Paul with Design Engineering Group discusses emerging Green technologies on a Home Tech segment for the Texas Top Builder tv show in north Texas. These products not only improve a homes energy efficiency but also improve ease of use and overall aesthetics in a residence. Products from Savant Systems, Lutron lighting and shade systems, Nest and others are featured.
Apple has created the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with iOS 8. New features such as complete photo editing for all photos on all devices, adding voice messages to texts, iCloud Photo library, updated Notification features, smarter keyboard, Family sharing of iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases, iCloud Drive and Mac Connected to your iOS devices. Click on the link above for all the details.
If you haven’t heard the new buzz word “4K” yet then you’re about to hear all about it in this post. If you have heard 4k and have been wondering what all this talk is about then you’ve come to the right place. I will try to explain things as simply as possible without filling this post with too much tech jargon that just confuses most of us even more. Currently, the highest resolution that is widely available for consumer use is 1080p or commonly call Full HD. Most of the media content that we watch right now is a step below that in resolutions of 720p or 1080i and commonly call HD or HDTV. While this looks just fine for most viewers compared to what we all had before, content providers are always striving to get the consumer better, faster content. 1080p or Full HD content can be found on Bluray discs, Kaleidescape systems, select Directv Pay per View and movies, select Appletv content, select Netflix content, etc. Simply buying a Bluray disc does not ensure you can view it properly. Having the proper hdmi cables and tv to view the 1080p content is necessary. The Kaleidescape systems we sell have been doing 1080 content forever it seems like. All imported Bluray discs are output in 1080p as well as all your old dvd content is upconverted to 1080p so they look almost as good as you remembered. One thing I have noticed since the flood of high definition content is that when you view an non HD channel or try to watch an old dvd disc it seems horrible to watch. Kaleidescape solves this problem for me, in fact I often pick up old dvd discs when I see them on sale because the Kscape players do such a great job of making them look good. Select 1080p content on Appletv and Netflix type services is a little harder to find. Not all shows and movies are at the 1080p resolution and often the ones that are need to be chosen when purchasing and they often cost more than the standard definition and HD versions. Download times for this content along your internet is also greatly increased with 1080p. If you don’t have blazing fast internet don’t even try to view a 1080p movie. All this being said, we are now looking at 4k taking over as the best of the best. 4k resolution is essentially twice the resolution of 1080p.Simply put, the display will have twice as many pixels in the same area as before meaning the picture will be much sharper and more capable of realistic images. All this sounds great doesn’t it? Well, here’s the skinny. The manufacturers rushed to get the 4k tvs out before the content! It’s true that the 4k tvs do “upscale” all the media content you have now so the shiny new 4k tv you just bought will give you a picture BUT not the true picture you should be getting with 4k content. DEG installed one of the first Sony 4k televisions in the country last year. The Sony XBR-84X900… awesome tv. At a retail price of $25,000 Sony got smart and shipped the tv with it’s own Sony 4k content server. This server was basically just a pc loaded with 15-20 Sony movies. While the picture looked good, it was a royal pain to use and the client never touched it. 6 months later, we got a call from Sony saying they had a new 4k server the FMP-X1 and wanted to install it along with a 4k upgrade to the Sony tv. They sent a tech out and we worked with him to get it installed and a few hours later we had it up and running. The new server is an actual unit that is sold to the public now and once again came loaded with a few movies, the rest are purchased through the online Sony store that the server connects to. It’s still limited to Sony movies and the operation is still a bit of a mess. Sony provided one of their tablets to control the server but I’m still not impressed. I don’t think the client has used the new 4k server now either! The manufacturers producing the new 4k tvs are in my opinion banking on the consumer using built in apps on the tv itself to find 4k content. These “smart” tvs often come loaded with apps such as Youtube and Netflix which both offer some 4k content now. Keep in mind all of this content you find with apps on the tv will have to be downloaded and or streamed to the tv for viewing. Remember what I said about blazing fast internet with 1080p? To sum up, I think 4k content looks absolutely stunning on high quality tvs and projectors like the ones Sony makes. I think 4k IS the future of high quality content and is not going to be a fad like 3d. However, getting that wonderful 4k content into your home and on the screen is the big challenge I see moving forward. It will happen though and those of us early adopters who are struggling to get 4k content will one day forget how hard it was and will look to the future for even a better viewing experience one day. .
Paul Beauregard CTO/Designer Design Engineering Group
Cinema One and the Red Dot Award
We are honored to announce that Cinema One has won the highly coveted Red Dot Award for Best Product Design. The Red Dot Award is one of the world’s most prestigious design awards, given for
aesthetic forms, well thought-out innovations and groundbreaking trends.
Cinema One was designed in collaboration with Whipsaw, an industrial design and engineering consulting firm located in the heart of Silicon Valley. “The goal was to create a device that was fresh, contemporary and exuded a level of sophistication that would stand out among other audio/video components in the living room,” said Cheena Srinivasan, founder and CEO of Kaleidescape. “With Whipsaw’s help, we were able to create a product that not only delivers the highly acclaimed Kaleidescape Experience but also looks good and is super easy to use. It’s a product that people will want to display rather than hide.”
The Cinema One design deliberately rejects the austere black box aesthetic. Wrapped in a sleek aluminum-finished case, it features a white faceplate on which the backlit Kaleidescape logo animates when the system is turned on and when music is playing. Status indicators and control buttons glow from within only when active and recede into the background when not in use.
The product also features a slot-loading BD/DVD drive for a cleaner, more elegant look as compared to more common tray-loading players. Combined with the Kaleidescape Movie Guide, Cinema One delivers the best Blu-ray experience, taking the viewer directly to the start of the feature film in six seconds or less. “Cinema One features a clean, light and graceful design that subtly communicates a sense of refined technology. We strove to make Cinema One the ultimate companion to the brilliant Kaleidescape Experience,” said Dan Harden, CEO and principal designer at Whipsaw.
Kaleidescape will be recognized as a winner of the award at the Red Dot Gala, to be held at the Aalto Theatre in Essen, Germany on July 7.
I am often asked what’s the big deal with Kaleidescape? Why are they so pricey? Can’t I just use a pc or Mac and do the same thing? etc,etc. I saw this article today in Residential Systems by John Sciacca and thought I would share it here because he explains it better than I could.
But almost as soon as the announcement came out, the typical anti-Kaleidescape comments started flooding in—how someone could build their own system for far less money that works just as good as a Kaleidescape.
I’d like to take a few paragraphs to tell you exactly why these other solutions may be media servers, but will never be the same as a Kaleidescape, even the new, $3,995 Cinema One. And before you accuse me of being a fanboy, I’m going to take impartiality off the table and admit that, yes, I am a Kaleidescape fanboy. Having reviewed, sold, and lived with the product in various incarnations for years, they have earned my fanboy status. It’s also one of the few products that continues to get as much use in my home now as the day it was first installed.
I’ve left the comment text complete, poor grammar and all, in italics below.
“I was talking with a buddy last night about [the Cinema One], and he just started to laugh hysterically. He went on to inform me that he had ‘magic software’ that cost him nothing that rips ‘all’ DVDs and Blurays. He said only a fool would pay such a price, and the more I think about it, he may be right.”
The typical “this can be done for way less money!” media server solution is generally built around some kind of Media Center PC running some brand of third-party software that is illegal. (Do your own research on the matter, but I doubt you will find any information saying that breaking the DVD-CCA’s CSS copy protection, which is present on all commercial DVD discs—one of the first steps in making a copy—is legal.) Now you can argue that the Fair Use Act gives you the right to make a backup, and you feel that breaking the disc protection for that purpose is warranted, but technically, it’s illegal. Nonetheless, let’s look past that for a moment. At the end of the day, some kind of PC and third-party software is running the show, and from a reliability standpoint, these don’t hold a candle to a Kaleidescape system. Restarts, reboots, lock-ups, fan noise and lights, and random WTFs?!? are often in play. Kaleidescape, on the other hand, runs on a purpose-built operating system—KOS—that is the closest thing to bulletproof that you will find in the home market. Also, from an integration standpoint, Kaleidescape supports everything from a simple IR-based Harmony remote to the most elaborate automation system from Crestron and all points in-between; no mouse required. Ever.
“$4000 to store a 100 Blu-rays or $8000 to store 200 Blu-rays … this can be done with more storage space, the same functionality and home automation integration at a fraction of the cost. This is not a good product, unless you have money to burn.”
Assuming you get the disc into the server with the correct metadata, you’ll likely be able to play the movie on your homemade server. Congratulations. But you still don’t have anything close to a Kaleidescape system. In fact, merely “playing the movie” is really a small part of what a Kaleidescape does.
First, you get the option to jump directly to the film, skipping any trailers, warnings or menus.
Second, the disc imports in its entirety, so for the times where you want to watch a special feature, or need a foreign language or subtitle track or some other feature of the disc, it’s there.
Third, Kaleidescape bookmarks the most iconic scenes in thousands of movies, letting you enjoy a “highlight reel” from your favorite films. Of course, you can also easily bookmark your own personal favorite scenes if you like, simply by pressing a “start” and “end” button on the remote or app. Along with scenes, Kaleidescape tags songs in tons of concert videos and musicals. Want to jump straight to “Think of Me” from Phantom of the Opera because you saw the stage production the night you got engaged? Kaleidescape has your back, you romantic bastard!
Fourth is the ability to set up as many “collections” as you like, sorting your films into categories like “Oscar Winners” or “Dad’s Favorites” or whatever else you can think of. This also enables the “Child’s Collection,” which can place the system into a kid-friendly mode that allows youngsters of virtually any age to browse and select their favorite content. What do you need to do to take advantage of these features? Simply place the disc in the tray and press the “Import” button; the system automatically does the rest. Add to all of that an amazing iPad control app with integrated Rotten Tomatoes and Common Sense Media reviews, repositioning of subtitles in 2.35 aspect movies, full parental controls by zone, episode naming for TV series, auto selection of preferred favorite audio format, keeping track of paused titles for as long as you want, a full music player with album reviews and artist biographies, and you can see why a “home server” comes up woefully short of being a Kaleidescape.
“I would rather just use Vudu where you can get Blu-ray quality movies too. You can also rent/purchase them.”
While I will agree that Vudu is a terrific service, it comes up way short compared to Kaleidescape in a couple of areas. For one, Vudu offers no way to manage the library of discs that you already own. This is where Kaleidescape started, this is their wheelhouse, and this is where they excel. Admittedly, if your disc collection is next to nothing, then perhaps Kaleidescape isn’t right for you. But beyond just managing your own discs, Kaleidescape now offers the only way to download true Blu-ray quality movies. And as good as Vudu’s HDX is—and it’s the best streaming video quality I’ve experienced—it is not true Blu-ray quality. While the video is quite good, the audio falls noticeably short of Blu-ray’s lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD-Master formats. With a Kaleidescape Blu-ray-quality download, you get identical Blu-ray picture and sound quality along with all of the disc’s special features—something no other company offers. However, far from dissing Vudu, I would say that Vudu can serve as the perfect complement to a Kaleidescape system, offering additional titles, and an option to rent instead of purchase movies.
“The one thing I have not been able to duplicate is the reliability of a Kscape setup and the user experience for my technophile wife and two very young kids. While I’m quite proud of my HTPC, and I think it’s super easy to use, I cannot count the number of phone calls I have gotten that start with ‘There’s something wrong with the stupid media server!’”
While I’m sure the quality varies, many of the media server-based solutions I have experienced often have sketchy video processing. Because they are computers first and video players second, they weren’t designed for first-class video performance, unlike Kaleidescape, which was designed solely to be a movie player and utilizes terrific video processing to deliver excellent Blu-ray and DVD performance. Kaleidescape also has a feature called Cinemascape that enhances performances for users with 2.35:1 screens. Also integral to “the Kaleidescape experience” is the amazing technical support; because the system is registered to an owner and connected to the internet, its “health” is constantly monitored by Kaleidescape who often takes a proactive role in problem solving.
Kaleidescape’s Cinema One player has been many things to movie buffs, but “accessible” isn’t one of them — limited distribution and an emphasis on custom installs has kept it out of reach. The company is widening that scope with a redesigned Cinema One that’s almost as easy to install as an off-the-shelf Blu-ray player. It’s a tad more advanced than that, of course. The Cinema One integrates with most home automation systems, and it stores up to 100 Blu-ray quality movies (including Kaleidescape Store downloads). Viewers who need more storage can attach a second player or the older DV700 Disc Vault. The revamped Cinema One is still expensive at $3,995, but it’s at least easier to buy than its predecessor — Kaleidescape is selling the new media server direct on it’s own online store (see below) or through it’s dealers like Design Engineering Group.
The Cinema One comes in a beautiful form factor that is easy to set up in any family room or existing home theater, and is the company’s first product designed for retail distribution.
Cinema One lets consumers store and instantly access up to 100 Blu-ray or 600 DVD-quality movies in the highest audio and video quality available. With this new form factor and price, the renowned Kaleidescape Experience is no longer limited to just high-end custom installations.
“Magnolia has been demonstrating the Kaleidescape System in the theaters of our design centers for years,” said Bill Beverley, vice president of retail sales, Magnolia Audio/Video. “But until now, Kaleidescape’s products have been installed in large home theaters and whole-home integrated audio/video systems. With Cinema One, we can now offer the same experience in a simple-to-install and easy-to-use movie server to anyone who wants to have a truly theatrical movie experience.”
Cinema One provides a better home theater experience by letting viewers watch their Blu-ray and DVD movies without the delays of previews, menus or ads. Cinema One connects to any home automation system. So when you press Play, the lights go down, the masking is set, and the movie starts instantly, creating a truly theatrical movie experience. And with the unique CinemaScape video-processing mode, Cinema One is the best source devices available for a 2.35 home theater.
A second Cinema One can be added to double the storage capacity and enable viewing of the combined library on a second television. And a three-year standard limited warranty ensures customers can enjoy their movies worry-free.
With Cinema One, viewers can download movies directly from the Kaleidescape Store, which offers movie downloads with the same audio/video fidelity of Blu-ray discs. Downloads include all special features, audio tracks and extra content otherwise available only on the physical disc.
“Today, Blu-ray discs are the reference standard for the discerning viewer, but they’re not as convenient as streaming,” said Doug Blackburn of Widescreen Review. “The Kaleidescape Store is currently the only way to download movies with precisely the same audio/video fidelity as Blu-ray. With Cinema One, anyone looking for the ultimate home theater experience without the inconvenience of physical discs will find Kaleidescape to be the best possible option for a theater system that will impress the owner, family and friends.”
The Kaleidescape Experience is powered by the company’s comprehensive Movie Guide, which contains nearly a quarter million titles. As viewers browse their collection, the onscreen user interface highlights similar films based on genre, director, actors and more. Kaleidescape experts have handpicked thousands of the most memorable scenes in films, concerts and musicals so viewers can jump directly to the best parts of their favorite movies.
“The excellent video displays and sound systems found in homes today create a real need for a device that makes it easy to instantly view Blu-ray quality movies,” said Michael Malcolm, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Kaleidescape. “High-capacity hard disk drives, increasing Internet bandwidth, and the new Kaleidescape Store have made it possible to deliver the Kaleidescape Experience to anyone who enjoys watching movies at home.”
Cinema One is the first component in Kaleidescape’s new Cinema line, designed for smaller systems and featuring simple onscreen setup. The flagship Kaleidescape product line—which can serve collections of any size to a virtually unlimited number of rooms using rack-mountable hardware—is now called the Premiere line, and is intended for professional custom installation.
Cinema One is now available to experience and purchase in all of the Magnolia Design Centers. It can also be purchased from any of Kaleidescape’s 1,800 dealers worldwide or directly from store.kaleidescape.com (U.S. only).
Apple has created an all new simpler,sleeker,faster user interface with iOs7. All the features you have come to know and love are in iOs7 as well as tons of new and exiting ones. The noticeable differences are flat one dimensional icons and transparent layering. A new approach to animation and motion amplify the user experience and makes simple tasks more engaging. We will no doubt be following the Apple lead in developing our own Savant user interface taking cues from what Apple has done and implementing those ideas into our systems. Be sure to click on the link to learn more about the new iOs !
Content provided by Savant Systems
Apple’s renowned operating system, OS X®, has been the driving force behind every Savant SmartSystem shipped since we first opened our doors. While other competing control companies claim to offer tight interoperability with Apple products, Savant goes beyond just integration. Savant provides a complete homeand commercial control, automation and entertainment product line built on an Apple platform, providing users with an unmatched level of responsiveness and a rich line of customizable iOS user interface options.
Think about it…with Savant’s iOS home automation and commercial control Apps, you have a command sequence where one Apple device is communicating directly to a OS X computer (Savant Host Controller) delivering a seamless, rapid and stable control connection.
Savant Host Controller – Apple Mac mini
At the heart of every residential or commercial installation is a conveniently enclosed Apple Mac mini, the Savant Host Controller. This racked device, which hosts Savant’s proprietary configuration and control software RacePoint Blueprint™, provides numerous functions including powerful automation and control, user interface interpretations, system administration, monitoring and more. The Mac mini directly communicates with Savant’s entire line of touch panels, remotes, keypads, mobile devices, and on-screen display navigation utilizing award-winning applications and technology such as TrueControl, TrueImage and TrueCommand.
Savant platform: RacePoint Blueprint™
No longer will customers have to rely on automation products that possess a significant and costly gap between hardware and software. And, that have a strong dependence on pricey 3rd-party programmers and set-up experts for control activation. At the core of every Savant Smart Home control or commercial installation is a reliable and maintenance-friendly open platform combining the most advanced and revolutionary media and computing products from Apple, and a breakthrough configuration and control software called RacePoint Blueprint.
Without the need to write a single line of code, Savant’s pioneering Blueprint software solution configures and controls any AV component or sub–system in a fraction of the time it would take to program competing AV control systems. Built upon Apple’s latest OS X, Blueprint provides the CE, CEDIA, and commercial channels an intelligent solution that overcomes the lack of standards in the industry and the complex nature of integrating various audio/video and environmental sub-systems.
Underlining advantage: drastic improvement in customer satisfaction, as end customers and dealers benefit from smoother installations and effortless system upgrades and modifications. Learn More…
iPad®, iPhone®, iPod touch® control app
As the industry’s most heralded and attractive iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch App,Savant’s TrueControl® solution creates a two-way control scenario where you have one Apple machine speaking to another (iOS device to Savant SmartSystems Host), providing customers with the fastest performing and quickest response time of any competing automation app. Learn More…
Home and business control from a world away
Savant Mobile is a remote access feature included with the TrueControl App, providing you with full two-way control of all the features and services within yourSmart Home from anywhere in the world (Wi-Fi, 3G data connection).
Total user experience customization
From TrueControl to TrueImage, your iPad or iPhone can be completely tailored to meet the individual control requirements of each user. Savant empowers you to create your own personal automation experience with user-changeable and defined backgrounds, icons, control categories and channel favorites. More advanced customization of your smart home and commercial control app can be accomplished by your Savant authorized dealer.
Savant Smart Docks – Apple touch panels & media players
Any iPhone or iPod touch becomes an active media player within your smart home system. Simply connect your iPhone or a guest’s iPod touch to a Savant Media Dock, and the media content loaded on each device can be distributed to any room achievingwhole-house audio and video distribution. Learn More…
Transform the iPad and iPod touch into cost-effective wireless or wired in-wall and tabletop touch panels. Charge your Apple device while simultaneously controlling yourSavant Smart Home system. Learn More…
Savant Select™ remote control
Savant has taken the concept of the remote home control to the next level by seamlessly embedding Apple’s latest iPod touch (with new Retina Display) into a traditional remote home control form factor. The Savant Select universal remoteprovides single-room source control, complete two-way whole-house automation, communications, and video conferencing capabilities. Learn More…
iTunes Match (sm) Compatible
Savant delivered the first iTunes Match-compatible integrated control and multi-room audio solution, making media storage ubiquitous and user-friendly to the highest degree.
iTunes Match is a subscription service available from Apple that, via compatibility with the Savant environment, enables users to automatically sync music and playlists between their home
computer, any compatible iOS devices and their Savant system. This means that both transfer and access of music files has been made dramatically easier, including music purchased from iTunes®, CDs imported from a personal collection, or purchased from another online service. Subscribers will benefit from a seamless interface—playlists from computers or iOS devices will automatically sync to iCloud®, making their music library available to them at multiple residences and eliminating the chore of manually updating your collection in each location.
Integrated iTunes-based media server for Apple Control
Working in conjunction with the Host Controller, all of Savant’s intelligent AV control SmartSystem boast an integrated iTunes-based digital media server providing a familiar digital jukebox experience. All of the family’s favorite music, movies, television shows, and more can be securely stored, quickly accessed, shared, displayed, and selectively distributed throughout the smart home— up to four independent and simultaneous iTunes media streams to any area in the home, seamlessly providing whole-house audio distribution.
Mac OS X
- Intel Processor
- core Animation,Audio, Video
- UNIX iOs
Content provide by Kaleidescape Inc
Purchases include UltraViolet™ rights to provide viewing on portable devices
SUNNYVALE, CA – May 1, 2013 – Kaleidescape, Inc. today announced the debut of the world’s first Internet delivery of Blu-ray quality movies. Now Kaleidescape owners can easily download movies from the Kaleidescape Store with audio and video quality equal to Blu-ray Disc™ and enjoy hours of special features and bonus content.
The Kaleidescape Store is fully integrated with UltraViolet, the home entertainment industry standard for movies in the cloud. Once a movie is purchased through the Kaleidescape Store, that title can be automatically added to the customer’s UltraViolet account, and then viewed through any participating UltraViolet retailer service, including Flixster. Kaleidescape customers can seamlessly access their UltraViolet movies through the Flixster app. With tens of millions of downloads to date, Flixster is one of the most popular online destinations for discovering and accessing entertainment, and UltraViolet playback is compatible with hundreds of millions of tablets, smartphones, game consoles and connected televisions and Blu-ray players, as well as with PCs and Macs.
A beta version of the Kaleidescape Store opened in December 2012 with content from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, enabling the download of movies and TV shows in DVD quality. In addition to providing the latest new releases, the Kaleidescape Store provides a powerful discovery platform, helping customers discover great films for their libraries, regardless of release date. In addition to an innovative “complete my collection” feature, the service also provides movie recommendations from noted film critic Leonard Maltin.
“The new Kaleidescape Store makes it easy for our customers to discover, purchase and enjoy great movies over the Internet without compromise,” said Michael Malcolm, founder, chairman and CEO of Kaleidescape. “People want to own the movies they love for viewing for years to come in the best quality possible, and this is the first service to enable such content to be delivered electronically. We already have seen a great response to the Warner Bros. library during the beta launch of the Kaleidescape Store, and we are looking forward to providing customers with these new capabilities.”
“Flixster is thrilled to be providing Kaleidescape customers with an easy way to enjoy their UltraViolet movies on mobile devices,” said Joe Greenstein, Co-founder & CEO Flixster, Inc. “Customers can stream titles on a wide variety of tablets and phones – or download them for viewing later in the car or on a plane. This is very helpful for parents who travel with children.”
The Kaleidescape Store brings the highest standard of content into the home with just a click of a button. Movie lovers will now enjoy:
Blu-ray quality content with video resolution up to 1080p/24 and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtracks;
Easy upgrade of DVD quality content to Blu-ray quality content for just $6.99;
Automatic UltraViolet rights for both new purchases and titles acquired during the beta period, with mobile playback from the Flixster app and website;
Bonus features including director’s commentary, alternate endings, deleted scenes and documentaries;
Clear indication of titles the customer already owns on DVD or Blu-ray Disc while shopping;
Easy purchase of related titles with the unique Buy all button;
A single manageable library for viewing their entire collection of existing Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and newly downloaded titles;
Rotten Tomatoes® movie ratings and reviews included for each title while shopping.
Downloads that equal DVD quality are also available, which are particularly important for titles that are not yet available on Blu-ray.
Kaleidescape is pioneering the development of movie servers that redefine how film enthusiasts purchase, organize and enjoy their movie collections. Featuring a breakthrough user interface that gives viewers unprecedented flexibility and control over the movies they watch, the Kaleidescape System makes it easy for customers to select and enjoy films from their entire collection of DVD, Blu-ray and downloaded movies from any television in the home. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, Kaleidescape sells its products through custom installation dealers and distributors throughout the world. For more information, please visit www.kaleidescape.com.
Kaleidescape and the Kaleidescape logo are trademarks of Kaleidescape, Inc. and are registered in the United States and certain other jurisdictions. Other trademarks and trade names are owned by third parties and may be registered in some jurisdictions.