Kaleidescape Simplifies Disc-to-Digital Conversion

For eight months, I've had a Kaleidescape Strato-C and 48TB Terra server in my system and the user experience has been outstanding. At the time my initial review posted many readers argued that the system offered poor value compared to ripping discs onto local storage solutions and playing them through an Nvidia Shield or similar front-end device.

Like many things in life, DIY is a double-edged sword. The DIY route will save you money, but some people don’t want the hassle or have the time to invest in learning how to do it on their own and would rather just plunk down their credit card and buy a plug-and-play solution. A fitting analogy is the choice between paying for an oil change service and performing it oneself; different individuals have different preferences.

In defense of Kaleidescape, they make no claims to be a bargain. Rather, they target a high-end clientele seeking premium products without considering the price. However, even these customers appreciate a good deal, which is where Kaleidescape's recent "Disc-to-Digital" program comes into play.

Previously, Kaleidescape offered a similar program with their discontinued Alto player, which is now difficult to find on the used market. However, with the new kOS 10.14.0 update, users no longer require an Alto player to convert physical discs into digital copies. By purchasing an external Blu-ray disc drive, customers can catalog their collections (DVD and Blu-ray only) and obtain discounted digital versions from the Kaleidescape Movie Store—often in 4K resolution!

The approved drives range in price from $125 up to $240 and include the following:

Pioneer BDR-X13UBK
OWC Mercury Pro x16 Blu-ray
Buffalo BRXL-16U3

To convert your collection, simply connect the drive to your Strato player via USB and power both devices on. The Strato then enters "Recognition Mode," indicated by the front logo blinking three times. Insert a disc into the Blu-ray drive, and the Strato starts cataloging it—usually within 10 seconds for DVDs and 15 seconds for Blu-rays. After completion, the disc ejects, and the Strato reverts to "Recognition Mode."

I spent an hour cataloging 55 discs from my physical library, including both Blu-ray and DVD titles. I included DVDs to check their availability in the Movie Store, such as The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over. Of the 55 discs, 44 had upgrade options; unfortunately, some older DVD concert discs, like The Eagles' title, did not. The price to upgrade the catalog discs are all over the map depending on the studio and the resolution available. For example, Star Trek (2009) is a bargain with a cost of $3.14 for Blu-ray and $4.92 for HDR versus $14.99 if you were to purchase it on its own.

Sadly, some studios, like Disney, offer little discount at all. Star Wars: A New Hope in 4K is $19.99 and the Disc-to-Digital price is $17.47—no thanks. The same can be said of all of my cataloged concert videos. For example, the 1080p version of The Eagles Farewell 1 Tour: Live from Melbourne is $19.99 with the Disc-to-Digital price coming in at $16.53. I’ll keep these more expensive options in the Digital Offers section of the Store in hopes there’s a more wallet-friendly price in the future.

The Disc-to-Digital program is a great addition to the Kaleidescape ecosystem. Adding an external Blu-ray drive is relatively cheap and the process of converting discs is simple and easy. I purchased 13 upgrades for approximately $60, adding titles from my physical collection to my digital library. I plan to add more once my Xfinity data cap resets next month. If your ISP has a similar cap, be sure to keep an eye on it when converting discs because 4K downloads generally exceed 60GB each and it doesn’t take long to run out of data.

Billy's picture

If you physically have purchased a copy, then you should be entitled to a digital copy that makes Hollywood happy on your snootie player. If they don't want people ripping on their own with easily available open source software (free BTW) that has no copy protections on it, then they need to stop nickel and diming the public. Of course, wealthy people could care less, and that is the biggest portion of their business model.

HDTV1080P's picture

While I think its great that Kaleidescape system allows a USB connected BD-ROM drive that allows the customers to receive a discount on purchasing a digital download version of the movie that is the same quality as the 4K Blu-ray and regular Blu-ray version. However the problem is while the Kaleidescape system verifies that one is inserting a movie on 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD, the system does not know where that optical disc came from. One could rent a whole bunch of Blu-rays from their local REDBOX or Netflix unlimited Blu-ray by mail rental program and stick the optical disc in the Kaleidescape system, and they would receive a deeply discounted Kaleidescape download version of the movie. Since there is no more rental discs being created and all rented optical media is exactly the same as the retail version, this allows consumers to download the 4K Blu-ray for $4.92 or $3.14 for Blu-ray instead of being charged the full price of $14.99. While it most likely is unethical to insert a rental disc in a Kaleidescape, that is one flaw in the security of the system to not being able to determine if the optical disc is borrowed from a friend, rental disc, or a disc from ones own collection. The Kaleidescape system would need to be able to read the serial number on the optical disc and match it against a database to make sure that disc was never already converted by another Kaleidescape owner. Without the ability to read a serial number on the disc, one could let 1,000 Kaleidescape owners borrow the exact same optical disc and load it in their system.

Also if one decides to sale their 4K Blu-ray or Blu-ray physical media on EBAY or other website, one still gets to keep the 4K Blu-ray image on the Kaleidescape system hard drive server.

Billy's picture

If you can afford a K system, you wouldn't be playing those type of games. Beyond that, Hollywood can only do so much to protect their goods, so personal integrity must come into play. Perhaps if Hollywood would try a different business model, say, make things affordable. That would go along way. Come on guys, sell in large volumes at a low price, makes the same profits as a large price selling fewer units. Would make a lot of people happy too.