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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Kaleidescape: This Download Store is now fully operational!

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (2)

A little over four months ago, Kaleidescape unveiled an industry leading download store that offers Kaleidescape owners a revolutionary way to add content to their systems, by easily browsing and purchasing movies that automatically downloaded to their systems. Kaleidescape installed a fiber link between its Sunnyvale facility and its data center ...

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Why the PRIMA Cinema Model IS the Future

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Judging from the interest in my first post on Prima Cinema (“I’ve Beheld the Future”, currently the most popular story to date on Theo Kalomirakis’ website, Theo’s Roundtable) I thought I would circle back to the topic.

First, if y...

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Why You Should Embrace Black Bars

Posted on April 19, 2013 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Since the dawn of man, few things have united us spindly bipeds like our common, loathsome, blind-rage hatred for black bars in our video. Black…frickin’…bars?!  Instead of the movie?!? How dare they?! HOW…DARE…THEY?!?

This is America where we want more of things, not less. We want 244-ounce sodas with unlimited refills, and hamburgers with numerous patties and covered in enough sauce and cheese ...

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A Video Walk-thru of My Home Theater

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (1)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think the next big boom won’t be having home theaters in dark, secluded dedicated rooms but in the large, open, multi-purpose family and great rooms many homes have.

After talking about the home theater system in my family room, I thought there would be nothing better than to...

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The Death of the Dedicated Theater Room

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

(To be honest, I think a better, more accurate title would be “The Rise of the Multi-use Space,” but that’s not nearly as eye-grabby . . .)

When my wife and I went shopping for our first home years ago, I looked at each space with an eye toward not how we would live in the house, nor which would offer the best resale value, nor how much natural light would we get in the space. No. All of those thing...

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PRIMA Cinema: Hollywood Inside Your House

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Most people love movies. And since you are currently reading a tech site, I’m going to assume that you are probably more a movie lover than most people. But while people love movies, what they don’t love so much is the experience of actually going to the movies. Take your pick from the many possible reasons: Inconvenience, poor performance, the glaring red EXIT light that shines on the screen like a vengeful Overlord, the floors sticky with food and DN...

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Six Degrees of Film Discovery

Posted on March 29, 2013 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the very first blogs on this site was “Just Play the Damn Movie,”  where Gene Newman groused about how much Blu-ray BS you have to wade through prior to getting to the film you actually want to see. I'm in full agreement with the first point Gene made — look, I get it, Blu-ray Association, you’re excited about your technology and want to...

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Home Theater Doomed?! Hardly...

Posted on March 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (2)

A recent post by my brother-blogger-in-arms, Andrew Robinson, caught my eye and I felt compelled to respond. His post was “Commercial Cinema May Be Doomed But Home Theater Is Far From Safe.”


First, I think that it’s important to ...

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How the Multiplex Killed Movie-going

Posted on March 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

For a site that bears Theo Kalomirakis’s name — a man who whose multiyear love affair with cinema could be considered borderline obsessive — you wouldn’t think there would be so much bashing about the cinematic experience. Or, maybe because the site does have Theo’s name on it — the

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Movie Servers: Not just for movie collectors

Posted on March 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

By this point, I feel I am a qualified subject matter expert when it comes to video servers. I have reviewed virtually every model that has graced the market, including quite a few that no longer exist and even a couple that were literally killed by the manufacturer while in my possession for review. (Oh, Escient Vision. The high hopes we all had for you! We waited so long, but, alas! You were just not meant to be!)

It’s also no sec...

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Film Premier: Muscle Shoals

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

My sister-in-law, Keely -- the same one who Pwns the Internet -- shared a great story the other day via email. A story so interesting that I immediately asked her to turn it into a blog.

When you think "hot bed of music

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PRIMA Cinema: I've beheld the future!

Posted on March 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

My colleague, Andrew Robinson, has espoused the need for movie studios to change their paradigm and embrace the idea of day-and-date release and viewing outside the cinema. Essentially, give us the a...

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The Totally Uninteresting 85th Oscars

Posted on February 24, 2013 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

By any metric, I would consider myself a movie lover. I have a Kaleidescape movie-server system with over 300 films in my collection and a pretty amazing dedicated home theater system that includes a 115-inch anamorphic projection system and 9.1-channel surround audio. And my wife and I probably watch three to four movies a week across all genres: comedy, drama, action, sci-fi, foreign, documentary, indie, etc.

And yet, as much as I love ...

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Life Outdoes Art

Posted on February 22, 2013 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sound like the perfect set-up for Ocean’s 14: Diamonds are a Man’s Best Friend?

Wrong. It’s real life. And if you’ve checked the news in the past 24 hours, you probably heard about the daringly amazing robbery pulled off in Belgium this past Monday.

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Kaleidescape: Inventing, Refining & Perfecting the Wheel

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

The idea of hunting through stacks of discs until you find the one CD you’re looking for, popping the disc into a player, and then sitting down to listen and hoping the disc isn’t scratched beyond playability is preposterous in this digital, rip/click/play era. Now even my tech-challenged mom expects everything to be automatically sorted by album, artist, song, and genre, and to be presented with cover art that can be streamed to any location f...

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Video: Just Good Enough Shouldn't Be

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (3)

With all of the talk of 4K/Ultra HD TV and OLED coming out of CES this year, you might be fooled into thinking that people actually care about things like picture quality and performance. You might think that we wouldn’t keep getting these new formats and technologies that can deliver resolution so high that

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It's About the Magic: 10 Life-Changing Movies

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (1)

With all of the talk about technology, and 4K, and will home theater kill the commercial cinema, and the disappointment of some film transfers, and all the other grumbling and griping we tech writers like to indulge in, I thought I would take a different approach with this post.

Sometimes I think that we get so hung up on all the tech and the presentation and the pomp and circumstance of things that we lose sight of the fact that ultimate...

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5 Reasons Why Discs Aren't Quite Dead

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Electronics-industry pundits and consultants, along with futurists, have long been eager to declare disc-based media dead. Almost as quickly as a new format is announced, we’re quickly reassured, “This, surely, will be the last physical media format we see.”

And the digital writing is definitely on the wall. Streaming and downloading will be the future of audio/video distribution. There are just too many benefits to digi...

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How Best Buy Will Kill the Cineplex

Posted on December 27, 2012 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

In my last post, I told you six reasons why watching movies was better at home. When it comes to pricing, quality, schedule, snacks, crowds and tech, the commercial cinema just can’t compete with the luxury of watching movies in your own private theater. (And I didn’t even mention the comfort of the seating! If you...

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Six Reasons Why Home Theater is Killing the Multiplex

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Let’s be honest—the movie-theater experience isn’t as rosy as it used to be. For lots—and lots—of reasons, seeing movies at home just makes more sense for a lot of people.

In fact, since I invested in my home theater system a few years ago—extravagant by some standards, merely modest by others, but always awesome to me—I rarely go out to the movies anymore.

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