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HDS Media Servers

BenNat

Active member
Has anyone tried the HDS (4K/3D 40tb SSD KODI/Plex i7 Haswell Media Server NAS/HTPC w/ Windows 8.1- $4799) systems that are commonly advertised on eBay, especially when searching for K systems? Thoughts/reviews?
 

HiFiGuy1

Well-known member
Authorized Kaleidescape Dealer
Ben,
I realize it isn't 40TB, but an actual, legitimate Kaleidescape Alto is only $2495. They'll have a 4K version soon enough, too. I would guess at that time, they may also be employing larger 6-8TB drives, as well. That system you mention is basically $5K. That's two Altos, with their combined space and superior interface, plus the obvious benefit of two zones for display.

SSD, in my opinion, is wasted on media servers. The boot drive, maybe, but for storage it's unnecessary. A typical SATA 3 drive can do 6Gbps, and the Blu-ray spec only calls for 54 Mbps, if I remember correctly. So a SATA 3 drive can already transfer data over 100x faster than is required by Blu-ray now, and honestly, we're not going to see a format in our lifetimes that taxes the current SATA 3 rate. Even if 4K required 200Mbps, a SATA 3 drive could support 30 simultaneous streams right now, not allowing for overhead, and probably 20-25 even with overhead. And that's one drive, not allowing for potential advantages for RAID.

If the goal is to find a K system equivalent, if there is such a thing, at a bargain price, I am just saying this may not meet the bargain part, now that K hardware can be had relatively cheaply.
 

cinelife

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I think it's fair to say that the owner's I know, and myself, purchased our K systems based on the user experience K provides, and in that sense, there really isn't anything to compare against (IMO).




Jim
 

iansilv

Well-known member
What Jim said. These systems make movie watching so much more enjoyable because they simply work. Any of these knockoff systems that claim to copy bluray or dvd are using a version of anydvd. There will always be annoyances and incompatibilities, and they will crop up with new disks. My K system just works- and it works for my wife and kids too. Every time. Immediately. Without fail.
 

andrej770

Well-known member
The objectivity in the comments is to be commended. lol First, K's systems are nothing but specialized PC's themselves with a customized RAID controller. Yes, I dropped the same $25-35K on my K system, but its foolish to think that in todays world, where technology advances daily, that K's HW can't be matched by newer technology. No, it doesn't look like a K, no it doesn't have K's interface, what else is it missing? K's experience, hmmm. OK! :) AND? My point is this, though its not a K, it IS a FULL PC, it IS user-upgradeable, you CAN place your own MP3 collection on the server to be served throughout the home, you don't require specialized players to play the video (put it in a rack with a Crestron setup and away you go), you CAN stick the latest 8TB drives in it NOW :) - no waiting for HD certification years after a product comes out to justify the higher price, and lastly, its not trying to be a K, so its not a copycat nor a knockoff AND I can upgrade the OS with my community and add my own features. And who wants a function-limited Alto? Not me!

No matter how you slice it, K will get caught up to eventually. K's a PC with a webserver and a custom UI. If we are objective we will see this. K is the Apple of movie servers while HDS and the rest are the Windows. Now, which is most popular and used the most in the world. Nuff said! :) Lastly, if any HW is setup correctly, and the person that sets it up knows what they are doing, it will "just work". Just working is not limited to K. Their price allows us to demand that it "just work", just like I expect my BMW B7 Alpina to "just work"! Just my OBJECTIVE opinion.

Andre'
 

cinelife

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Objectivity?? This is the K owner's forum!:D

Seriously, the OP asked if anyone had experience with that product. Given that those that posted made no mention of such experience, an objective opinion could not be rendered. Instead, they posted their general "thoughts," as requested by the OP.

In my case, I mentioned the user interface as my primary reason for owning K, and it's this part of K that I find creates a unique experience, and justifies my ownership. We all understand that hardware is just hardware, the parts of which are not difficult locate, nor to put together. Not even K claims any uniqueness to the hardware, it's their numerous software patents that create the IP behind the company's value. Their products are priced based on the operational needs of the company, needs that include supporting 60+ employees, more than half of which are engineers. If you like what their products do, and can afford to buy in, then buy in, and if you think the cost is too high, then look for an alternative. Those of us that have historically worked with some of the alternatives, and prefer to own a K system, have already displayed our "objectivity.":)




Jim
 

andrej770

Well-known member
Jim, Don't be offended. I'm entitled to my opinion. There is no requirement that you agree. Additionally, if you don't have a HDS system, you can't be objective. I just so happen to have both. Silo-mindedness is the rave, I get it, but I just don't subscribe to it. And I guess asking a question about non-K equipment in the Alternatives to Kaleidescape sub-forum should always elicit non-objective "thoughts". That sure is assuring. :)
 
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cinelife

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Not offended at all my friend.:)

You are also correct about the purpose of this thread. Where we differ (as reasonable minds can do), is the need to measure up to your definition of being "objective." Those members posted their opinions, they didn't state nor imply that their comments were meant to be objective. Without stated past experience, or current ownership with a K alternative, it is understood that their comments are not objective from a comparison standpoint, and I did not gather from their posts that they intended them to be objective. So...I just found it odd that you would attack their lack of objectivity, as opposed to just posting your own, more qualified and completely objective viewpoint as a multiple system owner. Nothing more is, or was intended, and I'm certainly NOT dismissing your comments, which I think are valid and worthy of discussion in this thread.

Please don't be offended.:D



Jim
 

mpierson

Well-known member
So, to the original question, would you recommend the HDS? Which benefits, if any, does it have above a purely self built machine?
 

cinelife

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My personal experience involved evaluating two aspects of these Media Servers, the first was the interface, and in short I found the Windows based systems to be lacking when compared to K's interface. By lacking I mean, I found it functional, but slower, with less control over the content. But it did work. The second aspect was loading my content, and in this regard it's best to go to the HDS site and read what is required/recommended for ripping content to the Media Server. You will find the usual caveats about why not all BR are created equal, and why you may not get all of the content to rip correctly, or with full rez, etc. etc.. I just didn't have the time to play at that level. I wanted a simple solution, and that's what I found with K.

On a separate note, at a minimum, 25% of our clients are people that have gone the "I can do it myself" route and ended up owning K. They may be out there, but I have not met anyone that left K for some other solution. Admittedly, there are the folks that just love to play with tech, and get some orgasmic satisfaction out of ripping a disc, and I suppose for them K would just be too simple, and not enough fun. I get that.

There is of course the monetary side as well, but that doesn't speak to the technology, only the ability to buy it.



Jim
 

andrej770

Well-known member
So, to the original question, would you recommend the HDS? Which benefits, if any, does it have above a purely self built machine?

Absolutely, I'd recommend an HDS system for the reasons I mentioned in my earlier post. My family loves the K system, as do I. But having to wait on K as technology advances pass K by gets old and expensive. Ripping movies has been around longer than K. They automated the process "rippers" have done for years. They found a niche, sign some agreements, violated them and now their new systems can't rip. While all along HDS type systems don't need permission from any studio, the "community" manages a well maintained library of meta data and images for any movie available on DVD or Blu-Ray. I'm not dissing K at all, my point is, there are viable alternatives to K. For people that never get to experience K, HDS is a great alternative, substantially cheaper, more customizable, easily upgraded, less proprietary and "community" supported. The only "community" I know of for K is this forum. (Thanks Josh).

On the point of self-built vs HDS, if you have the skill, you can do your own HDS type system. It's not rocket science, check YouTube! Lol

Again, just MY opinion from MY experience.

Andre
 

mpierson

Well-known member
You're right, self-built isn't rocket science, however it can often be painful, time consuming and lacking in reliable automation.

I've been running self built ripping systems for years and currently have a NAS and Plex set up, in addition to a smallish K system.

So my question is, does HDS make any of this easier? Perhaps not to the "Insert disc and forget" level of Kaleidescape, but enough to make it worth my while investing in it above my own set up?

Genuinely interested because whilst I love my Kaleidescape system, I'm not sure I can justify the cost of scaling it up to the size I'd like, but I'd be interested in a perhaps less convenient alternative which still does at least some of the heavy lifting for me.

From what I can see on the HDS site, I'm not sure it offers anything beyond what I have, for instance no automation to manage the ripping process, which is still left to the user. Am I wrong?
 

cinelife

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Andre, I woke up with a clearer head today (meaning I actually slept more than two hours), and in re-reading your initial comment the "mod" side of me overreacted. I'm always trying to maintain friendly dialogue in thread discussions, and in particular insure members voice disagreement with fact based statements, not opinion based statements (other than to voice a different opinion). Basically, attack the message, and not the messenger. I wrongly put your comments in the latter category, and responded accordingly. I was wrong, and I apologize.

Thanks for your valued contributions to the forum!



Jim
 

Yetis

Well-known member
I have tried making my own setup in the past 24tb in two severs at one point . Why I went to k. The ripping was just a disaster and a moving target. I copied the entire disk, and owned all my content, so no violations in my mind. The legal position of the companies providing the software was and is always in question. Then, players that can replay the entire disk with full menu is now impossible as far as I am aware. This might have changed, but has been the issue in the past. There are also always issues with new disks and the playback software providers aren't always that responsive. Finally, just not family friendly.




I will add that I take issue with your view that K servers are nothing unique. There are actually proprietary hardware components wishin a k server. I believe the raid card and the hard drive sensor
 

andrej770

Well-known member
You're right, self-built isn't rocket science, however it can often be painful, time consuming and lacking in reliable automation.

I've been running self built ripping systems for years and currently have a NAS and Plex set up, in addition to a smallish K system.

So my question is, does HDS make any of this easier? Perhaps not to the "Insert disc and forget" level of Kaleidescape, but enough to make it worth my while investing in it above my own set up?

Genuinely interested because whilst I love my Kaleidescape system, I'm not sure I can justify the cost of scaling it up to the size I'd like, but I'd be interested in a perhaps less convenient alternative which still does at least some of the heavy lifting for me.

From what I can see on the HDS site, I'm not sure it offers anything beyond what I have, for instance no automation to manage the ripping process, which is still left to the user. Am I wrong?


Nothing in life that is worth having, but cost less, will be pain free. We're spoiled searching for easy. Remove that word from the conversation. I paid big bucks to K because they made it "easy". Being an audiophile is not an easy job. Everyone's preferences are so different. The average everyday person will probably never own a K system nor a HDS type system. This is expensive entertainment tailored to exactly how you want it so tailor it but remember tailoring anything will always be painful because no one knows you like you.

I own an HDS system and self-built XBMC system and they were easy to build and are easy to maintain, for me. But then again, I am a true bit head.

Here is the solution, don't compare HDS to K, find the solution that meets your budget and preferences. If you want easy, take some money out of your 401K and go buy a K system. Lol. OR, because newer technology is available to do the same on your own, albeit with some pain, research the best way to do it either self-built or rely on HDS. However, if you are not really into understanding each component or software or their update processes or its too time consuming, K is the way. I have both because I like the details of what is happening and love having the know-how, but the family like the easiness. There is the balance.

Andre'
 

mpierson

Well-known member
That all makes sense. I'm quite clear on what K's USP is over HDS/self-built which is why I don't compare them and choose to have *both* in my set up. I tend to import all the stuff I prize most to Kaleidescape and save on storage with the rest to my Plex set up.

With that out of the way, I was more interested in your views as both a HDS owner and a self-building bit-head :) on what advantages HDS has over self-built? After all self-built is 'not rocket science'. Why pay the premium for HDS if building it yourself is easy?
 

andrej770

Well-known member
That all makes sense. I'm quite clear on what K's USP is over HDS/self-built which is why I don't compare them and choose to have *both* in my set up. I tend to import all the stuff I prize most to Kaleidescape and save on storage with the rest to my Plex set up.

With that out of the way, I was more interested in your views as both a HDS owner and a self-building bit-head :) on what advantages HDS has over self-built? After all self-built is 'not rocket science'. Why pay the premium for HDS if building it yourself is easy?

Great questions. I bought the HDS for a vacation home where I won't be all the time and it gets rented out so I don't want to have to maintain it as much, plus I needed to move quickly to get a system in per the wife :). I have the K at my main home and my self-built at a condo we own and spend a lot of time at in Miami. The cool thing about the HDS and self-built is I can Remote Desktop into both remotely and update and fix any issues. I import everything in all locations when I have the time.

I don't see any real advantages of HDS over self-built other than convenience and how quickly you can get up and operational. HDS system are ready when you purchase them, while I finding the right video card, hard drives, motherboard, case, and configuring the software with all the sources and customizations can take time (but it's a lot of fun).

Andre
 

iansilv

Well-known member
...They automated the process "rippers" have done for years. They found a niche, sign some agreements, violated them and now their new systems can't rip....

Wrong. You are just wrong. This is an over-simplification of an incorrect understanding of the legal battle K fought. There is a great deall of commentary over on AVSforum about this so I won't rehash it here. But to say that K "signed some agreements, violated them" is simply incorrect.

Also- what do you mean "HDS has no such requirement"? While technically true, ripping disks is not legal with the tools HDS supplies. Additionally- you are saying the HDS community shares images of DVD and Blur-ray rips??

"...the "community" manages a well maintained library of meta data and images for any movie available on DVD or Blu-Ray..."

That is piracy. That is illegal.
 

andrej770

Well-known member
Wrong. You are just wrong. This is an over-simplification of an incorrect understanding of the legal battle K fought. There is a great deall of commentary over on AVSforum about this so I won't rehash it here. But to say that K "signed some agreements, violated them" is simply incorrect.

Also- what do you mean "HDS has no such requirement"? While technically true, ripping disks is not legal with the tools HDS supplies. Additionally- you are saying the HDS community shares images of DVD and Blur-ray rips??

"...the "community" manages a well maintained library of meta data and images for any movie available on DVD or Blu-Ray..."

That is piracy. That is illegal.

Call it what you want, the courts found that K violated the agreement they signed. I don't care what HDS does, they haven't been found to be in violation yet. And I am free to oversimplify my opinion as much as I feel. Your agreement IS NOT required. :D

Im also not here to police the "community". I guess that is.....your job!
 

HiFiGuy1

Well-known member
Authorized Kaleidescape Dealer
Call it what you want, the courts found that K violated the agreement they signed. I don't care what HDS does, they haven't been found to be in violation yet. And I am free to oversimplify my opinion as much as I feel. Your agreement IS NOT required. :D

Im also not here to police the "community". I guess that is.....your job!

So, we're getting into semantics here, but the reason that HDS and others of it's ilk haven't been "found in violation" is because they don't actually do anything without a third-party software, for which they claim no responsibility. Kaleidescape tried to do the right thing, and signed a contract to get the rights to allow for what they were doing, and the, in my opinion, capricious DVDCCA decided they didn't want to allow that anymore, and sued to remove previously granted rights. To my understanding, K didn't violate the agreement that was originally signed, but I could be wrong. The only person on this forum that I would trust to answer that definitively would be Jim, due to his unique relationship with K combined with the fact that he's an attorney by trade.
 
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