Watching films is my numero uno cultural pleasure. But I’m afraid I do have some very strict policies on doing so: absolutely no talking, no breaks and no sitting through half a film one night and finishing it the next. Sorry, it’s just wrong. But above all, I’m not a big fan of home cinemas. Every private one I’ve been to has been impressive, but somehow oddly depressing compared with a good public cinema that’s zinging with shared emotion. Technologically, too, I find home cinemas tiresome – they’re complicated, the projectors often make a “shooshing” noise and the sound is usually far too loud and show-offy for my liking. Most of all, though, now that so many people have a 50in (or even bigger) flatscreen television in their sitting room, and ultra-high-definition 4K TV is emerging, I just don’t understand why anybody would want to retreat to a padded chamber to watch films.
This new device from Kaleidescape, however, does a fantastic job of bringing the home-cinema experience into the home proper. The Cinema One is a simple plug-in box that will store up to 600 DVDs or 100 Blu-ray Discs that you feed into it and replay to your television in near-perfect bit-for-bit video and audio quality. This means a roomful of physical DVDs can be dispensed with. And there’s another plus point: Kaleidescape’s software strips out all the trailers so you can get straight into the film. You can also download a small but growing catalogue of uncompressed, Blu-ray-quality films from Kaleidescape’s own library. Downloads take an hour or two, but you can order them from your computer during the day and have them ready for the evening. If you have multiple homes with multiple Cinema Ones, the same download will present itself on up to five of these devices.
Another benefit is that, in a lot of cases, if you already own a standard DVD, you can, for a small fee, upgrade the film online to Blu-ray quality if it’s available in the Kaleidescape store. There are too many other clever features to mention here but, all in all, the Cinema One offers a fabulous interface and is faultlessly thought out in every respect. I’m convinced every serious film lover will be a fan.