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Kaleidescape Refuses to ‘Cave to DVD CCA’ on Movie Servers

With M700, Kaleidescape continues to store, stream DVDs as usual, despite legal threats from DVD CCA; Blu-ray streaming abides by AACS licensing agreements.

Kaleidescape M700 Disc Vault abides by DVD and Blu-ray licensing agreements, according to the manufacturer.

Kaleidescape, maker of high-end movie servers for the home, is now shipping the nifty new M700 Disc Vault for storing and streaming up to 320 Blu-ray and DVD discs.

The unit should easily pass muster with the Blu-ray copy protection police, but does not address the concerns of the DVD CCA (Copy Control Association), which licenses decryption software for plain old DVDs.

Kaleidescape has battled the DVD CCA since 2005, when the organization sued the manufacturer for breach of contract, claiming its licensing agreement expressly prohibits the ripping (copying, archiving … whatever you call it) of DVDs.

Kaleidescape has maintained all along that the licensing agreement says no such thing, so the company is treating DVD copying like it always has – in an elegant fashion that is painless for the consumer.

The new M700 Disc Vault (like its predecessors) allows users to copy Blu-ray and DVD discs to a Kaleidescape server, and then stream the content to client devices connected to multiple displays.

RELATED: DVD Ripping: The Latest on the Legal Front

As usual, consumers can remove the physical DVDs from the M700 carousel and still play the stored movies through any Kaleidescape media player on the network. It’s the same approach that spawned the DVD CCA lawsuit six years ago, when it held Kaleidescape up as an example of its DRM machismo.

Kaleidescape isn’t deterred.

“We don’t want to take away any freedoms from consumers any more than we’re required to do,” says Tom Barnett, senior director of marketing for Kaleidescape.

Blu-rays are a different matter, with copy protection clearly articulated by the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Adminstrator (AACSLA).

Barnett explains that the AACSLA allows licensees to enable Blu-ray copying, as long as there is some authorization mechanism for playback.

Kaleidescape obliges with the M700 (and predecessor Blu-ray streaming products), which requires that a physical disc be present in the carousel to stream a movie stored on the server.

So why not just appease the DVD CCA and take the same approach for DVDs?

“That is a path we considered – to just cave to the DVD CCA,” Barnett tells CE Pro, “but we think it’s a raw deal for the consumer."

Kaleidescape and the DVD CCA will meet up again on Nov. 14, 2011, in Santa Clara County, Calif. for a second trial.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Video · Digital Media · Media Servers · Legal · Kaleidescape · Dvd Cca · Drm · 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. [More by Julie Jacobson]

26 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by John Sciacca  on  07/20  at  12:06 PM

Hey, Julie. If your readers are interested, I got an exclusive hands-on look at the M700 prior to release. Here is the link to my full review of the Vault in action:

John “Boys Club Forever!” Sciacca

Posted by zubuman  on  07/20  at  01:49 PM

simply put, Kaleidescape is dead. They have failed to change and adapt and their dinosaur business model is primarily obsolete. How much longer do you think they will be around? It will be like the VHS-C machines or beta max that some of our clients still have in their systems in a few years!

Posted by Geoff Beale  on  07/20  at  02:05 PM

Up until very recently I would have agreed with zubuman. However, some new developments that seem to be bringing us streaming and downloadable content (finally) may keep it a viable option for clients that want ease of use and the best video resolution. If they don’t deliver on that then they’re dead.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/20  at  02:06 PM

Good review, John.

Posted by zubuman  on  07/20  at  02:13 PM

Geoff, don’t you think it is a tad bit too late for them to try to do this. They should have done that 3 years ago. 5 years ago, they had the best interface around. They simply could have become the next apple tv, they refused to budge and change. Look at Vudu, they realized quickly that the custom market was not the way they could reach their audience. Then they went to Best Buy, when that didn’t work, they scrapped the hardware and become a software company and then they blew up and got bought out by Wallmart and they are incorporated in every device that you own!
When someone can buy a $100 apple tv or bluray that meets their needs and what they want, why would they want kaleidescape. Have you been able to sell any Kaleidescapes lately?

Posted by zubuman  on  07/20  at  02:16 PM

By the way, I was a former Kaleidescape dealer. So don’t think that I am just bashing them for no good reason. They had a really good thing, and because of their stubbornness and inability to get out of their tunnel vision, they blew their opportunity. It’s a shame because it WAS a great product!

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/20  at  02:19 PM

Actually, I was kind of thinking that with all the mess made by streaming content providers, we just may see a return to the dedicated media server. Go figure.

Posted by Rich Fregosa  on  07/20  at  03:31 PM

+1 in agreement with Julie - The streaming options are still in their infancy, and options aren’t really all that plentiful or user friendly (ever try interfacing an Apple TV as an “elegant” solution in an integrated system?)

Where Kaleidescape continues to maximize it’s niche is as a repository for someone’s existing collection that is accessed with regularity. Blu-Ray and the M Series players are a natural and necessary evolution - if there were a streaming solution that was of sufficient quality and *reliable* they would have used it.

1.  Kaleidescape is a “best of breed” manufacturer and much like similar manufacturers (Krell, Meridian, and a host of others) it is primarily targeted at clients who are looking for “bit for bit” playback of the original media. You can’t in any way infer that the current crop of streaming devices approaches that, they’re reasonable facsimiles but they are not close to the performance quality of the Kscape ecosystem

2. Kaleidescape has always positioned itself to be part of a greater whole particularly within the operation umbrella of an Overlay Control System, these are also systems that the goal is reliability over convenience - An Apple TV or Roku or Vudu box has a lower front end cost but as an example, Netflix has issued three “apologies” to me in the past 3 months because of service outages.

From a sales perspective, Kaleidescape has been far from a dead product for me, the Kid’s Remote and Kid’s Interface is a perfect example of them “getting it” towards creating value for the investment in the ecosystem. I personally have an Escient DVD Jukebox System, Gen 1 Apple TV with 100 Kids Movies and a Kscape System care to guess which one my kids and wife use?

Will Kaleidescpape have to adapt in the future, probably, but only when they can deliver results that work the way people expect. Too often especially in the CE Industry we succumb to fears of having to sell low cost solutions and just “deal with” a sub par experience. I’m not happy about the Vault, I wish we could operate without it but you can’t blame Kaleidescape, blame the Studios and their lawyers - the reason why this unit had to be built was to meet legal obligations not technological hurdles.

I don’t see my system being obsolete anytime in the near future, unless I plan on settling for low res, non close captioned, intermittent playback of movies I never wanted to watch in the first place.

Posted by Mike  on  07/20  at  03:52 PM

I do think K’scape goes full circle. The best user interface ever. Nothing even comes close if you want to own the media and play it back with total control.  Streaming may never get the details K’scape starts with.

Posted by joel degray  on  07/20  at  04:28 PM

Here’s how it goes-

The Studios renegotiate their fees because DVD sales are down and NetFlix is making too much money. They (studios) hold back titles / catalogues. The Cable Companies throttle back bandwidth and raise rates, giving preferential treatment to their new streaming services. The cloud is a mess for another 5 years and those of you who drank the KoolAid (sorry- Julie included) get to back pedal because they didn’t remember how things really work and were all to happy to jump on the bandwagon of early adopters- BTW, Stop listening to what the teens and young crowd have to say- they are clueless and believe everything just works immediately, all nice and buttery smooth.

Posted by John Sciacca  on  07/20  at  04:31 PM

Dangerous to bad-talk Julie. Dangerous indeed….

Posted by joel degray  on  07/20  at  04:32 PM

What do you use for a collection of 1K~3K DVDs?? Right- It’s Just Kaleidescape and ReQuest. In the mean time, those of you who agreed with your clients instead of educating them can ask them to get their disks out unless you told them to get rid of them to save space…

Posted by zubuman  on  07/20  at  04:46 PM

The teens and the young crowd are the next generation of technology consumers. As you say “they believe that everything works immediately” and things are moving in that direction. They can get netflix from anywhere on any device and it just works. No programming or complicated setup required. THAT IS WHAT MAKES NETFLIX AND OTHERS SUCCESSFUL.
A repeatable model that addresses the needs and wants of the consumer.
The cloud is the way and is the future. I do agree that it will get better and services will consolidate but there is no going back. The # of subscribers that netflix, pandora and other streaming services have speaks to how mainstream these services have gotten.

Posted by zubuman  on  07/20  at  04:51 PM

Also you guys speak of quality. This is the same discussion when CDs were around and MP3s came out. Yes there are the select few that want to have the better resolution, but convenience is the key as we have seen from the trends that are set from itunes, pandora and other. Majority of consumers, I am not talking about the few “geeky” clients and other people that we know are satisfied with the service and quality delivered with MP3s, netflix and other.
We have to stop pushing our goals on to the consumer.

Posted by Rich Fregosa  on  07/20  at  05:03 PM

Why the need for an either/or scenario?

What every generation wants is choice. Kaleidescape will continue to succeed for simple reasons: subtlety and nuance are traits that develop once you’re first exposed to anything.

Just because I found cheap beer as I entered legal drinking age doesn’t mean I enjoy it 20 years later - my tastes developed and changed over time as did my appreciation.

When I first bought a car I bought the cheapest one I could afford to get from point A to Point B, not because I wanted to enjoy the simple act of driving.

These are pretty rudimentary analogies to push across my point, entertainment systems and the CE Industry in the fact that they provide no inherent social value we provide entertainment, tech is not entertainment it’s just the delivery device.

I’m based out of the Silicon Valley, tech-head Mecca and I personally enjoy the educaction process of showing the “kids” the visceral and emotional enjoyment of music and cinema systems not because I’m set in my ways or they don’t know any better - often they just never had someone provide a value proposition.

Netflix and Hulu and Apple TV may cure my quick fix cravings and I think they should be sold into systems and presented for those needs. The Kscape experience is a completely different animal

Faster and cheaper are great options - but the short term thinking route is to fixate on that. Thats the recipe for a one time sale, not a lifetime client.

written on my iPad - BTW smile

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