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Kaleidescape- how will it handle Bluray and HD DVD with hdcp?

post #1 of 835
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the Kaleidescape system- how it will handle this new hdcp requirement with bluray and hd-dvd. I really want to get a system, but I would hate to invest and find out it will not work with the new generation stuff. I spoke with the predsident of the company at CES and he said that the system will be able to handle bluray and hd dvd, but this new hdcp thing I just read about might throw a wrench in to their plans. Any thoughts?
post #2 of 835
I don't see how it would throw a wrench into their plans. Their players have been HDCP compliant since they were released (the KPLAYER2500 with HDMI). HDCP isn't really a new thing anyway.

If you scale the output on DVD beyong 480p via HDMI, there will be HDCP applied as is required per the DVD CCA licensing.

I own a multi-server cluster with 4 players and have personally verified this. I also have had HD content on my server for over a year - both 720p and 1080i at rates as high as 40mbit which is well beyond the top bit rate of either disc format.

BlueRay and HD-DVD both have managed copy in their specs now, so it will not be a problem to support either or even both in the Kaleidescape server. All one would need is a loader. Since neither of them are shipping yet, we don't have a loader but I figure that will be coming soon after - probably shortly after the PC drives start shipping. I don't mind waiting a few months since we won't have but maybe 50 titles in total out the chute anyway.
post #3 of 835
Thread Starter 
Multi server cluster? 4 players? You don't have the expertise to respond on this topic... joking of course. OK, that makes me feel better. I have had it explained to me that the kaleidescape takes a digital image of the disc and stores it complete on the server. Could you explain a little bit about how this works? Am I correct in saying that if that is the case, no matter what the optical disc format, kaleidescape will always be able to handle it with new readers and it's not going anywhere- as in- it will handle bluray and hddvd with no hitches, so it is a safe investment?
post #4 of 835
Quote:


Am I correct in saying that if that is the case, no matter what the optical disc format, kaleidescape will always be able to handle it with new readers

Well, no, it's not correct to say that no matter what the format, Kaleidescape can do it. In theory, a format could come along whose licensing restrictions preclude what Kaleidescape is doing with DVD. In fact, the folks at CSS have their knickers all bunched over what Kaleidescape is doing now with standard DVD, and have sued them over it. The lawsuit's not likely to go anywhere, because Kaleidscape took great pains to comply with their CSS license. But what is important is that Kaleidescape will put forward the same effort in the future to remain legal with future formats as well; it would be suicidal for them to do otherwise.

So, onto Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. Poindexter is right, both of the new HD disc formats support mandatory managed copy (MMC), which is good news. But as always, the devil is in the details, and there are two relevant ones here. First of all, the studios are free to set the cost for managed copies. If they decide to be insane, they could charge more than the MSRP of the disc itself---i.e., they could price it out of reach for any reasonable consumer.

Secondly, the managed copy has to be transferred to a system whose security measures have been approved by the AACS consortium. I imagine that a sufficiently product-neutral storage format will be approved by AACS in short order, and Kaleidescape will be able to take advantage of that. In case that does not happen, Kaleidescape will have to float its own security model by AACS. Maybe they're already doing that, I don't know. Certainly, they have a very secure system, and except for possible anticompetitive reasons I can't see AACS turning them down.

In summary, I think we all have good reason to be optimistic that Kaleidescape will be able to support these new formats, eventually. But it is by no means a surety; and even if it comes, it may not be cheap. If you decide that you must have assurances that Kaleidescape will support these new formats, you're going to have to wait for the company to provide those assurances themselves. We can speculate all we want but only they can give a definitive answer. And I doubt they will be able to do so at least for a little while, until the AACS spec settles down.

On the other hand, who's to say that Kaleidescape needs HD-DVD or Blu-Ray support? Their system is ideally designed for online distribution of content. They certainly have the security measures in place. So who knows, maybe one day the fears about these new disc formats will be irrelevant, because the studios will have cut deals with the studios to do things their own way.
post #5 of 835
Personally, I would not delay a Kaleidescape purchase based on fears of BD or HD-DVD compatibility. The only wrinkle, frankly, is that you will need to purchase a new Kaleidescape loader when the HD-DVD and BD hardware comes out. Hopefully Kaleidescape won't price this loader, or loaders at too high a price for existing customers. And hopefully, they'll make these loaders available by, say, September? - depends on when BD hardware actually ships.

While Kaleidescape has expressed interest in being a conduit for the download of movies, I haven't seen or heard anything that would make me feel that this will happen soon. I think we'll be stuck with discs for a while yet. But that is surely where they are heading.

Mr.Poindexter - what content do you have that is coded at 40 mbits?
post #6 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

In summary, I think we all have good reason to be optimistic that Kaleidescape will be able to support these new formats, eventually.

Yep, Kaleidescape is an Associate member of HD DVD Promotion Group.
post #7 of 835
Well that's definitely a good sign, lyzmy.
post #8 of 835
I agree with ptrubey in that even without HD disc support right now, a K purchase is well worth it and will be for some time. The problem with these new formats is that they still don't have all features ready to go for their respective launches. Initial runs of HD-DVD titles may not have any of the next gen audio formats and won't offer 1080P. The HDMI 1.3 spec isn't set yet and as Michael said, the availability of MMC doesn't ensure that you'll be able to transfer content from any disc and, even if so, at what price? And then there's that whole format war thing.

Personally, I'm already fatigued by all the back and forth on the new formats. Yeah, I'm getting a PS3 when it comes out, but I may wait for a while before I start building up a next gen library. I want to see all of these new features actually show up in software before I get on board and decide which one to back. It may be a while before that happens, though.

Jeff
post #9 of 835
post #10 of 835
Paul, the Kalahari videos are encoded at 40mbit.

I think the big impediment to downloading content is two-fold: no studio want to be first to try it out and when they do try it out, they won't do it with their premium content so the first round will quite possibly be Throw Momma From The Train, Last Action Hero and of course Terminator 2 - the one hit they have no problem selling over and over again - of course they won't offer the extended edition first so they can double dip you on it.
post #11 of 835
The hope is that Longhorn/AACS will mean that EVERYONE can do it, and compete with folks like K, who currently have someone of an unfair advantage because of their deal they have to legally rip DVDs. Once it becomes legal to do it, then all of us who have products in this space will be able to compete on the same playing field, then it will get interesting.
post #12 of 835
Ironically, they are the only ones who have a deal to legally load DVDs into their server and yet at the same time are the only ones to be sued for doing it.

I think one of the issues that would be a long term problem if it were not for HD-DVD/Blu-Ray is that Kaleidescape has a patent on how to load DVDs and not circumvent the CSS agreement according to what I have heard.
post #13 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post

The hope is that Longhorn/AACS will mean that EVERYONE can do it, and compete with folks like K, who currently have someone of an unfair advantage because of their deal they have to legally rip DVDs. Once it becomes legal to do it, then all of us who have products in this space will be able to compete on the same playing field, then it will get interesting.

Watch the price of the K come tumbling down once competing products hit at half the cost. Just like the Sony Ruby who did justice to knock DLP pricing in line these content servers will go through the same adjustment and soon something will be available the average consumer can afford. There are a lot of smart companies out there able to pull this off.
post #14 of 835
I don't know, Alan. I haven't seen the cost of the Crestron TPS control panels tumble since Control4 started shipping.

It isn't like Kaleidescape is the only one out there with high pricing for media servers. The AMX MAX system isn't cheap and neither is a Video Request system. They will add that functionality but I don't think we are going to see a serious contention for that business out of the PC crowd with one hard drive holding only 20 films. This will be in the realm of massive RAID servers with online capacity expansion.

The Kaleidescape has already reduced their price by $5K since it was launched and that was without a serious competitor but just due to demand driving their shipments to offer better economies of scale. Economies of scale are great for software, but the hardware in their servers isn't cheap and that isn't going to drop as fast in price.

The "average" consumer is not going to have an HD-DVD server outside of a DVR that will store a few programs indefinitely. Maybe some day in the future, but not this year or the next. The costs for such a system that can store a reasonable number of titles just isn't going to work at that level. Expect to see them using disc carousels instead.
post #15 of 835
I would tend to agree with alan. What makes K so slick is the software and stability of the system. It's wonderful for the high end market. There isn't really the same slick kind of system for the lower end market that's all integrated like K is. There are lots of front-ends and such that allow you to have similar functions, but not nearly as together as K. You can have a distributed server system like K with all your DVDs on it with MCE or any similar kind of front-end for very very cheap.

I think as PC use continues to converge with A/V stuff, there will inevitably be cheaper software that integrates ripping(including legally for HD stuff with managed copy protection etc) and organization and playback that will allow you to build your own computer-based system for this that's a lot more streamlined than the current crop of front-ends. I'm not sure how K will keep a long-term strategy solvent because besides their software, it's not as if they have a profoundly unique product. Drive space is getting very very cheap, if there's software out there for even a few hundred dollars that does what K does, there's no way they can keep their prices where they are that I can see. I expect that HD-DVD and BRD will have PC playback and managed storage capability, so it just seems inevitable that as distributed video gets to be more mainstream, that there will be a lot of simpler solutions for a lot less money.
post #16 of 835
Im hearing there are some things in the works. Once that first product hits at substantial discount Im sure it will have impact on the current monopoly. Even if its not 100% as slick out of the gate it will leave its mark just as the Ruby is not perfect but because of its price it rocked the projector industry.

HD DVD. I am sure you will not see compatibility right away. You will be waiting a while.
Also considering the average HD title will use an estimated 20gig or more, 3 to 4 times the space of a single DVD those wanting to archive an HD library (and who wont) will find the need for far more storage hiking the average price of the system up even higher. I went through 4 tera bites on my home brew server with HD content at 12gig per title in no time.
With the additional hard drive space thats going to be in demand HD DVD will drive the price down on these and help the competition to quickly gain momentum.
post #17 of 835
Thread Starter 
Alan-
The devices that may compete with Kaleidescape- are these going to be software solutions for installation on a pc computer server system, or are then similiar to kaleidescape in that they will be hardware based as well?
post #18 of 835
K is a member of both BluRay and HD DVD consortiums.
post #19 of 835
Yes, it's often said over and over again that Kaleidescape will face serious downward price pressure as competitors come online. But as far as I understand it, the folks at K aren't oblivious to that, and their future product strategies reflect that. Their prices have gone down over time, and they will continue to; and new products will come in at lower price points.

On the other hand, it seems to me that Poindexter's Crestron example is a good one. Sure, people don't have to pay all those big $$$ for a Crestron control system; people can buy and program a good learning/macro remote on their own. But somehow, Crestron still sells plenty, and there are two reasons for that, as far as I can tell.

For one thing, plenty of people don't want to do it themselves. They want a solution that they plug in, and it works. A full turnkey media server solution.

And for another thing, there are a lot of genuine practical hurdles in the automation process that a lot of DIY'ers don't take into account, at least not at first. That is, they're initially naive about the complexities until they truly do it themselves. When they do, they typically end up with something far less elegant and simple as they had hoped to start with. Yeah, it works, but...

...and I think the same thing is going to happen with media servers, too. I frankly think that no individual is going to be able to come close to duplicating the ease of use and completeness of the Kaleidescape approach. There will be quite a wide variety of adequate, even good, solutions; and then there will be the high end, where Kaleidescape sits today. No, they won't be able to charge what they do today, but they will still be priced considerably higher than the median.

I don't own one now, but I sure as heck have it on my short list for my new media room. I'm telling you, a Kaleidescape controlled with a Crestron touchscreen is a wonder to behold, no matter how technically savvy and DIY-capable you may be.
post #20 of 835
I do not think Crestron is the best example. The majority of their business comes from the commercial industry. Crestron is speced into every Church, conference/board rooms ect. Im willing to bet the % they get from high end HT is very small over all and if they pulled out of HT all together they would still thrive very well. Any HT that is blessed with a Crestron product is icing on the cake for them.
Kaleidescape as far as I know do not have the luxury of a huge second market to fall back on.

Just as Sam Runco now offers a 2k DLP. Who figured we would ever see that day. I think Sam is smart. He makes the transition before needing to and is always a step ahead while others wait until they have to when its sometimes to late. Im sure we will see other companies with high markup products facing that same pressure sooner or later. At least the ones who have or are about to face competition. D Box for instance to date has no worries
post #21 of 835
Quote:


I frankly think that no individual is going to be able to come close to duplicating the ease of use and completeness of the Kaleidescape approach. There will be quite a wide variety of adequate, even good, solutions; and then there will be the high end, where Kaleidescape sits today. No, they won't be able to charge what they do today, but they will still be priced considerably higher than the median.

I'm not sure I agree. I mean, I think K type systems will remaiin at the high end, relatively speaking, but I fully expect that within the next few years there will be very capable software solutions, and perhaps bundled hardware+software solutions that are as turn-key and ready to go out of the box as K is. Right now, that does not really exist. There are a lot of people running media servers for music and video and things like that, but it's still relatively DIY as you point out. We're starting to see a lot more network-player kind of things for music and video, and I think as the computer world and the TV/music world continue to merge, it is inevitable that turn-key products will come from major vendors with pretty thorough support. I mean, Microsoft's MCE is still a fairly crude example of this, but who knows what something like Vista may have to offer, or what kinds of software will turn up. I'm actually surprised that Apple hasn't really pushed too much in this direction. They've done wonders with their ipod, and they're moving towards video for that, but think about what happens when content starts coming from the net like itunes, and there is a desire to integrate that kind of library with your TV. The jump isn't too significant to envision over the next few years. Right now it's pretty clumsy, and software solutions are still pretty clunky and DIY, but in a few years I don't think it's a stretch to see someone like Microsoft or similar to release software that can integrate with LAN/WAN players for audio and video, and integrate downloaded media, library distributed over a network, legal ripping to storage servers, etc etc that is as easy to setup and use as setting up a LAN. Right now that doesn't exist really besides relatively clunky DIY solutions or high end integrated stuff like K, but I think it's coming.
post #22 of 835
I paid 30k for a Teranex a fews ago. Still crated new in box while the customers theater faces completion. We wanted to get the latest up grade or trade her for the cheaper ( cheaper, yea right) 2 RU and Teranex offered us 8k for this 3RU on a trade to the 2RU. What a crash in value. Im willing to bet you will see the same thing happen to "some" of this stuff. Especially when new aggressive cheaper competition is right around the corner but thats the price we pay for being on the cutting edge. Sometimes its no fun playing it safe.
post #23 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Gouger View Post

I do not think Crestron is the best example. The majority of their business comes from the commercial industry. Crestron is speced into every Church, conference/board rooms ect. Im willing to bet the % they get from high end HT is very small over all and if they pulled out of HT all together they would still thrive very well. Any HT that is blessed with a Crestron product is icing on the cake for them.
Kaleidescape as far as I know do not have the luxury of a huge second market to fall back on.

This is not true today, as 46% of Crestron's business is in the residential market. I'm willing to bet that as commercial IP control solutions become increasingly advanced, that we'll see their commercial market begin to slide and a rapid shift to a residential focus.

As far as Kaleidescape, let me point out that it's been downright easy to load music onto any PC for quite sometime, yet still we're selling more music servers than ever. The money to be made isn't in the hardware--it's in the software, the reliability, the ease-of-use, the simplicity of scalability.

Yes, there will be more competition for Kaleidescape, and I'm sure they're preparing for that, but the high-end will always be there to support them. Hell, the Corvette is faster than plenty of Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, etc., but last time I checked Ferrari's margins were just as high as ever and the Corvette was being discounted. The high-end and the entry-mid markets are two very different worlds that rarely overlap, save for people like us that can make such comparisons.
post #24 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSpot View Post

This is not true today, as 46% of Crestron's business is in the residential market. I'm willing to bet that as commercial IP control solutions become increasingly advanced, that we'll see their commercial market begin to slide and a rapid shift to a residential focus.

As far as Kaleidescape, let me point out that it's been downright easy to load music onto any PC for quite sometime, yet still we're selling more music servers than ever. The money to be made isn't in the hardware--it's in the software, the reliability, the ease-of-use, the simplicity of scalability.

Yes, there will be more competition for Kaleidescape, and I'm sure they're preparing for that, but the high-end will always be there to support them. Hell, the Corvette is faster than plenty of Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, etc., but last time I checked Ferrari's margins were just as high as ever and the Corvette was being discounted. The high-end and the entry-mid markets are two very different worlds that rarely overlap, save for people like us that can make such comparisons.

Good points. Except the corvette sucks. It's a GM product...
post #25 of 835
SweetSpot

You bring up some valid points. Regardless where the value lies the fact remains its pricey. My point, we are about to see a new trend in products that will offer the consumer a choice we do not have up to this point. With HD DVD we will see competing products offered from several larger companies that will do a very job and priced very competitively. This trend repeats itself over and over with everything. I am in no way directing my comments toward the quality of a product or company. My comments are directed on price and marketing trend.

Again taking the Sony Ruby for an example many people never thought they would ever be able to afford a first generation 1080P projector based on current projector price trends. But many people did spend beyond their budget to buy this thing based on hype alone. Sonys aggressive pricing forced consumers to take notice. Hi priced 1 chip DLPs price dropped to half over night.
The hardware and software in these high priced projectors remained first class but pricing still cut in half over night. We will see the same thing happen with content servers. K is not the only company in the world capable of writing software. Watch out for the larger companys who can afford to launch something
at such an aggressive price even if they failed they can afford it but the damage to the competition will be done and the new price reference set.
post #26 of 835
[quote=SweetSpot]This is not true today, as 46% of Crestron's business is in the residential market. I'm willing to bet that as commercial IP control solutions become increasingly advanced, that we'll see their commercial market begin to slide and a rapid shift to a residential focus.
QUOTE]


I don't believe the residential market % is that High, having worked with Crestron and our commercial customers. Of course it would depend on which products as there are HT based solutions geared toward that segment. But overall there are perhaps 1 residential for every 10 Commercial projects. And even with that being said the scope and budget of the projects are significantly different where commercial projects garner the lions share of dollars.

Just a thought.

Cheers,

Requis
post #27 of 835
[quote=Requis]
Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSpot View Post

This is not true today, as 46% of Crestron's business is in the residential market. I'm willing to bet that as commercial IP control solutions become increasingly advanced, that we'll see their commercial market begin to slide and a rapid shift to a residential focus.
QUOTE]


I don't believe the residential market % is that High, having worked with Crestron and our commercial customers. Of course it would depend on which products as there are HT based solutions geared toward that segment. But overall there are perhaps 1 residential for every 10 Commercial projects. And even with that being said the scope and budget of the projects are significantly different where commercial projects garner the lions share of dollars.

Just a thought.

Cheers,



Requis

That number is straight from Crestron, and it will continue to grow through increases in brand awareness and more new products aimed exclusively at the residential market, i.e., Adagio, Cameo keypads, etc. Their push into the residential lighting control market is certainly one of the main contributing factors to resi's large and consistent gains in revenue share over the last 5 years.

-Sean
post #28 of 835
Let's keep in mind a couple of things. First, unless the DMCA is changed or outright dropped (fat chance), Kaleidescape still has an edge on the current gen format which is significant. If they win the lawsuit, other DVDCCA licensees may decide it's fair game to use theirs in the same way that K has. However, it appears that most of them are holding tight to see how things play out. So, you're talking about being able to use the Kaleidescape with millions of currently available DVD titles right now before the first official next gen disc hits the shelves. It's going to take a while for these next gen format libraries to ramp up. Beyond that, as the article I posted says, MMC isn't part of the temporary AACS spec so that will incur it's own delay. When it does come, there's a chance we could all be very disappointed in how it is implemented. Even then, given that HD titles will require several times more storage space per, a competing server solution taking advantage of HD MMC will be expensive regardless of who makes it.

Kaleidescape has a head start in putting together a top notch system that is rock solid. They already are looking into scaled down versions at cheaper cost with more limited feature sets. Additionally, they've targeted next gen support from the get go so if there is a possibility of using the product with HD-DVD and BR, they will do all they can to include it. Personally, I think K's gonna be around for a while.

Is the cost expensive? Sure. But it's better than anything else out there, DIY or otherwise. Serious competiton will eventually come, but I've already been enjoying mine for over 2 years and it may be at least a year before we see anything else really step up. That time enjoying and not waiting has been worthwhile to me.

Jeff
post #29 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I'm actually surprised that Apple hasn't really pushed too much in this direction. They've done wonders with their ipod, and they're moving towards video for that, but think about what happens when content starts coming from the net like itunes, and there is a desire to integrate that kind of library with your TV.

Like all the uncompressed and/or lossless audio that is available..., where is that available now? Yeah, we will see video available and it will look like the crap they sell for the PSP.

Our first really slick low cost media server will serve up hundreds of hours of junk. They will not be running high quality solutions like the Kaleidescape. Hell, look at how many people are running DVD Shrink just to save a few GB per disc and many of them are even compressing the video even further in an effort to put more than the system should hold at its given capacity.

Kaleidescape's biggest competitors won't be competitors at all because they are targeting a different market. They won't have an effect on Kaleidescape's pricing, but demand, economies of scale and Kaleidescape's internal bean counters will determine the price of their products.

By the way, how have the prices of high end CD transports like Wadia and Meitner come down with the stiff competition from the $39 DVD players at Wal Mart?
post #30 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Poindexter View Post

Like all the uncompressed and/or lossless audio that is available..., where is that available now? Yeah, we will see video available and it will look like the crap they sell for the PSP.

Our first really slick low cost media server will serve up hundreds of hours of junk. They will not be running high quality solutions like the Kaleidescape. Hell, look at how many people are running DVD Shrink just to save a few GB per disc and many of them are even compressing the video even further in an effort to put more than the system should hold at its given capacity.

Kaleidescape's biggest competitors won't be competitors at all because they are targeting a different market. They won't have an effect on Kaleidescape's pricing, but demand, economies of scale and Kaleidescape's internal bean counters will determine the price of their products.

By the way, how have the prices of high end CD transports like Wadia and Meitner come down with the stiff competition from the $39 DVD players at Wal Mart?

I think these are slightly misleading. First, I think there are a lot of people using DVD shrink or similar with no compression (including myself) to have a server library rather than a zillion DVDs. Further, though we don't have it now exactly, I don't think it's unrealistic at all with more and more broadband access, that content will come in a mixture of hard forms and via download. I mean, even with standalone systems, the need to have internet access to that to manage the library data and all that, and licenses and similar, it seems inevitable that there will be some kind of future distribution for film content similar to itunes. Sure, google video and the like and video stores are filled with junky crap right now, but I see especially for television, the ability to have on-demand video. I think some portion of this for high end stuff like HD content is of course natural, and I think Joe Kane was talking about this in one of the AVS radio shows a while ago.

Second, I don't think K is really going to be able to stay that unique though. Nor do I think they're going to go away, but they're not going to be the ONLY option out there. The point is, if you're looking at a very large pricetag for a K system, and there begin to be cheaper more mainstream systems that do basically the same thing it does now, I don't see what the motivation is to go to a K system. They would have to add some new, rare kind of capability, which is certainly possible.

Lastly, about the Metiner comparison, that's a completely erroneous one, because this is really an integration/distribution system, and less with pure absolute performance. I'll bet the comparable "Meitner" guys in the video world aren't using the K at all, they're all using teranex stuff and modded SDI players and things like that. Also, no high end video guys are using esoteric kinds of DVD players. They tend to blow chunks in general. I assume you meant in terms of CD players.
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