The growth of streaming video platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime’s video component have accustomed a whole generation of audiences to entertainment on demand. Thousands of TV and movie titles, original programming and more, all bingeable and ready to stream with a click of the button or tap of a screen -— as convenient as it gets. But while that convenience can instantly show you that latest TV episode, it lacks the quality that the original creator intended. In order to stream over current broadband and cellular networks, that video and audio must be compressed. Instead of a data-rate of, let’s say, 100Mbps, you’re getting at best 10-20Mbps. This matters most to those with high quality displays, projectors, and audio set-ups, but is also discernible to many more.

Kaleidescape’s Strato S Movie Player — a disc-free device for playing reference-quality content — is a box and service with just such a use in mind.

The Strato S has an internal hard drive with two storage variants, either 6TB or 12TB. With the latter, the company figures the average user could squeeze around 300 movies on to it. The movies play at 60 frames a second in gorgeous lossless 4K Ultra HD, also with lossless audio and Dolby Atmos. And the fact that it’s a disc-free devices means you don’t have to worry about keeping up with a stack of Blu-Rays — the only thing you need to do to watch a title is download it from the Kaleidescape online store.

Besides the benefit of stunning, crisp high fidelity, Strato S users will also be able to dive straight into a movie without having to plow through interminable trailers and warning screens. According to the company, the box also integrates with modern AV systems to enable the kinds of effects that can almost make you feel like you’re at a cinema, effects like lights automatically going dim as your movie gets under way with integration through leading automation partners like Crestron or Lutron.

As far as the specs go, this unit features a single-rack-unit design which allows for conserving physical space. It weighs a little more than 8 pounds and supports a range of audio formats including Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, MPEG audio and more. Playback from the hard drive or network delivers true 4K Ultra HD, with bit rates up to 100 Mpbs and frame rates up to 60 fps, and the company promises “superb” upscaling of Blu-ray and DVD-quality content to 4K resolution. The box is compatible with popular control systems and universal remotes, and the Kaleidescape store has most anything a typical movie fan would want, from recent blockbusters to classics from the early 20th century.

In a letter this summer to dealers announcing this first shipments of the Strato S, Kaleidescape founder and CEO Cheena Srinivasan described the movie player as having a machined-aluminum enclosure, clean gloss-black bezel and gold-plated connectors. The company’s devices, he went on, offer users the only way to experience an Internet-delivered motion picture in “true 4K Ultra HD and lossless surround sound” that matches the best capabilities of a modern home cinema.

Let’s look at the technical specifications of the Strato S:

  • 10TB (180 UHD, 330 Blu-ray, 1500 DVD quality)
  • 100Mbps Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • IP, Crestron, AMX, Control4, Savant, Kaleidescape app
  • HDMI 2.0a w/HDCP 2.2, HDMI 1.4 audio-only, digital coax & optical
  • 480p to 2160p/60, 4:4:4 – 8-bit/60Hz, 12-bit/30Hz
  • BT.601, BT.709, BT.2020
  • SMPTE ST.2084, ST.2086
  • Dolby Atmos and below, DTS:X and below

You can trace the company’s arrival to the point of releasing a product like this by going back to its beginning in 2001. Back then, DVDs were still a prevailing medium for video entertainment consumption, but the company’s leadership was already looking ahead to the inevitable – to putting those movies onto hard disks with tons of storage space. That led eventually to the launch of the Kaleidescape Store in 2013, the first such online store that let users download Blu-ray quality movies over the web.

The Kaleidescape Strato S offers the world’s finest and most enjoyable cinematic experience, at a level of precision that should have actual movie theaters shaking in their reclining leather seats

Installation of the Strato S is easy, with pretty straightforward on-screen setup and content management. This is a premium device offering premium video, meant to attract consumers who want something more immersive and a more dazzling picture than what you get via a typical streaming outlet. The Kaleidescape Movie Store is what especially helps sell this, since there’s something to please everyone here. Studios love it, because it does an end-run around discs which means no pirating of said discs. The discerning customer, of course, also likes it because with the Strato S they get downloads that are higher-than Blu-ray quality all in an easy-to-use, convenient package. Using the Strato’s interface is like grass-fed butter — it’s luxurious and smooth. The company’s complimentary iOS apps are also a great way to experience the Kaleidescape ecosystem without any fuss. 

The Kaleidescape Movie Store is the world’s only source for movies with full-fidelity audio and video to match the capabilities of luxury home cinema equipment. The movie store offers a library of the finest content from Hollywood’s major movie studios, ranging from new releases to the gems from the past 100 years. The Kaleidescape Movie Store offers the best selection of 4K Ultra HD titles with high dynamic range support, and thousands of movies in full Blu-ray HD quality. These Blu-ray quality movies provide superb results when upscaled to 4K by the Strato.Both Blu-ray quality and 4K Ultra HD movies are available with lossless multichannel and object-based audio, including Dolby Atmos. The Kaleidescape Strato S offers the world’s finest and most enjoyable cinematic experience, at a level of precision that should have actual movie theaters shaking in their reclining leather seats.