Kaleidescape M500 Movie Player Rips Blu-Ray Discs

Kaleidescape, the multi-room home movie server that Bruce Wayne would totally use if he had any time to watch movies, has tweaked its UI and added Blu-ray support with the M500 and M300 players. But there's a catch.

Kaleidescape's new M500 player works just like their old ones: you load a disc—CD, DVD, or now Blu-ray—and the player copies it in pristine quality onto a home server. But movie studios, in their crusade to squelch piracy in all its forms, wrote a provision in the Blu-ray licensing agreement requiring the disc to be physically present whenever a copy of the movie is played. As such, to watch a copy of a Blu-ray movie on an M500, or one of the satellite M300 players, the disc must be present in an M500 somewhere on your network.

That's sort of a bummer when one of the distinct pleasures of having a movie server is boxing up all those discs, tucking them away in storage, and forgetting they ever existed, though Kaleidescape is promising a 100+ disc loader in the first half of next year that will eliminate some of your tray-loading hassle. And still, it's nice to see a company standing tall against the studios and offering consumers some flexibility about how they watch the media they buy.

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Aside from that limitation, Kaleidescape's still a very rad, somewhat extravagant way to experience your library of media. Having 1080p copies of all your movies means you can skip all that pre-menu mumbo jumbo—when you hit play, the movie starts—and the M500 and M300, in addition to being built on all new architecture, introduce some nice polish to the UI. You can start building your Bat Cave the movie server it deserves on May 18 with the M500 ($3,995) or the M300 ($2,495). [Kaleidescape]