You’ve probably heard of Netflix, iTunes and Amazon before, all of which offer the ability to watch movies, either via stream or you can purchase them and download them. The quality is good but it’s compressed, to make it easier and quicker to watch or download. What if I told you there was something better, something capable of offering better video and audio quality than your traditional cinema? Say hello to Kaleidescape, a company focused on bringing you the best possible movie experience, all from the comfort of your home.
Kaleidescape produce a number of media players, which allow you to purchase content form their store, download it, store it and view whenever you want. One of their players and possibly the most popular, is the Strato and we managed to get hold of one to try out.
There is a long spec sheet which can be found here, but in brief…
- Resolutions upto 2160p 60fps
- Blu Ray & DVD upscaled to 4K
- HDMI 2.0a supported
- Audio via HDMI or Digital Optical
- Audio capable of Dolby Atmos & DTS:X, plus more
- 6tb or 10tb storage options
- 100Base-TX/1000Base-T Ethernet & Integrated 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- 3yr Warranty
Taking the player out the box for the first time, it looks and feels like a chunky Blu-ray player, a lot heavier but a little bit sexier, as there are no buttons on the front of the box at all. I like that. It has a silver surround, a gloss black front and just the logo for the company, which does light up when active. The back of the player is where the magic happens and includes video HDMI port, Audio HDMI port, digital and optical ports, a single USB 3.0 port, Ethernet port, IR In jack and a service input. Very minimal amount of inputs but covers every eventuality. There is a fan located on the back, so obviously the players requires a decent air flow around it to reduce its heating loads.
The box we got to try out came set up and pre-installed with a variety of movies, so I cannot comment on what’s necessary to set the box up or the account required to purchase the content but I’ve been told it’s very much a plug and play device, so should be relatively straight forward.
Unlike streaming services, each movie you purchase is downloaded and stored on a 6TB or 10TB hard drive, capable of holding 180 4K Ultra HD movies, 330 Blu-ray quality movies, or 1500 DVD quality movies, within the Strato movie player. The box plays downloaded movies in 4K Ultra HD at up to 100 Mbps and 60 frames per second and as it’s already downloaded, none of that buffering nonsense. Strato supports lossless multi-channel audio, and is capable of playing HDR content on televisions and projectors that can process open standard 10-bit HDMI® 2.0a HDR. The Kaleidescape store currently has the largest legal online collection of movies available for purchase anywhere at 11,000 movies and over 3,000 TV seasons and concert films. Some titles are even made available to purchase, before they officially release to the general public! Yes, they do sell TV series too!
The video and audio quality is superior to anything I have experienced before, I’m talking breathtaking! I do have a 4K HDR TV but quite an old AV receiver, but still, the audio as old school DTS was exceptional and the image quality, my goodness! It’s hard to comment on colours and sharpness because your TV plays such a big part of that but I can say this box pushed my TV to the max and I’ve never seen it perform so well.
The interface is amazing. It displays at 4K 60FPS, which means you get this fluid animation when browsing between movies and the movie covers look vibrant and jumping out the screen. When you hover over a movie, the movies around it jumble up and rearrange around that selected movie, based upon certain parameters. For example, if I select a superhero movie, all the other superhero movies I own will display around the selected one. That’s on the cover menu, there are other menus available such as a list menu and you can sort movies by genre, year, actor, director etc.
Are there any negatives to the Strato movie player? Only that this is such a good bit of kit, that the rest of your set up needs to be just as good! To get the most out of it, you need a decent 4K HDR TV, with that surround sound system that includes Dolby Atmos and you need a very good internet connection! Some of the UHD movies are around 120gb, so if you’re still rocking a 10mb connection, you’re going to be downloading for quite some time! Oh and the remote control is infrared, which sucks a little bit as you need to be in line of the box to control it. However, if you a have control system in your home, such as Control4, Savant or Crestron, this can be hooked up to it, so you can throw that remote away.
Oh…the price? Yeh, it’s a little over £4,000 for the 6TB version and the movies cost between £10 and £30, depending on quality. Kaleidescape are serious about home cinema and movies, and have designed the Strato movie player to provide an immersive home cinema experience, and boy have they done that! For more info and to find a dealer, visit the official Kaleidescape website.
Kaleidescape and chill anyone? P.S Shout out to Circle Automation for hooking us up.