By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sunnyvale, Calif. — Home video server resource Kaleidescape said this week that it has launched the Blu-ray-quality component of its online video store.
Now Kaleidescape System owners can download movies from the Kaleidescape Store to view movies, special features and bonus content, with the same audio and video quality as the Blu-ray Disc versions.
The company said this is the first service of its kind to offer movies and bonus features in full Blu-ray-quality pictures and sound.
What’s different from HD movies delivered by services like Vudu or Netflix is that Kaleidescape does not compress the video and offers all of advanced multichannel audio formats in the same native form as found on the discs.
The service is also compatible with the new UltraViolet digital content locker system, meaning that qualifying titles can be viewed on Kaleidescape server at home as well as streamed to other devices — like PCs, smartphones and tablets — from the UltraViolet Cloud-based virtual content locker system using the Flixster app for no additional purchase.
The Kaleidescape system also offers special features that enable viewers to jump to favorite songs in a Blu-ray or DVD concert or musical.
Since December, Kaleidescape has been offering movies in DVD quality for beta tests. But the announcement this week marks the first time that full Blu-ray-quality fare has been made openly available to all users.
Movies are offered with video resolution up to 1080p/24 and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtracks. Download times for a title vary by service provider and download speeds, and can run from around 90 minutes to a number of hours to complete.
Titles prices range from $9.99 to $19.99 and higher for new releases and special editions. Kaleidescape said it strives to keep pricing as close to the street price for the disc versions as possible.
New titles, currently from Warner Bros. and New Line, are released day and date with the disc releases, although some experimentation with earlier windows has taken place.
Kaleidescape users will need an M-class player to be able to download HD content, and the company allows purchasers of an HD copy to also download DVD-quality versions, in case they have older players that don’t support HD playback.
Those who have purchased DVD versions of movies can easily upgrade to Blu-ray-quality ones, Kaleidescape added.
The store and user interface also makes possible the easy purchase of special collections, such as Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture. A “Buy All” button is offered for convenient ordering.
Kaleidescape also offers a single manageable library for viewing collections of existing Blu-ray discs, DVDs and downloaded titles, and includes Rotten Tomatoes movie ratings and reviews to help with movies selections.
The Kaleidescape Store gets around the problem of needing to have a physical Blu-ray Disc loaded in the system’s Disc Vault to playback the title from the hard drive. The digitally purchased versions can be played directly from the server’s hard drive.
Kaleidescape offers 4TB disc cartridges, which would enable a single 1U Server to store up to 325 Blu-ray or 1,800 DVD titles. Users have the option of not downloading extras content if they wish to conserve space.
Additionally, users can delete purchased movies to free up room on the disc and download them again at a later from the Kaleidescape Store.
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