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Kaleidescape Brings DRM to Blu-ray Copying

New M-Class players let users copy Blu-ray discs onto Kaleidescape media server, but the disc must be in the tray in order to play it.


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Loaded into a Kaleidescape server via an M500 player, a Blu-ray disc is bookmarked and ready to play from the hard drive ... as long as the disc is in the tray.

For seven years, dealers have recognized Kaleidescape as having the most reliable multiroom movie server in the business. But they’ve been twiddling their thumbs while the manufacturer developed a solution for Blu-ray storage.

Integrators and their wealthy clients will finally get what they wished for … sort of.

Two new M-Class players (M500, M300), which will ship May 18, will let users add Blu-ray discs to a Kaleidescape movie library and play them throughout the house – with one major caveat: The physical disc must be in the DVD tray.

That DRM Thing


DVD copying is a sticky business. Real Networks lost a lawsuit last year for its RealDVD movie management software. And Kaleidescape has been battling the DVD CCA (Copy Control Association) since 2004. The DVD CCA, which licenses the Content Scrambling System for decrypting DVDs, maintains it is a violation of its licensing agreement to copy DVDs, even if the CSS remains intact.

In light of the murky DRM waters – and especially Kaleidescape’s highly publicized legal struggles – the industry has wondered if the company would even touch Blu-ray.

They’re touching it, but that’s about all for now.

The new M500 can copy Blu-ray discs onto a legacy Kaleidescape server. The Blu-rays, along with all of the metadata, appear in the standard Kaleidescape library.

“Just like DVDs, the Blu-rays are a pristine bit-for-bit copy,” says Linus Wong, director of product marketing.

In order to play a Blu-ray title, the physical disc must be in an M500 DVD tray. At least you can place it in any tray on the network. And, as Wong says, “Most installs would have a few M500 players.”

The system then verifies that the user actually owns the disc and didn’t simply rip it from a rental.

“One of the studios’ main concerns is that they’re worried about rentals – that someone going to rent a movie and copy it,” says Wong. “In our implementation, we require that a physical disc for Blu-ray be present when you play a movie.”

He admits, “It’s a little less convenient, but it’s an interim inconvenience.”

It’s just a short-term fix because Kaleidescape plans to introduce a multidisc changer next year. Users can load (and copy) their entire movie collection, and the server will validate that a Blu-ray disc is present before it plays. As before, standard DVDs can be copied and played without the extra measure of DRM.

So Why Bother?


The inconvenience notwithstanding, the M Series offers plenty of value to Blu-ray-loving consumers.

“It’s actually nice to even see on the [TV] screen what Blu-ray discs there are,” says Kaleidescape CEO Michael Malcolm. He notes that users can even sort their libraries by Blu-ray titles.

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The complete library, including Blu-rays and DVDs ... or search only Blu-ray movies.






DVD Ripping: The Whole Picture
 
Kaleidescape vs. DVD CCA: Judge Rules Against Movie Servers
Tentative ruling in landmark DVD-copying case says Kaleidescape knew its movie servers might be in violation of DVD CCA licensing agreement that prohibits copying of DVDs.
DVD Ripping: The Latest on the Legal Front
This compilation of articles on the legality of DVD ripping, and related fair-use cases, will be updated continuously.
Understanding the Kaleidescape, RealDVD Cases
What have the courts really decided on DVD copying, and what are the implications for the future? We debunk the myths about the the two lawsuits and clarify the current legal state of DVD ripping.
Is DVD 'Ripping' the Same as 'Archiving?'
Is the term "ripping" generally understood as the "illegal" form of copying a disk? Likewise, is "archiving" known as the bit-for-bit "legal" way of doing it?
Can You Be Sued for Helping Clients Rip DVDs?
EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann explains some of the legal issues involved in selling and installing products that enable users to copy DVDs.
Is Your DVD Server Legal? Manufacturers Say Yes!
Developers of movie-ripping products insist their products are legal. Here's how the manufacturers justify their solutions.
Copy Protection Group Sues Kaleidescape (2005)
Kaleidescape has a license from the DVD CCA to employ CSS decoding in its media servers, which it does. Now, DVD CCA is suing Kaleidescape for breach of contract.
Would Studios Rather We Buy DVD Ripping Products Offshore?
As studios work to quash legitimate products like RealDVD, offshore providers of DVD ripping software -- like AnyDVD developer SlySoft -- are reaping the rewards.
Industry Insider: DVD CCA Is an Innovation-Stifling Cartel (2005)
The DVD Copyright Control Association (DVD CCA) is a bunch of bullies. The organization manages to coerce all manufacturers of DVD players to sign away their rights to innovation.
 



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Article Topics

News · Product News · Video · Blu-ray · Media Servers · Digital Rights · Digital Media · Movie Servers · Kaleidescape · Blu-ray · Dvd Cca · Drm · M500 · M300 · M-class · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

44 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Flip  on  05/11  at  10:03 AM

Im sorry, but this is a an utterly laughable solution.

Notwitstanding the “temporary” angle, are we then to understand that the sole purpose of then releasing a 100 disc changer or vault or whatever the want to call it to act as a glorified bookshelf? Nothing more than a placed to put a disc so that it can check that the client owns it??

So what will these 100 disc Changers cost each? Given that they will be K branded, I am going to guess $ 4,500??

So this then is the state of our industry for clients who want a “legal” Bluray solution??

And eyes will roll in 3….2….1

Posted by Paul  on  05/11  at  10:41 AM

@Flip:

I’d say that about sums it up.  However, if you can think of a more elegant and less costly solution to verify ownership of physical media, I’m sure K-scape (and the rest of us)would love to hear about it.

I was expecting some sort of proof of ownership code or something to work with Blu-ray’s managed copy.  The unique code would be included with each physical disc, and you could enter it to upload the disc to your server. While slightly more of a pain than before, there wouldn’t be new hardware to buy.

Of course, a working code still doesn’t guarentee that the owner still owns the media, only that it was purchased in the first place.  Then there is the admin nightmare for code validation, a large number of codes in the wild means hackers can figure out how to crack it, etc etc.

sigh… for want of a legal solution…

Posted by John Donahue  on  05/11  at  10:42 AM

Is it possible to be too fast and too slow at the same time?  K-Scape seems to have figured how to in this case.

While I am happy to finally see a blu-ray product, I am dissapointed that the changer is so far away.  K-Scape clients generally are not going to worry too much about the cost of the changer, but I feel they will be put off by having to put the discs into the tray even htough they have been ripped to the Hard Drives.

It seems they have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort on this band-aid.  Personally, I would much rather of seen them release the players (Sans Ripping) until they get the changer nailed down and provided things like iTunes,  Netflix and VuDu sooner than later.

Posted by YoSappy  on  05/11  at  11:09 AM

Wow!  I am VERY DISAPPOINTED in Kaleidescape (KAL)!  They have CRIED UNCLE before the war is even over!  What a bunch of Big Brother loving, “1984” implementing bureaucrats!  As a FIRST GENERATION KAL owner, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THEIR SYSTEM, even though it cost me WAY TOO MUCH.  However, I WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT PURCHASE ANY TYPE OF HARDWARE, SOFTWARE or FIRMWARE that allows its MANUFACTURER, OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER, TO CHECK ON MY VIDEO LIBRARY or ANYTHING IN IT!!!!!!!!!!  Are they really SERIOUS about this?  If so, it is UNBELIEVABLE, at best, and SHOCKING at worst.  It is real simple, I will just switch off my KALs and use my AppleTVs solely, from now on.  FORGET THE DAMN DISKS, BLU-RAY or DVD!!!  If I want to watch a HD Movie I’ll just download it from iTunes onto my AppleTVs & copy it from there to my iPad or iPod to watch it on the go.  The AppleTV software interface on my TVs is already EXCELLENT so I won’t need to change anything.  Sorry, KAL, it’s been a nice ride; but, FREEDOM is MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN YOUR RIDICULOUS DRM BOWING, COMMUNIST SCANNING & CHECKING METHODS.  If I were you, I WOULD FOCUS ON WINNING THE STUPID COURT CASE INSTEAD OF INSULTING ALL YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH THIS “FREEDOM OF OWNED USE” ROBBING GARBAGE!  Also, THE STUDIOS AND THEIR DRM BOARD IDIOTS HAD BETTER TAKE NOTICE NOW!  I would rather PAY FOR A DOWNLOADED DIGITAL COPY THAT I AM FREE TO MOVE TO ANY OF MY TVs, MY iPad or iPod, than PAY FOR THEIR NO-COPY RESTRICTED BLU-RAYs or DVDs.  STALIN & MAO are both smiling in their graves at this KAL announcement; but, I predict that THE FREE MARKET WILL, VERY SOON, RENDER THESE CONTROL-FREAK COMPANIES BANKRUPT!  It starts, right here, right now, with me!

Posted by JJFan  on  05/11  at  11:28 AM

There are many great minds in the world to solve problems like robots on Mars, cures for cancer, etc., and we just wasted a few of them on a solution for backwards thinking Hollywood studio execs.
Congrats America! We’re circling the technology toilet.

Posted by Flip  on  05/11  at  11:34 AM

@Paul,

Yes I agree. I WISH I could offer another elegant and “legal” solution, but unfortunately I cant. And I know that like me, the rest of you are just as frustrated as hell that WE CANT!!

I didnt really want to say this eariler, but what I think IS REALLY going on here with this very ANTIQUATED approach is really setting up a final last ditch “Hail Mary” Play that K might have to toss.

What I mean is, I really believe that there is MUCH MORE going on behind the scenes legally than the rest of us are privy to right now. And the rash of Server Companies folding up their tents all at once lately leads me to believe this.

With all the legal issues hanging over K’s head right now, this may not really be a BLURAY solution at all, but a “solution” that they may end up having to offer if they LOSE the upcoming legal battles with respect to DRM and ripping PERIOD!

Call me nuts, but crazier things have happened. What if some crack pot judge totally rules AGAINST K. in the near future??

A changer based solution may end up being the ONLY LEGAL solution that even allows them to use REGULAR DVD’s!!!

I mean, isnt that what the current cases still open against K. are all about? That Hollywood doesn’t even want people to be able to RIP the REGULAR DVD’s that they own??

Posted by stevecoon  on  05/11  at  11:42 AM

I heard a suggestion years ago that seemed like a great solution to me - a bar code scanner attached the Kscape system.  When the client purchased a new Blu-ray, he would put the disc in the Kscape tray to import it.  Then while it was being imported, he’d scan the bar code that only exists on the cover of the movie case. 

This would eliminate the ability to copy discs from Netflix, Blockbuster etc.  A client could still conceivably copy a neighbor’s movie, but it would kill the much larger problem of assembly line style importation with a Netflix plan.

Posted by Johnny  on  05/11  at  11:56 AM

Guys,

If you want to be able to play back BDs from a server, just buy one from the guys that make servers that will let you do it (S1Digital, Niveus, VB, etc) Simple! No need to get your knickers in a knot about K if they want to do it this way…

Posted by sean  on  05/11  at  12:04 PM

Wow!  This has got to be the best way for hackers to keep doing what they are doing.  I really like the idea of the copy code.  I think that it is ridiculous to say that the server needs a disc in the tray.  After all the legal battling with the gloves on, this is what was put on the table?  To even say that this is a viable temporary solution is hilarious.  I give up on disc media.  The sooner we get to ownership over the internet and just stream from a remote server in cyberspace the better.

Posted by jb1013  on  05/11  at  12:22 PM

Totally useless and pointless.

Posted by Joe  on  05/11  at  12:30 PM

Is this some kind of a joke?  Why would anyone (besides those with more money than brains) want to go with this solution.  And their changer won’t be out until 2011?  You can use a Dune player and NAS setup running My Movies TODAY for a fraction of the cost of K-Scape, and have a very elegant, efficient interface.  K-Scape is really behind the times.

Posted by Sean  on  05/11  at  12:30 PM

@ Paul, it is my understanding that these laws are across the board.  If these other server companies haven’t been hit with a lawsuit yet, this will set the standard.  Just because they work now does not mean they can keep doing what they are doing.  Where is Escient? GONE!  Legal battles are expensive.

Posted by brandenpro  on  05/11  at  12:34 PM

As for that AppleTV solution mentioned above, what about lossless audio codecs, and what is the bitrate on the streamed 1080p?

A streaming/downloading solution that offers the full blu ray spec is best for us and Hollywood. 

Why would I bother ripping rented blu rays when somebody has already done it for me?  Once China gets their hands on the disks for production they are on torrent sites within hours.  Physical media is the hole not analog.

They would then need to come up with something for people without broadband.

Posted by CanyousayANYDVD  on  05/11  at  12:36 PM

How about Kscape becoming a BD dealer, just like any other retailer?Their discs will be specially encoded from the Movie producers with a unique code that loads into the player and authorizes play within the Kscape environment only.

The downside to Kscape owners is that they have to buy their movies from them, but if done within 10% of the movie retailer, this would be acceptable. Bulk buys would happen or preloaded content available would be possible. Kscape would record and return the disc and declare the owners.

To have the media in the player reminds me of an XBOX360. That hideous arrangement is not going to go over well, even if just temporary. Kscape is just sinking in a sea of technology passing them by. This is just a lifejacket. It won’t protect you from the sharks.

Posted by Mark Coxon  on  05/11  at  01:06 PM

Where is Joel Degray on this one? 

Joel, any insight into this solution?  I know you might like it as you can sell more drive space to redundantly store info that is already stored on a disc, that has to be in the tray to play in the first place.

Again, I resubmit my business proposition to K-Scape that they become a GUI and Media Management Software company and license their software to people who want to manage their media.  You have no more liability in that sense than does Microsoft when they provide a sortable folder for your your pirated MP3’s and torrents to live in

They have instead just morphed into the Elan of old with their ViaDVDJ and the Sony 777ES DVD Changer.  g! I wonder why that went away. . .

Joel, you can still sell drive space, people need it.  You just can’t sell it all to one company now.  Get the marketing people turning on a B2C strategy.

The studios are doing what CEDIA instructor Rich Green would call disintermediation, getting us as integrators out of the way, to get their digital products and all the associated hardware to manage and play them direct to consumers.  We will buy media as a tiered solution, as we will our broadband, paying more for extra formats and extra bandwidth.

Where’s Cisco at ???  I need to be a Health Presence Dealer smile

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