Kaleidescape Movie & Music Server

the listNearly 3 years have passed since my first encounter with Kaleidescape. It was the first real hard drive-based movie player, and, at $32,000, monstrously expensive.

But the home theater landscape has evolved dramatically since then. Music servers are now in nearly every pocket, and each year another movie server pops up. Yet all of them - yes, even the iPod - lack the sheer brilliance of Kaleidescape's interface. Many are just customized Windows Media Center PCs, and some suffer similar reliability. But not the Kaleidescape Movie & Music Server, whose operating system was custom-built from the ground up.

In the spirit of journalistic integrity, I'll admit that I'm a huge Kaleidescape fan. It was the coolest piece of gear to spend time in my rack, and I still measure all other servers against it. Only the staggering price kept me from becoming an owner. (My wife would have noticed the second-mortgage applications.)

Enter the new "entry-level" 1U server, a kinder, gentler, far less expensive Kaleidescape that now handles music in the same manner as movies. I was excited, to be sure, but wondered what corners might have been cut to slash pricing by half.