Streaming movies are very popular, but the video and audio quality is inconsistent between the services.
Physical media (DVD, Blu-ray, UHD Blu-ray) provide a better quality viewing experience and another advantage is that once you buy it, the contents of the disc cannot be changed. However, these discs can take up a lot of shelf space, and you may not want to purchase a physical on-disc copy of every movie you want to watch.
One solution that provides the convenience of streaming and the benefits of physical disc quality and ownership is to download movies and store them on a home media server.
One company that offers this option is Kaleidescape.
The Kaleidescape system offers several server and movie player products that work in conjunction with an online store where you can rent or purchase movies (prices vary) in DVD, Blu-ray, or UHD Blu-ray video quality (including HDR), as well as with access to advanced audio (Dolby Atmos / DTS: X) and access to all the special features you might find on disc versions.
The Kaleidescape Film Store offers over 12,000 movie titles for purchase and over 8,000 for rent in DVD or Blu-ray quality. Kaleidescape also offers a growing number of movies in 4K UHD (over 400 at this point).
To note: Kaleidescape’s proprietary operating system enables its movie servers to provide the advanced content protection required by movie studios. This means that you cannot make copies of your movie downloads, but you can share them over your home network.
The Terra Compact
The latest entry in the Kaleidescape product offerings was announced at CES 2022, the Compact Terra 6TB Movie Server.
The Compact Terra is where you download and store your movies, but to play them you need a compatible player, such as the Kaleidescape Strato C. The Strato C accesses the movies stored on the Compact Terra, through your home network. No physical connection between the Terra and the Strato C is required (and no direct physical connection between the two is provided).
The combined system delivers lossless multi-channel audio and 4K Ultra HD (UHD) video, with an efficient video compression solution using 4 to 5 times the video bit rate of competitive digital video services.
Characteristics of Terra Compact
The 6TB version of the Compact Terra stores up to 100 4K Ultra HD movies, 160 Blu-ray quality movies or 900 DVD quality movies
The Compact Terra is also available with 12TB or 18TB of storage.
- 12TB configuration stores up to 200 4K Ultra HD movies, 325 Blu-ray quality movies, or 1,800 DVD quality movies
- 18TB configuration stores up to 300 4K Ultra HD movies, 490 Bluray-quality movies, or 2,700 DVD-quality movies
Point: Up to 4 Compact Terra Movie Servers can be linked together for extended storage.
Maximum download rate for movie storage: 800 Mbps. Depending on your broadband speed, this will determine the time it will take to download a movie to the Compact Terra. For example, at 800 Mbps, it takes less than 15 minutes to download a 4K UHD movie.
- Provide 4K Ultra HD (or 4K HDR) movies simultaneously for playback in up to 5 viewing areas.
- Provide 4K Ultra HD (or 4K HDR) movies simultaneously for playback in up to 8 viewing areas.
- Provide DVD quality movies simultaneously for playback up to 20 viewing areas.
To note: each zone requires its own movie player, such as the Strato C described below.
Strato C movie player
While movies are downloaded and stored on the Compact Terra 6TB, the Strato C offers convenient playback offering two HDMI outputs (one for video with audio and another for audio only. As well as optical digital audio outputs and digital coaxial if those options are needed.
The Strato C movie player offers an immersive home theater experience, with better audio and video playback quality than most commercial theaters. Strato C is 4K Ultra HD compatible and includes access to HDR and advanced surround sound formats such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, DTS: X and DTS-HD Master Audio.
Strato C plays back movies from a Terra with bit rates up to 100 Mbps and frame rates up to 60 fps.
Kaleidescape mobile app
To facilitate the use of the Kaleidescape system, a mobile application is available for iOS and Android devices. The mobile application allows you to:
- Browse the Kaleidescape Film Library.
- Buy a movie even if you’re not at home and even start the download process so you can watch it when you get home.
- Control the video player using the app as a remote.
- Receive important information such as movie recommendations or an alert that your system needs service.
Availability and prices
The compact Terra 6TB Kaleidescape Movie Server is initially offered as a bundle with the Strato C Movie Player at a special price of $ 7,995 through March 31, 2022, through authorized Kaleidescape resellers. It is their cheapest system.
To note: If you opt for the Compact Terra with 12 or 18 TB of storage, the price will be higher.
Premium: If you think 18TB of storage still isn’t enough, also check out our article on the Kaleidescape Terra 72TB Movie Server released earlier in 2021.