Next Generation Smart Home Theater
March 27, 2022
Debbie and I have been going through a checklist of sorts on a variety of new home topics ranging from light fixtures to artwork we’ll display. Regarding artwork, Debbie’s been busy inventorying what I’d have to admit is a pretty broad collection we’ve acquired over the years — including many of my Grandmother’s water color paintings.
In digging through our ‘stuff’ we came across a couple boxes of DVDs and Blu-Rays — mostly kids movies and super hero stuff. How many many of you have boxes, drawers or shelves full of these? It made me start to think again about our media server plans and storing all of these same sort of movies digitally on our network in the new house. This will accomplish a number of goals, including:
- Eliminating the need to store discs
- Eliminating the need for DVD/Blu-Ray players
- Better digital quality in playback
Additionally the media server will give me a place to store other videos and still images of family trips, Holidays, birthday parties, etc. Some of the stills, along with digital copies of my Grandmother’s paintings, we’ll use as source material for the screen savers on the TVs in the new house that will look like framed art or family photos when the TVs are inactive.
To accomplish this I’ve been looking at a variety of options from a company called Kaleidescape. I like Kaleidescape as they offer products in a wide array of storage sizes to meet a wide range of customer needs as well as 4K digital content to purchase. I don’t know how many movies or shows I’d actually purchase with the variety of streaming services I subscribe to but it’s nice to have as an option.
The Kaleidescape compact Terra movie server is available in 6, 12 or 18 terabyte models and supports up to 5 simultaneous 4K playbacks with no loss in quality. It can store up to 300 4K movies with download speeds equivalent to the larger Kaleidescape four-drive Terra servers.
The Terra movie servers give customers an entry level Kaleidescape system with the flexibility to add playback zones and grow their movie collection over time. They can download feature-length 4K movies in as little as 10 minutes on a gigabit internet connection and can instantly play them back. Another great feature is that customers can incrementally increase storage by adding additional servers, such as the Terra 24, Terra 48 or Terra 72, increase download performance, or support additional playback zones.
The Kaleidescape Terra is the foundation of a multi-room Kaleidescape Strato system. A Terra 12 can support any number of Strato C players and serve up to five simultaneous 4K Ultra HD playbacks. Designed with a similar profile to a Strato C movie player, the Terra 12 can be mounted beside a Strato C in a 1U rack space, using a custom rack mount.
Terra 18TB is also an ideal add-on to an existing Strato S, to provide more storage, increase download performance, or support additional playback zones.
The Terra 72 server, when combined with a Strato C movie player, provides lossless multi-channel audio and visually lossless 4K Ultra HD (UHD) video thanks to a superior video compression solution utilizing four to five times the video bit rate of competing digital video services.
The Kaleidescape Terra 72 is the largest 4K movie server Kaleidescape has developed to date, designed specifically for customers looking to move from disc to digital or increase their collection through Kaleidescape’s movie store. The Terra 72 can store nearly 1,200 high fidelity 4K UHD titles available, especially now with HDR, Dolby Atmos and DTS-X formats, delivering faster download speeds and a seamless playback experience for the ultimate movie collector.
The Terra 72 can also download content while supporting playback on multiple Strato players. The foundation for a multi-room Kaleidescape Strato system, the Terra 72 movie server can support any number of Strato C players and serve up to 10 simultaneous 4K UHD playbacks.
The Kaleidescape movie store has the largest collection of 4K titles available and boasts more than 12,000 titles for purchase and more than 8,000 for rent. In addition, they offer nearly 400 4K UHD titles not available on Blu-ray Disc. Kaleidescape’s proprietary kOS operating system enables Terra 72 to provide the advanced content protection required by Hollywood motion picture studios for the highest-fidelity renditions of their movies.
Extremely reliable, the Terra 72 movie server stores high-fidelity movies on an array of enterprise-quality hard drives and is designed to continue operating even if a hard drive fails. When the failed drive is replaced, its movies are automatically restored from the cloud. In addition to storing movies, Terra 72 provides caching, staging, and computing services that improve player performance. The Terra is also available with either 24TB or 48TB capacity, and multiple Terras can be combined for more storage.
From another smart home perspective, Kaleidescape has some interesting partnerships. One smart home vendor most people are familiar with is Lutron. Lutron HomeWorks’ compatible devices can be controlled directly by your Kaleidescape system, delivering the ease and immersion of a commercial cinema experience to your private theater. Direct integration with Lutron HomeWorks’ mood-defining system enhances the elegance and immersion of your experience, creating an environment impossible to achieve with any video streaming service and setting the stage for an unforgettable cinematic experience. I’d imagine there are other smart home integrations on Kaleidescape’s roadmap so stay tuned.
These are not the only solution options but certainly some of the best. This is another one of those vendors to do your homework on as even the entry level solutions tend to be pricey. But for the hard core videophiles out there this may be your platform to run with.
Have you taken a digital approach to your entertainment content? Or still collecting DVDs and Blu-Rays and renting videos from Redbox? What advantages do you see moving to a digital solution?
For our smart home enthusiast friends out there we’d love to hear your thoughts on home theater. Which of the solutions above do you currently use to enhance your entertainment experience? What equipment do you see yourself adding in the future? What are you using that I didn’t cover above?
Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails as we really enjoy hearing from you. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’ Until next week …
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