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Thursday, February 07, 2008
How to Copy a Blu-ray Disc to the Hard Drive

Kaleidescape plans to add support for Blu-ray in its media servers next year, allowing Blu-ray disc playback and possibly ripping of Blu-ray movies to hard disk.

According to information posted at Kaleidescape owner's forum, the company plans to upgrade its media servers with the release of a Blu-ray player designed to play all Blu-ray Discs in addition to DVDs, CDs. The player is expected to be compatible with all existing Kaleidescape Servers; a pricey system that imports DVDs into a hard drive array for future playback.

The upcoming Blu-ray player will support the H.264 and VC-1 video codecs, in addition to MPEG-2, which is currently supported by all Kaleidescape Movie Players. Kaleidescape plans to release the player in 2009, saying that "it will be possible to import Blu-ray Discs (to the system) at that time."

The concept sounds very optimistic provided that the copy protection schemes of the Blu-ray format would definitely prohibit tranfering of premium video content on a hard drive, at least in theory. Of course, under circumstances, Kaleidescape's system could implement the so-called "Managed copy" technology included in the AACS protection of the Blu-ray format. Thought the technology has not yet been applied to all the Blu-ray movie releases, we would have to wait for some more years in order to enjoy such a concept.

"I believe there is a good possibility that "managed copy" will become a reality, said Michael Malcolm, founder and CEO of Kaleidescape. "It has been promised for a long time. The whole idea of managed copy is to permit the copying of the contents of the discs to hard drives. The Kaleidescape System is an ideal platform for such a thing because once it is "imported" into the Kaleidescape System, the movie cannot be exported to the Internet or even to local computers," Malcolm added.

In addition, Kaleidescape might have to wait until the AACS' sunset provisions for all analog outputs, including component outputs are applied (2012). Switching to digital outputs would allow for better control of high definition signal and of course, better protection against piracy. Protected digital outputs, such as HDCP-protected uncompressed digital video over HDMI have been already implemented in most CE devices.

Furthermore, Hollywood studios are unlikely to allow Kaleidescape to support Blu-ray, at least without charging consumers a fee for making a copy of a Blu-ray Disc using the player.

"I hope that the studios will wake up and start pushing for managed copy because it would give the consumers a big reason to buy Blu-ray Discs, and I think the result would be significantly increased sales," Malcolm said.

Kaleidescape had won a victory over the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD-CCA) last year, when a Superior Court judge ruled that the company's media server did not violate the CSS DVD protection technology. DVD-CCA had asked the court to force Kaleidescape to change its design or stop selling its server that stores hundreds of DVD movies on a hard drive array.

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