Kaleidescape’s catalog is massive, with over 13,000 titles and 2,000 TV seasons available to choose from. The amount of 4K content available far exceeds what is currently available of UHD Blu-ray discs. Movies are usually available from Kaleidescape before they are available on disc. Kaleidescape also states they have more 4K movies with lossless audio than anyone else, with studio-quality curation and a personalized cinematic experience. Kaleidescape even watches each movie from beginning to end to verify quality and they often recommended impact scenes to use for picture/audio quality demonstration.
Kaleidescape offers movie rental options for its Strato systems. This is especially beneficial for the Compact Terra 6TB server paired with the Strato C player. Since the Compact Terra 6TB has the smallest amount of storage out of all of the Kaleidescape servers, that means you will not be storing hundreds of 4K movies on it. The Compact Terra 6TB server can store approximately 100 4K movies.
For those of you who prefer renting movies to buying movies, there are over 8,000 titles currently available to rent in the United States. That is a convenient way to discover new content, renting titles you wouldn’t immediately buy, all from the comfort of your home and still in full fidelity. The Compact Terra 6TB is a great solution for users who do rent more movies than they purchase.
Rentals can stay on your system for up to 30-days. Once you’ve started the movie, you’ll have 48 hours to watch it as many times as you want. Even better and pretty exclusive to Kaleidescape, during the 30-day rental period, half the rental price will be credited towards the purchase if you love what you rented.
While the library is vast, the Kaleidescape user interface makes it easy to search, find and purchase your favorite content. Kaleidescape owners can browse the store library from the Strato C player on-screen menu. In addition, the end-user can use a mobile app or their computer browser for more extensive search capabilities to search by studio name, title, and movie/TV genre. You can also search by collections such as American Film Institute (AFI) Top 100 Movies. Lastly, you could also search by “available for rent,” HDR only, UHD or better, Dolby Atmos, or titles rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes®.
HIGH QUALITY / HIGH BANDWIDTH DOWNLOADS
As previously mentioned in Projector Reviews’ Kaleidescape Strato System review, Kaleidescape has worked out distribution deals with all the major movie studios. Originally the studios were fearful of high-quality digital downloads due to the possibility of piracy and unauthorized file sharing. However, Kaleidescape’s proven robust copy protection, anti-piracy and content security provided by their proprietary hardware and kOS operating system made it possible for Hollywood motion picture studios to trust the Strato line of products with their most precious quality content for home entertainment. The benefit for us movie enthusiasts is that we finally get access to a massive library of well-organized digital downloads of the highest quality.
In addition, Blu-ray quality and 4K Ultra HD movies are available with lossless multichannel and object-based audio, including Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X, and DTS-HD Master Audio.
Kaleidescape starts with the authoritative mezzanine video file from the studio. Then using their proprietary methods, Kaleidescape process the file using minimal compression to preserve maximum fidelity. Downloaded 4K Ultra HD and HDR content plays back at up to 100 Mbps with 10-bit color and up to 60 frames per second. As a result, the picture quality easily rivals, and can exceed, that of a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Often the authoritative mezzanine video file from the studio is 10%-40% larger than what can be fit on the 66GB file size of a 4K Blu-ray discs This means the studios or disc manufacturers often have to utilize additional compression to films in order to fit movie on a 66GB disc.
A Kaleidescape Terra Server or Strato S Movie Player is able to download movies directly to your home in full fidelity (because there is no file size constraint for Kaleidescape content), which ensures you’re not missing anything you want to see and hear.
Plus, you’re not dealing with fluctuations in content quality because all the bits are downloaded and stored on your local device, not streamed over the internet. This is especially important if you live in an area where internet service is not very good.
Even if you have ultra-high-speed internet, streaming content is encoded at a much lower bitrate than what is stored on a Kaleidescape. To capture the comparison photo above, we switched between HDMI inputs connected to a popular streaming player and a Kaleidescape Strato S. While it is the same scene displayed on the same projector the difference in quality is noticeable.
It doesn’t matter how incredible the specifications of your 120” 4K HDR projector are if the content you’re feeding it is streaming from a major provider under constrained bandwidth. Kaleidescape ensures you get the full-quality movie every time (and anytime) once it has been downloaded to your system, even if your internet is down.
THE USER INTERFACE
Kaleidescape’s on-screen user interface features a movie cover-art mode. The cover-art mode is presented in 4K Ultra HD resolution and looks beautiful. The tiles rearrange themselves to conveniently show relevant content when hovering over a specific movie or show. For those of you who favor a more traditional way to search, there is also a standard list mode. You can search by cast, director, or genre or browse for titles alphabetically.
Another thing I love about the Kaleidescape is how fast the movie starts once it is selected from the downloaded library. I don't have to wait for a disc to load, wade through several trailers, or waste 15-20 seconds of my life looking at an FBI warning before the movie begins.
The connections on the Kaleidescape Compact Terra 6TB are simple. The Compact Terra 6TB has a gigabit ethernet (1000 Base-T) port and a USB 3.0 port. The USB 3.0 port cannot connect to an external USB drive; it is “reserved” for troubleshooting and diagnostics at the factory.
There are two HDMI outputs on the rear of the Strato C player. One is an HDMI 2.0a output that can send combined audio/video up to 4K Ultra HD HDR and 60 fps to your display and a compatible AV receiver. The second is audio-only HDMI 1.4 output to connect to an older AV receiver that does not support HDMI 2.0b. In addition, there are coaxial and optical digital audio outputs to mate with older audio components. Lastly, the Strato C player has Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Base-T) port. Like the Compact Terra 6TB server, the Strato C player has a USB 3.0 port that cannot be used to connect an external USB drive; it is also “reserved” for troubleshooting and diagnostics at the factory.
A menu system can be accessed from the Strato C player’s on-screen display. The on-screen menu offers options to change time zones, adjust screensaver and standby mode preferences, and much more.
To access the comprehensive video and audio preferences through the Strato C player’s browser interface, you would have to use a separate laptop or mobile device connected to the same network. While you do not need to access this menu during daily operation, it is loaded with a lot of helpful information like HDMI display capability as well as a detailed rundown of the Strato C player video signal output (i.e., resolution, color gamut, frame rate, dynamic range, and chroma).