Revolutionary Kaleidescape movie store opens in the UK

posted on Friday, 7th June 2013 by Steve May

home cinema  Media Server  Blu-ray 

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Kaleidescape has opened its movie download store in the UK. Launched Stateside last December, the new service offers movie downloads in 1080/24p quality complete with multi-channel lossless sound, a first for the industry. The launch is backed by a multi-year license agreement with Warner's Digital Distribution division, which covers over 400 films and 450 television episodes.

Kaleidescape senior director for marketing Tom Barnett told Inside CI that the UK was chosen as its second launch territory because of the size of the market. "The UK is our largest installed base outside the US, so we're going where our customers are," he said. Currently there are some 1,055 systems installed in the UK out of the 14,000 deployed globally. "The UK is an important market for movie studios as well," he added.

The ability to buy movies digitally in full Blu-ray quality is a game-changer for Kaleidescape owners, said Barnett. "Anyone purchasing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, for example, from our store receives a full Blu-ray quality copy of that film. It comes with the same audio and video files as on the disc - we don't do any compression or transcoding." The Hobbit download, he said, would be 54GB. "If your Internet is up to it, we can deliver at about 50MBps. So while the film takes a little bit of time to come in, you'll end up with the movie faster than if you were waiting for a Blu-ray to be delivered," he reasons. "As Internet speeds increase, this will become a shorter and shorter download."

Barnett revealed that the company is currently "in conversation with most of the major studios and a number of the smaller players," but said the brand is delighted to have Warner Bros. as a launch partner. "We have pretty good information on what movies our customers have stored and Warner represents about 25 per cent of those titles. Warner is also an important technology visionary amongst the movie studios; it was one of the strongest supporters of the DVD format for example."

Additionally downloads come with all of the extra content found on their equivalent disc editions, including commentaries, deleted scenes and related supplemental features. Within the Kaleidescape interface, downloaded titles appear identical to those ripped from physical media. Buyers also automatically get Ultraviolet rights for movies downloaded, allowing file playback in devices running the Flixster UV app.

Owners of standard definition titles are also able to upgrade their copies to HD, for a small fee, if the title's available. As part of the Kaleidescape experience, content is also bookmarked, allowing quick access to key scenes or memorable moments; concert videos and songs are indexed for ease of playback.

Currently, all the titles available in the store are 2D. 'Our Kaleidescape player is built with a video processor that only supports 2D, so there's nothing about our store that's 3D," explained Barnett. "When we introduce a player that does support 3D, the store will start offering films in 3D," he said.

Also read:
Kaleidescape embraces Ultraviolet
Media server business under fire at Ultraviolet confab
CI biz gifts cinema to Bluebell Wood children's hospice
Kaleidescape goes 'scope, adds iPad app

 

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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