Kaleidescape’s digital store adds $2 Blu-ray-to-digital copy upgrades

Kaleidescape's digital store adds $2 Bluraytodigital upgrades

Kaleidescape arrived at this year’s CEDIA event with a couple of fresh news items to accompany its mainstream-adjacent $3,995 Cinema One player. Its online Kaleidescape Store is getting a boost by adding the ability for customers to add digital copies for their existing Blu-ray discs. At launch it only supported DVDs, but now customers can get high quality, discless access to movies they already own HD editions of, just by putting a disc in the player. The price for Ultraviolet access across devices and an excuse to stop getting up from the couch to put the disc in (although, if you’d like to buy an expensive disc changer instead we’re sure Kaleidescape won’t argue) is $1.99, so choose wisely. Finally, the company is expanding access to the store, which has opened its virtual doors in Canada for the first time, in addition to the US and the UK, where it launched back in May.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD


Source: Kaleidescape

Sony’s next 4K projector will be merely expensive, not outrageous

Sony's VPLVW500ES projector brings 4K within reach of rich cinephiles

Sony has just announced the VPL-VW500ES 4K projector at IFA 2013 in Berlin, and though it didn’t name a price, said it’ll be much cheaper than its first 4K projector. Before you start re-arranging your theater room, though, the original VPL-VW1000ES cost a cool $25,000, so “cheaper” might be a relative term. If you’re undeterred, though, you’ll get full 4,096 x 2,160 4K resolution thanks to native 4K SXRD panels — technology that Sony lifted from its commercial cinema projectors. Other perks include 1,700 ANSI-lumen brightness (compared to 2,000 for the VW1000ES), a 200,000:1 contrast ratio, “Super Resolution” Blu-ray to 4K upscaling, Motionflow tech for less blur, and support for HDMI 2.0 — which permits 60fps 4K. Again, Sony hasn’t mentioned a price yet, but we did see it at a French retailer for 10,000 euros, meaning a $10,000 price seems feasible.

Sony also dropped a Full HD 3D model, the VPL-HW55ES projector, which replaces the VPL-HW50ES as its top 1080p dog while using the same SXRD tech. It boasts 1,700 ANSI-lumens, a 120,000:1 contrast ratio, a 5,000 hour lamp, an optical engine upgrade and Reality Creation technology. Both projectors offer wireless HDMI compatibility, and will arrive at some point next month. For more minutiae, check the PR after the break.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD, Sony


Kaleidescape revamps Cinema One movie player with easier setup in mind

Kaleidescape intros revamped Cinema One movie player

Kaleidescape’s Cinema One player has been many things to movie buffs, but “accessible” isn’t one of them — limited distribution and an emphasis on custom installs has kept it out of reach. The company is widening that scope with a redesigned Cinema One that’s almost as easy to install as an off-the-shelf Blu-ray player. It’s a tad more advanced than that, of course. The Cinema One integrates with most home automation systems, and it stores up to 100 Blu-ray quality movies (including Kaleidescape Store downloads). Viewers who need more storage can attach a second player or the older DV700 Disc Vault. The revamped Cinema One is still expensive at $3,995, but it’s at least easier to buy than its predecessor — Kaleidescape is selling the new media server as a walk-in purchase at Magnolia and other retail stores.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD


Source: Kaleidescape

Editorial: High Fidelity Pure Audio starting a noble but losing battle

Editorial High Fidelity Pure Audio starting a noble but losing battle

The announcement is wrapped in an aura of déjà vu: Universal Music Group is marketing an uncompressed, high-end digital audio format for Blu-ray called High Fidelity Pure Audio (HFPA). Where standard CD audio is 44.1KHz at 16 bits, HFPA’s A2D sampling rate clocks in at a sky-high 96KHz at 24 bits.

Analog elitists will maintain that even extremely refined sampling is inherently inferior to capturing unchopped waveforms, and while that argument is fun to test, it is academic in the context of wide consumer adoption. Can a new audiophile format gain traction in a technomusical world governed by convenience and mobility?

Filed under: Misc, Software


Hulu Plus update brings enhanced UI and controls to Roku, Smart TVs and Blu-ray players

Hulu Plus update brings enhanced UI and controls to Roku, Smart TVs and Bluray players

Hulu Plus has been on a roll in the mobile world this month, dishing out a brand-new Windows Phone app and updates to its Android UI. Fortunately, the service is pushing out similar efforts to the home entertainment side as well: a new refresh is rolling out to Samsung Smart TVs, select Blu-ray players and newer Roku hardware, with the Wii getting the update treatment in the near future. Enhancements in the new “experience” include a new tray-style user interface with a “shows you watch” feature, simplified controls, better search and Hulu Kids. Sounds like a pretty solid effort by the company, but if you’re not convinced, head to the source link for the full list of changes.

Update: A post on the Roku blog indicates the new UI is coming to the Roku HD (2500) and later models including the Roku 2, 3 and Streaming Stick. Earlier devices will still get the old UI.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD


Source: Hulu Blog, Roku Blog

Kaleidescape’s online video store officially opens, promises Blu-ray quality downloads

Kaleidescape's online video store officially opens, promises 'Bluray quality' downloads

Kaleidescape launched its online offering in beta late last year, and now it’s officially open, becoming what it claims is the first store to provide “internet delivery of Blu-ray quality movies.” The Kaleidescape Store goes beyond other 1080p services (Vudu, iTunes, Xbox and PSN come to mind) by promising the disc-equaling higher bitrates, extras and lossless audio options they don’t have. There’s no streaming to be had here, only downloads, with file sizes we saw ranging from 23GB (Austin Powers) to as much as 55.4GB (Inception) and everywhere in between.

While the store is only built to work with Kaleidescape’s high-end disc-playback systems — these usually start in the thousands of dollars, and you’ll need M-Class hardware for HD — it currently offers movies from Warner Bros. with an Ultraviolet copy attached, so buyers can play them back on mobile devices through apps such as Flixster and Vudu. Ultraviolet support also means $6.99 upgrades of DVD purchases to Blu-ray-quality HD, and potentially disc-to-digital type features later. Naturally, anyone interested will need an internet connection with a generous / non-existent bandwidth cap, but we imagine that’s not out of the price range for these niche owners. Still, it does provide an idea of the difficulty others like Sony and Netflix will face when trying to digitally distribute feature films in 4K to a wider audience. Check out a few screens of the store in the gallery, and the Random Thoughts blog link below for firsthand impressions from a beta tester.

Filed under: HD


Source: Kaleidescape, Kaleidescape Store

Sony prices its 2013 home and shelf audio lineups, clarifies availability dates

Sony prices its 2013 home and shelf audio lineups, clarifies availability dates

Given Sony’s heritage, it’s no surprise that the company loves its audio — but we can imagine that some might be overwhelmed when the company has priced and dated the cores of its 2013 home and shelf audio lineups in one sitting. Don’t worry, we’ll break it all down. On the home audio side, both the BDV-N7100W and BDV-7100W home-theaters-in-a-box (N8100W shown above) are already shipping at respective $599 and $699 prices with 1,000W 5.1-channel output, internet-linked Blu-ray players and both Bluetooth as well as OneTouch NFC pairing. TV watchers who can wait until June will also see the STR-DN1040, a $599 7.2-channel receiver with 4K upscaling, Bluetooth, WiFi and 165W per channel; the $449 STR-DN840 receiver, which scales back to 4K passthrough and 150W per channel; and the $399 HT-C660 soundbar, which adds NFC pairing to the same wireless mix as the receivers.

Shelf audio is simpler, with every new entry arriving May 27th. Both the LBT-GPX55 (below) and LBT-GPX77 mini stereos offer a respective 1,600W and 1,800W of output alongside Bluetooth, NFC, a CD player (!) and dual USB ports at a $499 starting price. Those who don’t need their walls rattled quite so thoroughly can spring for the $349 RDH-GTK37iP boombox, which puts out a still-substantial 420W on top of Bluetooth, NFC, an iOS dock and attention-getting strobe lights. That’s a lot to process, we know. If you’re not satisfied even after that deluge of information, however, Sony’s pressers await after the break.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Portable Audio/Video, HD, Sony


Source: Sony

Toshiba showcases 2013 AV range and updated Cloud TV platform (eyes-on)

Toshiba showcases 2013 AV range and updated Cloud TV platform eyeson

Toshiba isn’t the first name you’d associate with exciting products, but recently we were invited to check out its 2013 selection of AV gear in the hope we’d be dazzled by pixel counts and the IQ of its revamped smart TV platform. We revisited a few products we had flings with at CES, were introduced to some new panels, and taken through the ins-and-outs of the company’s fresh Cloud TV interface. Was there anything to get excited about? Head past the break for the full tour.

Filed under: Displays, Home Entertainment, Internet, Software, HD