Image: Hugh Threlfall
February 18 2012
If you find that film-streaming services from the likes of Apple TV, BT Vision, Lovefilm and soon-to-arrive Netflix never quite deliver the titles you want, you’re not alone. Well, you are a bit, because most people don’t know streaming films from the internet is even possible. But at least you have me to share your pain.
And we know what it’s like with online films: the selections ossified for weeks at a time, few recent titles, lots that never made it to the cinemas – and still more with titles that end in the dreaded 2, 3 or even 4.
According to home-cinema specialist Kaleidescape, maker of this glorious machine for obsessive film-lovers, only about half of the top 50 films at any one time are streamable. Many of the missing movies are, of course, the studios’ crown jewels and still in cinemas, but a surprising number of desirable films are available on DVD and Blu-ray but not digitally. Yet old-fashioned discs are a faff compared to downloading, what with having to load them into the DVD player drawer and then, inevitably, losing the irritating plastic case.
The Kaleidescape M700, then, is a glorious front-end for a new or existing home-cinema setup, that makes discs supremely convenient again. It takes 320 DVDs or Blu-rays – yes, 320 – in its carousel and then digests them to its hard drive while you sleep at a rate of about two Blu-rays per hour. Once digitised, you can view your films with all the advantages of digital downloads, principally that multiple viewers can view films from the same server on different players around the house. And I mean multiple; the M700 server can stream nine different Blu-rays or 50 DVDs at the same time.
After digitising, you need to keep your discs. For legal reasons that do make some sense, DVDs must stay in the house and Blu-ray discs have to be physically present in the system even when you’re only accessing the digital copy the M700 has made. It’s really no sweat.
The Kaleidescape system is a fantastic way to view films. Take a look at its website to learn more. There’s a new iPad app that works as a glorified remote. And the Kaleidescape cinema system can be installed on your yacht or aircraft, which is nice.