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ReQuest CEO on $1,200 MediaPlayer, Legality of DVD Servers

Peter Cholnoky discusses new client device for high-performance servers, hints at $2,500 server solution. Concerned about legalities? "Nope. Should I be?"


ReQuest MediaPlayer client ($1,195) extends the company’s F-Series and IMS media servers.

ReQuest is making it more affordable to distribute movies, music, photos and all manner of Internet content throughout the house.

The company’s new MediaPlayer client, expected to ship in June, will retail for “just” $1,195. That may seem like a lot if you’re Media Centers and cheap extenders, but the price is right for a dedicated, high-quality, whole-house media system – which ReQuest is famous for.

The MediaPlayer is better than half the price of ReQuest’s other media extender, the Intelligent Media Client. The IMC has a few key features that the MediaPlayer does not: a DVD drive that lets you play a movie or archive it to a ReQuest server; HDMI and component outputs that can be utilized simultaneously; and the ability to control a Sony Blu-ray changer.

Most rooms of the house won’t need all of that IMC functionality.

The MediaPlayer, on the other hand, “doesn’t have drives, it’s quiet,” ReQuest CEO Peter Cholnoky tells CE Pro. “It’s designed to be hidden – put it in the master bedroom or kid’s room.”

Like the IMC, the MediaPlayer requires a ReQuest server – the F-Series or IMS -- to store content and do the smart stuff like whole-house distribution, metadata management and Internet streaming.

The servers, which start at less than $5,000, also aggregate content from other storage devices on the home network – think 24TB NAS for $8,000 or so.

Besides the user’s own DVD, music and photo collections, the ReQuest line currently supports YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Internet radio, stocks, news and other Internet fare – all presented in a unified interface through the TV or touchscreen from ReQuest or its home-control partners.

Soon, the company plans to introduce Pandora and Amazon UnBox functionality.

While the new rage in content aggregation seems to be some kind of universal search functionality – Crestron is well known for the WorldSearch feature on its ADMS server – ReQuest does not intend to implement such a feature.

“We tabled that,” says Cholnoky. “The more we talk to people, the more it seems they don’t want it.”

Instead, he explains, “We’re trying to integrate all of these third-party data repositories – they all have their own GUIs [graphical user interfaces] – into one standard, familiar interface.”

But Is It Legal?

What about the fact that Kaleidescape is embroiled in a lawsuit concerning DVD copying, and that Real Networks lost its RealDVD ripping case in the courts? Is Cholnoky concerned that ReQuest may be the next target?

“Nope,” he says. “Should I be?”

Like Kaleidescape, ReQuest has a license from the DVD CCA – a plaintiff in both the Kaleidescape and Real cases – to play DVDs.

“We pay a license fee for every single disc player,” Cholnoky says. “We’re trying very hard to work with everyone.”

Kaleidescape recently announced a new Blu-ray copy system that requires the physical disc to be in the tray to play, even if the movie has already been copied to the server.

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 · Digital Media · Media Servers · Kaleidescape · Media Server · Dvd Ripping · Dvd Cca · Request · Media Player · · 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]

13 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Innovation  on  05/25  at  02:00 PM

Looks like ReQuest has one of the better solutions and understanding of this market. It looks like they know how to appeal to both the high end and techy customers.

They don’t overcharge for storage either; 24TB at $8K is the right price.

Good job Request.

Posted by jbrown  on  05/25  at  04:14 PM

@ Innovation ... ReQuest isn’t selling the 24TB NAS for $8k. They just point you towards another vendor (NetGear) and you buy it at NewEgg or Amazon or TigerDirect or wherever. It’s actually $8,999 by the way and you won’t get 24TB if configured properly, more like 18-20 with parity and a hot spare.

So if it doesn’t work, they don’t have to support it. If it crashes and you lose all your data, it’s not their problem. If a hard drive is about to fail, you don’t get a new one shipped to you automagically, you call NewEgg once you realize it’s toast and pray they have one in stock that you hopefully get before a 2nd one dies.

I am definitely not bashing, this is a great idea and looks like a really good deal, but there’s no such thing as a free lunch. I believe we have one of these systems sold (with a more tame 8TB NAS for $2,999 which is really only 6TB when configured for RAID 5) and hopefully it is as reliable as the rest of our Request installs have been.

Posted by joel degray  on  05/25  at  04:42 PM

Or you could try the LaCie 12Big (scalable from 6~24TB and stackable) w/ concierge service and receive the spare w/ your initial order and advance replacement for the remainder of the 3 year warranty, it even sends the e-mail report / request- available @ Terra-SAN. This NAS can also be a SAN, run single or multiple arrays in multiple configs including SATA or SAS! It has a rapid sync copy over feature which makes 2nd or 3rd home replications a snap- and that’s important when you are talking this much data. I’ll discuss your design, help you engineer a solution and even load your content.

Peter, I can’t wait for the opportunity to try one, Best- JD

Posted by jbrown  on  05/25  at  04:55 PM

@ joel, the 5big is on the supported device list, the 12big is not, though I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. But if it does work, a 24TB 12big is $11-12k so you are paying 30% more for those features I mentioned (hence the no free lunch). Definitely worthwhile, but all these guys complaining about the price of storage never seem to “get it”.

Posted by joel degray  on  05/25  at  05:17 PM

@jbrown, I didn’t mean to sound in disagreement w/ your points. I was just offering another item for the menu.

Posted by Innovation  on  05/26  at  09:58 AM

Some companies charge an absurd $15K for a 14Tb NAS which is nothing more than an off-the-shelf product re-branded by them. Thats where integrators should be irritated by storage costs.

Posted by joel degray  on  05/26  at  10:09 AM

which “$15K for a 14Tb NAS ” are you speeking of?

and, what “24TB at $8K” product are you referring to?

Posted by jbrown  on  05/26  at  10:19 AM

Yes, but those companies must provide dealer support for that re-branded product as well as profit margin for their dealers who re-sell it and are liable to support the client. The support is not free, and for some dealers without competent IT personnel on staff, that vendor assistance is invaluable.

All ReQuest has done is side-stepped the issue. So for competent dealers, this is a great idea. For the other dealers, they will struggle with it and likely wind up losing money because they just buy the piece on NewEgg and sell it to the client for minimal markup and get hosed if it breaks or they can’t figure out the proper configuration. I’m sure there are plenty of them out there set up for RAID 0 and as soon as one drive fails, they’re fooked, the client loses all of their data and is really upset.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  05/26  at  10:20 AM

I think we can all agree that it’s nice to have options, whether you go for super-cheap NASs configured with or without RAID, or specialty products with fail-safe backups, diagnostic tools, etc.

Posted by joel degray  on  05/26  at  10:57 AM


I did not want to buy them, I wanted to understand the performance characteristics. This needs to be brought out to dealers such as @innovation.

Not all companies excel in this area and there is a part of this which goes beyond specs and only experience can guide you past that. It seems as though you are well prepared, now let’s share what we know.

Posted by jbrown  on  05/26  at  11:31 AM

Joel, my previous post was directed at Innovation, sorry for not clarifying.

I am assuming the 24 TB NAS drive referenced in the article is the $8,999 NetGear ReadyNAS 3200 since that is supported by ReQuest.

I am not sure which $15k 14TB NAS Innovation is talking about, but I think it might be Envive, which is re-branding (and pre-configuring and supporting) the QNAP brand of NAS Drives, which are a very good product, but taht particular model would cost about $6,900 from Newegg with 8 high-quality 2TB drives. But let’s remember folks, manufacturers MUST charge enough to stay in business, so if you don’t like it, buy something else.

Posted by Nick Carter  on  05/26  at  04:18 PM

Congratulations Peter and my friend Andy Lopez at ReQuest for quietly innovating and thriving while others have perished.  Another cool solution from a great company that’s been selling servers now for 10-years into the CEDIA channel.  It’s nice to read about ReQuest every once in a while!
Nick Carter
Former CEDIA guy.
Director of Sales & Marketing
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Kaleidescapejoke  on  05/31  at  04:13 PM

Kaleidescape is a joke of a company and their 1000% markups like the rest of high end audio/video do not cut it anymore.

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