The Kaleidescape Cinema One: A Fantastic Set-Top Box That You Can’t Afford
What if there were a sleek, beautiful cellphone with three-month battery life, a 20x zoom on the camera, and coverage over 100 percent of the United States? Would you buy it?
What if I offered you an actual working jetpack, no bigger than a pillow, quiet and environmentally friendly? Would you want it?
How about a recipe for fruit smoothies shown in clinical trials to reduce the occurrence of cold, flu and headache by 97 percent?
OK, one more question: What if each of those items cost $4 million?
Would that change your answer?
That’s the problem I’ve got reviewing the Kaleidescape Cinema One. It’s a miraculous machine — at a ludicrous price.
Both the concept and the execution are delicious. It’s a set-top box for your TV. (By the way, we need a new word for “set-top box,” now that our TVs are half an inch thick.)
You feed it all your movies and music on disc: CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The Cinema One copies each disc to its 4-terabyte hard drive. 25 minutes for a DVD; two hours for a Blu-ray.
And I mean it copies everything. Every deleted scene, director’s commentary, alternate ending. Every DVD extra. And it doesn’t touch the video — there’s no compression or anything; it copies every pixel of quality that’s on the disc.
There’s also a Kaleidescape online store, where you can buy movies exactly the same way: digital versions of the entire DVD or Blu-ray disc, complete with all the quality and all the extras. (It’s a little odd that you access this store from your computer instead of the Kaleidescape box itself, but we’ll survive. Also, there are only 5,250 movies for sale there, and from only two movie studios. More to come, the company says.)
Thereafter, you can view your entire movie collection on your TV screen, either as an alphabetical list or as a mosaic of DVD covers. When you hit Play on the remote, the movie begins playing instantly.