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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Kaleidescape to iPad: THIS is why you need a camera!

Posted on September 2, 2010 at 5:32 PM

There are cool products, and then there are *cool*products.


And then there’s the Kaleidescape movie server. A product SO cool that it looks at other products that merely think they’re cool, drains its martini, takes a long drag on its Gauloises, buttons the top button on its Savile Row bespoke jacke, and then slowly walks over and stubs out its cigarette in their drink. Then buys their woman a drink and takes her home.


Kaleidescape’s uber cool movie server just does everything right. Not just right but to a point of near perfection. (I have some *minor* nits, but, hey, this isn’t a product review so bugger off! If you want to read more about my feelings for Kaledeidescape, read “Kaleidescape I love you but…“ and “My high-end subtitle whaaaa” ) When it comes to managing your movie and music collection, you can give up many bells and whistles (and deal with lock-ups and restarts) and do it for less, but you can’t do it for any better.


One of the things that I really dig about them as a company as that they continually release new and cool features to enhance the system. (Which is nice when you have invested in a system that rivals the price of a small sedan or an entry level Patek timepiece.) And they unleashed a very cool new iPhone app today. Sadly, this new app is not actually cool enough yet for an iPad – believe me, I tried – so if you own  both a Kaleidescape AND an iPad, while you are still undoubtedly a cool guy all in your own right, you’ll not be able to increase your coolness any today. (However, might I recommend Remotescape’s terrific app for controlling your system and browsing your music collection?)


No, friends, today’s coolness is iPhone only, making me both hate and resent Lady Phone in new and previously unknown ways. This app lets you use the camera in your iPhone to scan UPC barcodes while your out gallivanting around town showing off your iPhone, which then queries your movie server and tells you if you already own the movie. Sure, this might not be a big deal when your entire movie collection fits in a shoe box up in a closet. But if that’s the case, then you don’t own a Kaleidescape system, do you? Kaleidescape owners collect movies like HBO collects Emmy nominations. Like Don Draper collects empty whiskey bottles. They can’t seem to get enough of them. It isn’t unusual for a Kaleidescape owner to have 500+ movies. And who can remember them all? I have this but it is 4x3 not anamorphic. I have that but it is the pre-DTS soundtrack. I have that, but it isn’t the European version with the extra 13 seconds of uncensored Tarantino footage .


We have one client that owns like five different versions of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Five! Now, for most cinema lovers, one version of the Pimpernel would be plenty. In fact, it would probably be one version too many. But if you can’t seem to get enough of Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s crazy British Man of Mystery then you’re going to want to know which versions of the Pimpernel you’ve already added to your library. Do you already own the 1982 made for TV version starring Anthony Andrews as said Pimpernel? Perhaps you have confused it with the 1999 British version also known as “La pimpinela escarlata.” Or maybe you want to compare the acting styles of Marius Goring as he portrays that notorious fop and hedonistic member of Prince Regent’s court in the 1955 version. You see? You’ve POSSIBLY run across a new and previously unviewed version of the Pimpernel and now you can’t recall if you already own it. What to do? Buy it and then discover that, ah, yes, damn! I already had two extra copies of this. Or NOT buy it and then go home and discover that it was the quintessential version of the Pimpernel only to immediately return to the store to find that it has been purchased by a fan of much truer caliber than yourself.


Neither. Simply whip out your iPhone, scan the barcode and know instantly if you own that version or not. This could also be incredibly handy for comparing any number of past, current and future Star Wars releases. “Original, Han shoots first.” “Revised, Lucas bitches-out version and Han shoots second.” “New with 15 seconds of added footage where Jar-Jar comes in and spins a lightsaber around for 10 seconds." "Newest, where Jar-Jar loses the saber, and now drinks himself into a stupor and then is shot by both Greedo and Han. In 3D."


To see some screen shots of this app in action, follow this clicky to over to iTunes…


Very cool. Now all I need is a Kaleidescape system. And an iPhone. So,  just those two things.

Categories: Electronics, September 2010

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