistles and ease of use that pushes it to the market that can afford it. Not to mention its a white glove install only
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfelite View Post

There is a market just the market of the rich and famous. That like in all one easy solution with no fiddling needed and that is what Kaleidescape offers, An htpc does not even begin to touch the features of a Kaleidescape system, Each Kaleidescape system can be programmed to behave differently with different remotes. If you hand your kid the "kid remote" the Kaleidescape system will only display movies/tv shows with parental ratings you allow, You switch to a master remote and all movies show. No need for passwords or different sections, you just need different remotes, It now has its store to download full bluray movies. If you just think its a way to get movies and fanart to the screen then yes its the same as any htpc/dedicated media player, But its all the bells and whistles and ease of use that pushes it to the market that can afford it. Not to mention its a white glove install only

I agree halfelite. Not to mentioned you get the FULL Bluray experience with the menus, as produced, extra features, etc. That is what is lacking from my SageTV-based HTPC. My number one and number two issue with all the HTPC-based approaches are the lack of menus and extra features because of Bluray rips and the lack of extenders for MOST HTPC-based approaches. SageTV has served me well, but the dedicated devs who made all the addons to make it such a great system seem to be dropping like flies. Most are moving over to Plex (which I understand has apps on many STB's devices like Roku), but that is still lacking the menu's and ease of extra features. Plus, I'd prefer a dedicated extender which is easier for guest, kids and wife's to use.

What I can't grasp is why more movie nuts with HTPC's don't mind the lack of full disc (i.e. menus and extras)? The draw for many DVD and Bluray collectors traditionally was access to the movie and the extra features. I guess this has changed? If it hasn't changed, why are some many happy to settle on a main movie rip to their HTPC?
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Perogi View Post

What I can't grasp is why more movie nuts with HTPC's don't mind the lack of full disc (i.e. menus and extras)? The draw for many DVD and Bluray collectors traditionally was access to the movie and the extra features. I guess this has changed? If it hasn't changed, why are some many happy to settle on a main movie rip to their HTPC?

For me at least it because the extras may get watched once or twice if at all and when that itch arises I still have a BDT-500 in place to do so. The convenience of all feature length films at the touch of a button is worth having to toss a disc in every once in a while. I hate having to sit through all the other junk (previews, coming soon to blah blah blah) in order to see just the movie which is ironic because when I go to the theater I LOVE LOVE LOVE previews, lol.

Bill
post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfattbill View Post

I hate having to sit through all the other junk (previews, coming soon to blah blah blah) in order to see just the movie which is ironic because when I go to the theater I LOVE LOVE LOVE previews, lol.

Bill

Great point Bill. I forgot about all of the warnings and other general crap when viewing a disc in a real player. However, I won't mind the previews as long as they make use of BDLive to always keep the previews fresh and current.
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