John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Thinking outside of my own wallet

Posted on October 28, 2010 at 1:38 PM

The other night, I found myself on the phone with Cheena, one of the co-founders of Kaleidescape. Now I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big – BIG – fan of their products. I've reviewed the system multiple times over the years and it remains the benchmark to which all other server products are measured. Though, far from being a mindless sycophant, I’ve voiced my concerns where I felt they needed voicing. (Like here Kaleidescape, I love you but... and here Kaleidescape owners say, “Meh…”)


But throughout that, I’ve managed to forge a great relationship with the company, and have found myself in the amazing position of often being the go-to reviewer for almost every new product release. (Though somehow I'm sure that Darryl W will get a pull quote used in the ad campaigns. Damn that guy!) The original system; the 1080p player, the Mini System, the Blu-ray player... And if there is something that gets the Sciacca blood pumping, it is the prospect of being the first and (even if ever so briefly) exclusive reviewer.

 

But near the end of our converstaion Cheena asked, “John, you end almost every review saying how much you hate to send the system back. Why don’t you have a Kaleidescape system of your own?”

 

And, frankly, it’s the money. It’s expensive. That's iit. That’s the ONLY reason why I don’t have a Kaleidescape system in my house. Because it does almost everything brilliantly. (I have some *minor* nits about the music experience. OK, you want to know them? 1: It won’t let me import 96/24 high-res FLAC files. And now that I’ve heard them, I loves them and I wants them. 2: I want a Genius-type music recommendation feature. There. Those are my nits.) And the system that I would *need* to have to thoroughly enjoy the Kaleidescape experience the way that God, nature and Kaleidescape intended would run close to $20,000. (A 1U server with 8 sweet-data-loving Terabytes, a nM500 Blu-ray player, and the new Modular disc vault for authenticating my Blu-rizzay collection. As a side bonus, it would awesomely clean up that pile of Blu cases precariously balanced under my pool table. That alone is probably worth like $2400.)

 

The Kaleidescape system is like a perpetual motion happiness machine that just sits there doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing while almost never needing any service or care. (Our showroom actually DOES have a Kaleidescape system and I honestly can’t recall a time that we have EVER had to reboot it. Unlike our Cisco wireless router which is not delivering the promised enterprise grade rock-solidness we were hoping for...) And I told Cheena what I thought that was the biggest obstacle to overcome to selling Kaleidescape: the price. Because in a toy store filled with cool toys, the Kaleidescape is the *coolest* toy. Abd it is the one go-to gadget that never fails to impress people at ANY age.

 

Kids: “Hey, look! It has a special remote just for you so you can easily find all of your favorite movies!”

 

Parents: “See how I can easily control content to each area so that no one is watching things they shouldn’t be? Plus, no more lost discs! How many times have you bought (insert Pixar title here)?”

 

Movie lovers: “See how lightning fast this thing fires up your movies? See how it skips over all the horrible (Dis-neeeeeey!!!) “you must watch these!” trailers and ads? Or your it lets you sort your entire collection by director, actor, rating, run time... Or how you can string together your favorite demo clips to make one killer-awesome personalized demo of your system! Or how it can reposition subtitles for your anamorphic projection system! Or how it will resort your movie covers to select similar titles...see there! You forgot you even HAD that movie!"


Technophobes: “I know you think that you’re going to buy some complicated bit of hardware and never be able to figure it out. But what if navigating your entire movie and music collection where as easy as up, down, left, right, enter? Because, frankly, if *that* is pushing your technology envelope, then I am pretty sure that I’m not the right store for you to be in in the first place.”

 

But usually my potential Kaleidescape sales end with the crushing disappointment when we eventually get to the part where they inevitably say, "Wow! That's awesome! How much is it?" There is often a gasp, a clutching of the chest, and the “Oh, my!” and then I tell them the price. Because even at half of half of its current price – or $5,000 for the system I described for me – it is going to be “Oh, my!” for many people.

 

But you know what? It is also going to be TOTALLY affordable for MANY other people, even right now at its current (high) price point. And I think in some ways I am to blame for some of the, “Wow! That’s a lot!” reaction because when I’m telling someone the price, I’m subconsciously thinking, “Man! That IS a lot of money!” Instead I should be, “Look. Damn right it’s expensive. This thing is amazing, and you’re gonna pay for it. This isn’t just a Blu-ray player. This isn’t an iPod. This isn’t a DVD changer. This is a system unlike any other that is going to totally improve your lifestyle and you are gonna love it *every* time you use it.”

 

It’s like the Ferrari dealer. He doesn’t apologize for the fact that his Ferraris are expensive. He doesn’t make excuses for the high price. He doesn’t hem-and-haw saying that the new model will run Three Large (and have a year on the waiting list). To the contrary. He is so slick and stylish in his Italian cut suit and borderline too-much cologne and manicured nails, standing in his granite-tiled showroom, “Signore, this is a Ferrari. E una macchina che bella, no? Scusi. I get so excited. She is beautiful, no? But, she is not cheap. And she is not for everyone. She is for those that are looking for...the experience and lifestyle which is owning the Ferrari. If you no can afford this experience, then perhaps you need to visit the Honda dealer, si?”

 

And that’s the same with a Kaleidescape – or any other high-end thingy. Look. It’s expensive. Get over it. But, just because it is expensive for ME doesn’t mean that others – and hey, this is the Americas, and there are still lots of big-moneys out there -- can’t afford it. And for those with the means, I can’t think of any reason why they wouldn’t want the pleasure of owning the...experience. Now bring your Black Cards in here and let's work you up a bit of awesomeness!

Categories: October 2010, CTA, Electronics

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

5 Comments

Reply Mike
9:23 PM on October 28, 2010 
I own a Kaleidescape, yet I had to go to the Honda dealership for my car (a 2005 Pilot with 170k miles on it). I am well off but not wealthy. I was making about 60k per year when I got my Kaleidescape. It just happens that films and music are a priority in my life and I saw the value of the system and what it could do for me. I don't go skiing in Aspen, have a boat I take up to the lake or a cabin up in the mountains, no summer house. This is my indulgence.

Every year, my wife mentions getting one for her parents but I remind her of the cost. It may be expensive, but it certainly has improved the quality of life for me and the rest of my family. You certainly wouldn't be able to take it from my house without a fight. Even my wife agrees, as she told me when we moved that it would have to be the last thing I pack up and the first thing I unpack when we got to the new house.

Having owned a system for about 8 years now, I must admit that it has been one of most important pieces of electronics I have owned in the last 20 years, ranking in a tie at second place with the DVR (cell phone is #1).
Reply John Sciacca
10:52 PM on October 28, 2010 
Mike says...
Having owned a system for about 8 years now, I must admit that it has been one of most important pieces of electronics I have owned in the last 20 years, ranking in a tie at second place with the DVR (cell phone is #1).

Mike, thanks for sharing your story! I know that the times that we've had the system in our house, my wife has also been a big fan. When she doesn't have to call me in order to find all of the movies or get something playing for our near-4-year old it is a good day. Nice to know that there are "real" people out there that have made the K'scape plunge. Gives me hope for myself! ;-)
Reply Patrick
10:46 AM on October 30, 2010 
Dear John,

I got a second-hand 5U server 1-2 years ago. I looked to the products for a long time. But it is so expensive. The second-hand system brought the K feeling into my home. Now I can only import 10-20 movies and I am looking for a new server. I use the 1080p player with some problems. I seems that people in Germany has another meening of manufacturing quality. The player never goes into stand-by mode. The fan is running all the time with a good hearing noise. Very annoying. So I do not really know if I should invest into a new server or stop with K.

Very difficult.

Best,

Patrick
Reply John Sciacca
1:42 PM on October 30, 2010 
Patrick says...
I got a second-hand 5U server 1-2 years ago. I looked to the products for a long time. But it is so expensive. The second-hand system brought the K feeling into my home. Now I can only import 10-20 movies and I am looking for a new server. I use the 1080p player with some problems. I seems that people in Germany has another meening of manufacturing quality. The player never goes into stand-by mode. The fan is running all the time with a good hearing noise. Very annoying. So I do not really know if I should invest into a new server or stop with K.

Very difficult.

Best,

Patrick

Hey, Patrick. Thanks for sharing your story. I can't comment on Kaleidescape's international service, but it does sound like your player is having a problem. Also, I don't know why you can only import 10-20 movies....are you out of drive space? I will say that here in the US I have had nothing but spectacular results from their service. One of their techs, Rusty, has spent hours -- I'm not kidding; HOURS -- on the phone with one of my clients troubleshooting things that often don't even involve his K'scape system at all. It wouldn't be an understatement to say that Rusty has delivered more goodwill for our company to this customer than I have myself!
Reply Patrick Fiekers
7:38 PM on October 30, 2010 
John, I got several new players with the same problems. Last solution from K was to buy a M-Class player. That was the time I quit with K. But what now? Start with another system? Or invest ...?