Demonstrate a Kaleidescape system to 100 people and I bet you’ll have 100 people that would love to own one. With its world-class user interface, near instantaneous access to a vast library of DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs, automatic bookmarking of the most iconic scenes in thousands of films, and the world’s only way to download and own movies in exact Blu-ray quality, Kaleidescape systems are one of the easiest products to get people excited about. I use Kaleiedescape as part of almost every demonstration that I give in our showroom, and I can assure you that it is one of the few products that people universally covet and desire.
This is also attested by the 14,721 Kaleidescape systems installed in 78 countries around the globe, loaded with an average of 506 movies. Owners also continue using their systems, adding an average of 51 movies per year.
So everyone loves and wants a Kaleidescape. Right up to the point where people say the inevitable, “That’s awesome! How much does it cost?”
The “how much” question has always been Kaleidescape’s Achilles heel. Because no matter how badly someone may want it, the price of admission—often starting at around $15,000—has just been well-beyond the reach of many interested people.
Today, Kaleidescape removes that hurdle by introducing the new sub $4,000, Cinema One. (You might recall that there was previously a Cinema One, which was previously the Mini System—introduced back in 2010. Here is my commentary on that system, “Kaleidescape slashes the price, retains the awesome.”) Also, the new Cinema One is actually just called “Cinema One,” avoiding any of the mind twisting “the new, new iPad” conundrums.
So, what makes the Cinema One so awesome?
First, at $3,995 it is by far the most affordable Kaleidescape system offering ever. At that price, Kaleidescape ownership is available for about the price of a daily venti latte and muffin, with infinitely fewer calories or snooty baristas.
Second, fear not, the Cinema One is still a Kaleidescape through-and-through; the only thing that Kaleidescape cut was the price. Cinema One will offer the same playback and browsing experience of the pricier M-class players, which are now part of the Premiere Line, along with the existing 1U and 3U servers. Same outstanding video quality, same library management, same gorgeous high-res cover art interface, same access to the download store, same support of all major automation and control platforms, same experience via the awesome Kaleidescape iPad control app, same CinemaScape video-processing for 2.35 screens, same terrific parental controls and kid’s remote. Same-same.
Finally, it addresses both of the original Cinema One’s major shortcomings by playing/importing Blu-ray discs and having far more storage; an internal 4 Terabyte disk drive that can store approximately 100 Blu-ray quality, 600 DVD quality or 6,000 CD quality titles.
The Cinema One includes the outputs needed by 99.9 percent of the people that will be interested in buying it; HDMI for home theater installations and analog audio for connecting to a distributed audio system. Cinema One is also the first Kaleidescape to support WiFi via the included 802.11n USB dongle. Also kudos for the included rear panel mini-jack IR input to keep from marring the front panel’s clean appearance.
Once owners get a taste of the Cinema One’s sweetness and lifestyle improving awesome, they can chase the digital dragon by adding a second Cinema One to their system. This lets users not only enjoy all of their content in another room, it also doubles the available storage, seamlessly merging all content together into a single, harmonious library. (Dual systems must be hardwired to the—preferably Gigabit—network. No WiFi for dual-zone streaming.)
This allows Kaleidescape—and its dealers—to go after a segment of the market that they’ve previously never been able to serve, aka “regular ol’ movie loving people.” Now the guy building a $15,000 media room can seriously considering stepping up to Kaleidescape to enjoy the same experience as people with multi-million dollar rooms. (Not shown on that graphic is the very tippy-top of the pyramid, likely labeled “Sheiks, Maharajahs, Captains of Wall Street, and Titans of Industry, Gulfstream and mega-luxury yacht owners” which Kaleidescape holds ownership over unlike any other brand.)
A Cinema One system maxes out at two Cinema Ones and it cannot live as part of a Premiere ecosystem. However, for many homes, two movie zones and a 200 Blu-ray/1200 DVD storage capacity will be plenty.
The Cinema One lives under the same Blu-ray disc-in-tray/vault requirements as the M-class players, and owners that want to store a library of Blu-ray discs can add Kaleidescape’s DV700, which can house and import any kind of shiny round disc—provided it’s a Blu-ray, DVD, or CD—you want to feed it. Of course, any titles purchased and downloaded from Kaleidescape’s store are exempt from this requirement, so owners choosing to build their HD library in that manner wouldn’t need a vault.
Also new for the Cinema One is much prettier packaging. I mean, sure, we all appreciated the Spartan, “I am here for business, not pleasure!” look of the old brown box, but this new graphic-rich box says, “I’m smart and sassy and here for a good time!” Oh, and spoiler…it has a 3-year warranty!
Kaleidescape has also simplified configuration, ditching the web-based tabs and dropdowns and going to an on-screen set-up using the included remote control. This means that you can now just hand this fancy new box right to your customer—using the supplied integrated box handle at no extra charge—and let them install their new Cinema One themselves. Of course, most people will probably still opt for a professional install, and any integration with a control system will likely still require the loving touch that only a custom installer can provide, but for the guy that absolutely, positively has to have it before the weekend, now he has the option.
Going along with this new kinder, gentler set-up, Kaleidescape will also be offering the Cinema One for sale directly from store.kaleidescape.com. Before you start burning things in effigy, renting your mantels in twain and covering yourself in sackcloth, Kaleidescape assured me that it is in no way looking to compete with their channel of 1,800 dealers worldwide and Magnolia design centers. The system will be sold at full retail and include sales tax to nearly every state in the union. (There are some states where Kaleidescape does not have a nexus and doesn’t have to collect sales tax. However these states represent about 10 percent of the company’s historical sales.) Rather, Kaleidescape sees offering the Cinema One directly as a way to expand the reach of its brand. In fact, the company is looking at ways to drive interested buyers to a local dealer prior to the sale.
At $3,995, the price of owning Kaleidescape’s unique brand of awesome is now more accessible than ever. This makes the Cinema One great news for movie lovers and Kaleidescape dealers the world round.
John Sciacca is principal of Custom Theater and Audio in Myrtle Beach, SC.