“If you could purchase movies over the Internet with precisely the same video and audio quality of a physical Blu-ray Disc or DVD, would you ever purchase a shiny, round disc again? Well guess what? This is now a reality.” – Kaleidescape
My first brush with Kaleidescape’s innovative disc-based movie server was back in 2002. I was one of the first reviewers to be sent the product for review, and I can recall standing on my front lawn, talking on my cell phone with company co-founder, Cheena Srinivasan, going over the system. When describing what Kaleidescape was, Cheena told me his vision for the future of the company. “We want to be more than just a media management company,” he said. “We want to eventually get into content delivery.”
Ten years ago, Srinivasan felt that digital delivery was going to be an important roadmap milestone for Kaleidescape, and starting today that is a reality.
While the goal of digital delivery has been a company dream for a while, the reality of getting the store opened and the studio deals lined-up has taken time to get in place. At CEDIA 2011, the company allowed dealers to glimpse a small kernel of this concept by allowing them to log-in to a rudimentary version of the store and download a Blu-ray quality version of Gray Eagles. The company then teased the download store further at this past CEDIA by giving select individuals a brief, closed-door demo of how the store would look and feel.
And for the past week I have been part of a beta group testing the store; browsing, purchasing, downloading and watching titles. And I have to say, it’s great! In fact, it’s been so easy and convenient to use, I’ve purchased more movies in this past week than I had this entire year.
With a mouse-click, titles are purchased and automatically downloaded to my Kaleidescape server, and are then ready for viewing. No more getting in the car to drive down to Redbox with a return date looming over my head. No more waiting for the Netflix or Amazon disc to show up in the mail. No more fighting for a parking space at Walmart or Best Buy. Just a click, and it’s mine.
Downloaded titles incorporate all of the Kaleidescape features beloved by system owners, including favorite scene bookmarking, Rotten Tomatoes and Common Sense Media info, and bypassing all warning and menus. With my Internet connection, DVD titles took between 72 and 112 minutes to download, ranging from 8.5 to 11.8 Mbps. (2001, below, is an outlier as my router crashed in the midst of the download and my Internet was off-line for nearly six hours…) Kaleidescape installed a fiber link between its Sunnyvale facility and its data center to support the Store’s bandwidth, and is capable of supporting customer download speeds over 60 Mbps!
So, what fundamentally separates Kaleidescape’s Store from purchasing a digital download of a movie on iTunes, Amazon or Vudu? Quite a bit actually.