One of our favorite custom home theater install clients here in Fresno is a home entertainment fanatic and so is his wife and their three kids.
I think they’ve got the most extensive home entertainment setup I’ve ever seen.
We’ve done all kinds of great things for this client including upgrading his home theater, creating a full audio landscape sound system in his backyard and installing Kaleidescape, the highest end home movie server you can buy right now (more about that in a minute).
But first, you’ve got to hear about how we consolidated the ten Comcast boxes that he had in his house.
Yes, five people… ten cable boxes.
He called me and said, “What can you do to help, Chris? I’m paying over a hundred bucks a month just to rent the receivers!”
I knew that we could reduce the duplication AND give him an easier-to-use system by using his universal remotes.
People think the universal remote is just a simpler way to handle all your remotes, but I use them as a smart home automation control center.
Because I had already set up every single TV in the house through a central system, I was able to program it so that we cut over half of those receivers out. Now he has just five Comcast boxes: a dedicated box in the living room, a dedicated box in the master bedroom, and three shared boxes for the kids’ room, the office TV, the patio TV and the home theater.
So how do those five boxes serve almost a dozen TV screens?
Here’s how it works:
We set up a remote system that knows what boxes are being used at the moment. Then, when a new screen comes on line, it selects a box that’s not being used. There’s never really more than three cable boxes being used at any given time.
It’s a video matrix system with a set number of inputs and then a set number of outputs. The way we have it now, it’s infinitely expandable. Each box has a transmitter and each TV has a receiver on it, so any of the transmitters can then send to any of the receivers.
We set it up with a priority system that I programmed in through the universal remote.
Here’s an example of how it works:
- Bedroom 1 decides to watch something on Comcast. If nothing else is using a Comcast box, then it uses Box 1 and lets the rest of the system know that Box 1 is not available.
- Then the Office turns on Comcast. The system sees that Box 1 is in use so it used Box 2 for the Office.
- Now, Bedroom 1 stops watching Comcast and turns on the Apple TV instead, so Box 1 is available again so if for example, someone goes into the Home Theater to watch a movie on Comcast, the system can go back to Box 1.
This means that there really can’t be more than five different screens showing different Comcast channels, but it’s never really been a problem for this family of five.
I told you they are home entertainment buffs. They have plenty of other options including a shared Apple TV account which is available throughout the whole house and a shared Roku.
And then if he wants to add another device, then all we have to do is add another transmitter. We won’t have to re-do the system because we can just keep adding devices or adding as many displays as they want.
But their coolest media-watching option is a movie-lover’s dream.
It’s called the Kaleidescape. The company calls it the “must-have content source to power a luxury cinematic experience.”
In other words, it’s a movie server.
It was perfect for this client and his family. They loved Blu-Ray movies and probably bought one every week.
They ended up with an equipment rack full of Blu-Rays and then the cabinets in their movie room filled up with disks. It was starting to look like a Blockbuster instead of a custom, luxury home theater.
The Kaleidescape allows you to digitally store movies you’ve purchased already (or you can buy them from their store) and then plays them in the highest quality possible: “4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range at 60 frames per second, with lossless audio, including Dolby Atmos,” says their website
You know how I feel about Dolby Atmos, so if you have true surround sound and the right TV or projector and screen, it’s quite possibly the best sound and video quality you can get outside of the theater.
But it’s still great quality on any TV. It will downplay to just about any modern big-screen, even the “old” 1080p or 720p TVs.
The system has a fantastic movie selection interface where you can sort your movies by actor, genre or just look for something similar to one of your movies. It skips all the trailers and warnings and it’s incredibly easy to find a scene you want to watch.
If you’re tired of digging through your DVD cases, or you don’t want to spend hours ripping your collection onto an external hard drive, I really like the look of the Kaleidescape movie system.
I can help you decide if it’s the right system for your custom home theater and if it is, we’ll get it installed and I can set up your system to make it available on every TV in your house.
Give me, Chris Burford, the audio video expert at Central Valley Entertainment Systems a call at (559) 432-8600
P.S. There is one small downside to installing this system after you’ve bought a lot of discs. The digital rights management system requires you to input a code into the Kaleidescape for each of your movies. I and my co-worker wanted the system to be 100% ready for the client that night, so we typed in code, after code, after code … almost 300 of them! But it was worth doing for this great client and his family.
P.P.S. There’s also an online movie store built in, so you don’t have to go buy discs anymore.