Kaleidescape's high-end movie player business lives on (updated)

Building something compatible with Hollywood's DRM demands almost proved too expensive.

Kaleidescape M700 Disc Vault

If you're familiar with Kaleidescape, it's likely related to the company's years-long battle with the DVD Copy Control Association over the right to sell disc-ripping movie servers. After a decade of legal wrangling, the parties settled two years ago with an agreement that effectively killed the DVD copying feature. Now, after making attempts to build pricey Blu-ray jukeboxes and a high-quality movie download service that worked with Hollywood's copy-protection demands instead of against them, the company is shutting its doors.

Word of the closure leaked out Friday night through a post on a forum for owners of the devices, and Saturday, CEO Cheena Srinivasan confirmed it in an interview with CEPro. According to the forum post, the doors have been closed and all employees were immediately laid off. In the interview, Srinivasan said "My prayer is there comes a buyer out of this" so that the technology can continue, and said a "small SWAT team" remained to wrap up the process and take care of customers. It's not clear yet what that will mean, but we have attempted to contact Kaleidescape for more details.

Since Kaleidescape focused on the high-end market, its prices were too high (the 4K Strato movie player starts at $3,495 without a hard drive included, and when we interviewed its founder in 2005 systems started at $27,000) for any kind of mass market acceptance, and the CEO says the company exhausted its resources building the downloadable movie system. Now, it's turning out the lights at the same time 4K, HDR and surround audio platforms are providing a new shiny thing for videophiles to chase.

Update: And...Kaleidescape lives! The CEO has apparently told customers the doors are reopened, and that temporary issues were a result of trying to deliver promised features for the Stratos 4K player. Whatever the case, it appears customers can still use the Kaleidescape Store and make orders via dealers, we'll update this post if we hear more.