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Kaleidescape Bows Digital Movies With Blu-ray Resolution and Audio

23 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Platform offering new-release BD digital titles with UltraViolet functionality for $19.99

Movie disc-storage company Kaleidescape April 23 upgraded its online movie store to allow purchase of digital titles it says have Blu-ray 1080p resolution, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, with UltraViolet functionality.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Kaleidescape said the store — which launched last December — for the first time includes automatic UltraViolet access with new purchases and previously purchased downloads. Digital playback on compatible devices happens through Flixster.com and a related UV app. All titles offered for sale include Rotten Tomatoes ratings and reviews.

Pricing for street date releases is $19.99. Recent and catalog titles are priced from $9.99 each. Digital purchases require ownership of the $14,000 Kaleidescape system, which includes a player and server with a hard drive capable of storing 325 BD titles or 1,200 DVDs. Additional networked players cost $3,000 each.

Kaleidescape will sell you a Blu-ray digital upgrade, with UltraViolet, of an existing DVD movie (or digital copy) stored on the server for $6.99. All electronic purchases are stored on the server, independent of the cloud-based UV functionality.

“Our customers will now be able to buy titles that match precisely the audio and video from the Blu-ray version,” said Tom Barnett, senior director of marketing with Kaleidescape. “We want to take away all the reasons you wouldn’t buy electronically.”

The company last December signed a multi-year license agreement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment allowing its 10,000-unit customer base to purchase more than 2,700 of the studio’s movies and TV shows. Warner Bros. owns Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes.

All digital purchases include related bonus features such as director’s commentary, alternate endings, deleted scenes and documentaries.

Kaleidescape is in discussions with other studios to incorporate their digital libraries and new releases. The online store has only downloads featuring Warner and New Line titles.

Barnett said conversations with studios have been easier since Kaleidescape is pushing a sellthrough business versus rental. He said the platform is intended for the consumer who wants to create movie collections that can be easily accessed in the home or on a connected device.

Titles are accessed or purchased based on format (DVD or Blu-ray), genre, title, actor, awards or director, with the system alerting users when a particular purchase already exists on the server.

Barnett said the typical Blu-ray digital download with bonus materials requires 32GB of storage capacity — underscoring the need for a high-capacity server. Barnett said UV rights to electronically purchased titles on the server are automatically upgraded when available.

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