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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Kaleidescape's Take on Apple TV 4K

Posted on September 13, 2017 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (181)

Apple’s annual keynote event was held at the company’s new complex yesterday, with a fitting opening tribute to Steve Jobs to inaugurate the purpose-built theater with his name. I’ll leave it to others to discuss the merits of the new Gen 3 Apple Watch, or iPhone X, or being able to turn oneself into a virtual talking pooh emoji, as the news that most caught my attention was that of the upcoming Apple TV 4K.

By the numbe...

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11 Ultimate Dolby Atmos Demo Scenes

Posted on May 6, 2016 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (28)

I've been fortunate enough to watch nearly every Dolby Atmos encoded Blu-ray movie at this point, somehow tricking lucking my way on to the disc reviewer's list. Believe me, friends, there are few greater feelings than to come home and see a Fed-Ex envelope on your doorstep holding a new Blu-ray that isn't going to be released for several more days! 

Recently someone at Dolby asked me to compile a list of my top...

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Ears On with Dolby Atmos for Home

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (3)

Chances are you’ve heard a good deal of news recently about Dolby Atmos coming to the home market. If you’re totally in the dark, check out my blog, What Integrators Need to Know About Dolby Atmos to get up to speed on the basics of this new surround standard.

I was invited to New York yesterday (August 12) to visit Dolby’s offices – and more importantly, Dolby’s theater – to hear the home version of Do...

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What Integrators Need to Know About Dolby Atmos

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (1)

With many customers migrating away from traditional multi-channel – 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 and even the full-magilla 11.1 – speaker offerings in favor of an all-in-one integrated soundbar, you might think that home theater surround formats peaked with DTS’ Neo:X which supports 11 simultaneous channels (the traditional 5-channel mix augmented with surround back, front height and front width). However, as with any technology that gets its start in the commercial cinema &...

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Kaleidescape and DVD CCA Settle 10-year Lawsuit

Posted on June 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (1)

What does this mean for Kaleidescape? Q and A with company founders

On June 2, Judge William Monahan of the Superior Court of California approved an agreement between the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) and Kaleidescape to end the decade-long litigation.

At the crux of the lawsuit, the DVD CCA alleged that because Kaleidescape allowed users to play copied content without requir...

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Sharing Could Be a Kaleidescape Killer App

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Saying that “a great part of owning movies and TV shows is sharing your collection,” this past week Vudu announced a new service titled “Share My Movies.” By enabling sharing and adding the email addresses of up to five friends, users will now be able to digitally share their collections of UltraViolet movies and TV shows for free. What’s more, the shared content can be streamed up to three times simultaneously, meaning you can finally have that re...

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Don't Forget the Best Seat in the House!

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

If you’ve ever taken a cross-country flight in coach, then you know the almost inhuman, Geneva-Convention-straining state of a truly uncomfortable seat. The anemic cushion causes lower back pain, the narrow width confines the hips and thighs, the rigid, mercilessly limited recline locks the spine into a preternaturally upright position, and leg movement is restricted to the subtlest of ankle rotation barely capable of staving off deep vein thrombosis. Sure, these Torquema...

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Undiscovered Gems in Kaleidescape's Experience

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Kaleidescape’s big news this past week was the appointment of Cheena Srinivasan to the role of CEO. I’ve been working with Cheena, one of Kaleidescape’s co-founders, since 2003 when I was one of the first reviewers selected to review the Kaleidescape system. I’ve also spoken and met with him many times since and I...

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Does the Academy Awards Actually Encourage Piracy?

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (2)

The Simpsons re-ran an earlier episode on piracy the night of the Oscars which perfectly articulated my blog. Enjoy quotes from the episode liberally sprinkled throughout!

Bart: “Homer, you don’t need a theater to watch the movie. You just have to illegally download it.

Homer: “Illegally download it...? Is that legal?

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Surviving the Hunger Games at Wal-Mart

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Or… How Physical Media is Alive and Well

Through a devilish cocktail that was both beautiful and horrible, crafted from equal parts boredom, morbid curiosity and my own thriftiness, shaken thoroughly in a crucible of suffering and then poured over icy despair into a crystal tumbler of misery, I found myself at a Super Wal-Mart this past Thursday – aka “Thanksgiving” – evening.

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Gravity: Sandra Bullock's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Posted on October 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Oh, gravity is working against me

And gravity wants to bring me down.

 Oh twice as much ain't twice as good

And can't sustain like one half could.

It's wanting more

That's gonna send me to my knees.

Oh gravity, stay the hell away from me

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Review: Kaleidescape Cinema One Movie Server

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (1)

Unless you run in crowds that discuss the merits of fractional jet ownership versus the full commitment of buying your own G5 whilst sipping drams of 30-year old single malt or complain over the outrageous charges levied for docking your mega yacht in Monaco, then you probably haven’t experienced a Kaleidescape system before outside the pages of a Robb Report.

In fact, you might be surprised that Kaleidescape has been in busi...

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A Server by Any Other Name is Not a Kaleidescape

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Last week Kaleidescape introduced a new product, the Cinema One, that I and many others in the industry – Residential Systems, CE Pro, Home Theater, Digital Trends, Engadget, USA Today – felt was pretty big news. (You can read my post on the Cinema One here.) For a company known for making systems for the luxury market c...

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Kaleidescape for the price of your daily Starbucks

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (4)

Demonstrate a Kaleidescape system to 100 people and I bet you’ll have 100 people that would love to own one. With its world-class user interface, near instantaneous access to a vast library of DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs, automatic bookmarking of the most iconic scenes in thousands of films, and the world’s only way to download and own movies in exact Blu-ray quality, Kaleidescape systems are one of the easiest products to get people excited about. I use Kaleiedescape as...

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Home Theater's Coming Renaissance

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

A recent article in Entertainment Weekly (June 28, 2013) titled, “Ready for $50 Movie Tickets?”  caught my eye.  I mean, if there’s one thing that people complain about going to the movies, it is definitely how cheap the ticket prices are. This is second only to the incredible value snack bar pricing. Surprisingly, quality of “synthetic butter flavored ...

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When a bedsheet won't do: Selecting a Projection Screen

Posted on June 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Some things are just meant to go together. Haggis and neeps. Starsky and Hutch. Chuck Norris and beards. Vodka and a glass. The same is also true for video projectors and screens. In fact, front projectors are often referred to as “two piece projection systems” amongst the A/V cool kids; the ones that used to wear nerd glasses and push around carts in high-school but now drive Italian sports cars and date super models. (The two pieces being the projector and the scr...

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Why Living-Room Theaters Don't Suck, Pt. 1

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

A month ago, I wrote a post called “The Death of the Dedicated Theater Room” that listed all the reasons why a theater in a multi-use space such as a living room or family room makes so much more sense than going with a dedicated room. Multi-use spaces are generally more welcoming and comfortable, don’t require an exodus from one location...

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Go Big AND Go Home! How to install a front projector

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

You’ve finally sacked-up and decided to take that next step into the home theater Big Boy club; you’ve made the decision to abandon that weak-sauce, girly-man flat panel display and go with a strong-like-bull front projector! First things first...bring it in. We gotta hug this bitch out. Congratulations! For today, you are a man!

So, now that you’ve made this momentous decision you’re probably...

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4K: The Next Big Thing?

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (21)

Last week, I attended a vendor expo in Scottsdale, Arizona hosted by the world’s largest technology distributor, Ingram Micro, Inc. The theme of the expo was “Plugged In to CE,” and along with the manufacturers and venders on hand, Ingram invited representatives from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), including CEO Gary Shapiro, and senior research analyst Chris Ely.

Both guest speakers shared some interesting i...

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Keep it Quiet - What You Need to Know About Soundproofing

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

When you think about home theater sound, you generally think big and loud with Jurassic Park-level seismic subwoofer activity. But sometimes what’s happening on the other side of your theater walls is just as important. Maybe it’s a baby or spouse sleeping. Or a neighbor not interested in hearing the dwarves take back the mines of Moria. Or maybe it's just Mr. Yunioshi sick and tired of all that late-night racket by Miss Horry Gorightry. And that’s when...

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