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  • Writer's pictureTom Curnin

Who makes the Best Movie Server?

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

When you ask "who makes the best movie server" it is important to look at all the options in detail, not just popular opinions. It is not related to the price, although the best may be the most expensive. If you really think about it, the genuine best, is never produced for the masses anyway-

Kaleidescape Menu On Home Theater Projection Screem
Who Makes The Best Movie Server?

Bravo AV of New Jersey is here to provide you with the best cinematic experience possible and that includes having the best media server. So, let's define what one is and then see why Kaleidescape is clearly the best.


  1. What is a media server?

  2. What is the difference between downloading and streaming?

  3. What you should consider before investing in a media server.

  4. Overview of the best DIY media server software options.

  5. Warnings about downloading and streaming content.

  6. What is Kaleidescape and why is it the best?

What is a media server?

A media server is a computer that stores and shares digital media such as music, photos, and videos. In addition, media servers can be used to save personal files such as documents and photos. This can free up space on devices such as laptops and smartphones. They can also be used to share files with other people on a network. A media server delivers files to devices such as computers, TVs, and smartphones with the right media server software.

A media server can be one of the following 1. A physical server like a PC with lots of hard drive space typically in the form of a NAS with third party media server software like Plex or Kodi. 2. Media Server Software, downloaded to a smart TV, mobile phone or mobile device that streams content from streaming media sites. 3. A purpose built all in one host device that has both storage for media content and software capabilities to navigate the software, like Kaleidescape.

What is the difference between streaming and downloading?


When you stream videos, you're watching it online in real time. That means instead of downloading the entire file to your device, you start watching it immediately. This can be done through various websites or apps that offer streaming content, or through streaming devices like smart TVs, gaming consoles, Amazon fire TV and digital media players that have media server software download capabilities. It's become a popular way to watch everything, especially since it's more convenient than waiting for a media file to download completely . You also don't have to worry about taking up storage space on a device.

Advantages: A. Instant viewing, no download time. B. No memory or other storage device needed. C. The ability to watch it across multiple devices connected to the local network.

Disadvantages: A. Getting an illegal copy. B. Losing WIFI or their web server crashing, which stops the fun entirely until either is fixed. C. The need to constantly update your software for different files, which is completely frustrating when you just want to simply sit and watch a film. D. Having to go to a different web server every time, fighting "pop-ups" and banners which can lead to viruses. E. Having to remember your login and password for multiple multiple streaming websites.


There are a few different ways that you can download media files. You can either download them through a paid service, such as Kaleidescape, or you can find free downloads through sites like BitTorrent. When you download a movie through a reputable paid service, you are paying to own the media file legally and avoid many of the pitfalls.

Advantages: A. You own the file and have access anytime without an internet connection. B. The movie will play in its entirety without disruption because it is stored locally. C. Highest quality audio and video playback available because it is not "watered down" for streaming. D. No need for constant software and codec updates.

Disadvantages: A. Need storage device. B. Can not be streamed to devices that are not on the local network.

Typical Home Movie Server Set Up With PC, Storage Server and  Network Router
Typical Home Movie Server Set Up

What should you consider before buying?

When choosing the best media server , it is important to consider the amount of storage needed. Some devices come with built-in storage, while others allow you to add network attached storage units. If you plan on storing a lot of hi-res media files, you will need a device with plenty of storage. Most media servers come with at least 1TB of storage. Bravo AV recommends at least 6T which can hold approximately 100 4K movies

Another important consideration is the type of media formats the software supports. Most devices support common media content such as AVI, MPEG, and WMV. However, some home media server software may also support less common media formats such as FLV, MOV, and MKV. If you plan on watching digital files that are not in one of these common formats, you will need to make sure that the streaming devices you choose supports the file format or the ability to watch live tv.

So which is the best Media Server?

Alright, so now that you have the basics of what a media server is. lets jump into the most popular ones like plex, Emby and Kodi, nvidia shield tv. Then we can have a clearer vision of why Kaleidescape is the best media server. The run of the mill "media servers" are mostly all the same with slight variations to the user interface, playable media files and add-on subscriptions. Keep in mind most of these systems are nothing more than software that you install on a computer or drive. This means that you will still need to purchase a computer and network attached storage and configure it to work. If you are not familiar with networking or installing media server software with codecs, you will need to hire a professional to get everything set up properly. There are a few home media server solutions that come with hardware and software. These are usually more expensive because of their simplicity and dependability, but definitely worth it! Especially if:

  • You want to avoid having to purchase a universal media server.

  • Deal with the hassle of updating media server software programs without dedicated support.

  • Want the best HD audio and video playback possible.

Lets look at some of the more mainstream solutions which only stream media.

Menu For Plex Movie Server On A Computer
Plex Movie Server Menu

1. Plex media server software is a popular solution that has been around for a while. It allows you to store your media collection or a large music library on your computer, and then stream them to a mobile device that has their web app installed. You can also use your Plex server to stream from online sources such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Fire TV. Paid streaming services are also available which gives you access to additional features, such as cloud storage and automatic transcoding. A Plex media server can be used on Android TV or Apple TV, smart TVs, computers, mobile phones, or tablet. It also makes a good music server as well.

2. If you're a movie lover, then you've probably heard of Stremio, a universal media server that lets you discover, organize, and watch videos from all over the internet. After you install Stremio, create your account and go to the "addon catalog" to install an addon you like from 50+ options. Next, you will visit the Board or Discover sections to explore video content. This can be used on smart TVs Android TV or Apple devices.

Screen shot of Emby Movie Server on TV Screen
Emby Movie Server Menu Screen Shot

3. Emby is another popular media server software that offers a variety of features for its users. It is a free and open source streaming service that allows users to store and play media on any streaming device, whether it be smart TVs, computers, mobile phones, or tablet. Emby also offers cloud storage, so users can access their media collection from anywhere or watch live tv. It is available on Windows, Linux, and OS X. You will need to buy and configure a home media server in order to download and store movies, concerts and shows. This is another good solution for mobile devices and Apple TV.

4. PlayOn is a PC application that provides a portal to streaming services, collected into their media server software. With PlayOn, you can stream videos from various online sources, and even record them to their media collection to watch offline later on any of your smart TVs.

Menu Screen Shot for Kodi Home Movie Server
Kodi Home Server Menu

5. Kodi is free media server software geared toward more advanced users. It is used for video streaming but is more customizable than an Emby or a Plex universal media server making it very difficult to use. They have a large media library of add-ons that allows you to expand its functionality and record live tv. Unfortunately they have attracted negative attention due to the availability of third-party plugins that provide access to pirated content.

In our opinion Plex is the best media server software from the list above, but it is not close to being the best all in one solution.


  1. While the download and use of any of these applications is not illegal, they do make the illegal sharing and viewing of copyrighted media files easier. They also allow you to stream your content to whoever you like, so if someone illegally downloaded a movie and placed it on their media server software, it would be available to all their server users. The same holds true if someone uploaded it with malware or a virus, you will get it.

  2. Many of these software solutions have no dedicated support. This means you need to visit unmonitored forums and find help from complete strangers. Some challenges include finding the best storage solution for your media server software, which "addon" you should use to acquire media and what website you should use to get your files. Most of these sites are very dark places without any security certificates.

Each of the solutions above have their own unique set of media server capabilities and benefits but the best media server is from Kaleidescape.

Kaleidescape Movie Server with Menu in the background
What Is a Kaleidescape Media Server

What is Kaleidescape?

This company has created the pinnacle of home movie servers with an extensive library, offering the only high quality, all in one solution with simplicity. This means you get one of their purpose built media players with storage and best media server software. This component is then connected to their secure web server. The Kaleidescape solution takes away all the guess work on compatibility, programing and future updates as well as having the best in class for audio and video playback. You also get the best dedicated customer care in the industry should you need help or have any questions.

Media Store

They also offer an online store where you can purchase or rent content. Their Store offers content in 4K Ultra HD resolution with HDR10+ and Dolby Atmos audio, and the are the only service to offer these hi-res formats. You can also browse the Store for new releases, top-rated movies, and genre collections.

In addition to movies, their Store offers a growing selection of TV shows. You can purchase or rent entire seasons of popular shows. Their Store is constantly adding new titles, so there's always something new to watch.

Who is it for?

This premium media server is for the most discerning film lovers that want the best quality and easiest way to enjoy digital movies, concerts and shows. It's a great choice for anyone who doesn't want to deal with the hassle of managing files on a computer or other media server devices. Their solution comes with everything you need to get started, including a user-friendly interface. Plus, it's backed by a company with a strong reputation for quality and customer service.

Tell me more

To start, Kaleidescape has always been obsessed with giving its customers the highest level of audio and video quality, with their final product, almost matching what comes out of a studio editing bay.

How do they do it?

Kaleidescape's mezzanine files are the highest quality possible, ensuring that you'll always have the best viewing experience. Their agreements with the top studios ensure that you'll always have access to the latest movies in the highest quality. Transcoding these files into their proprietary format guarantees that you'll be able to download and store them directly on your media server. This means that you'll never have to worry about losing your media library or dealing with poor quality playback.

Highest Quality Video From Any Media Server
Highest Quality Video

What is the quality (file size) difference between Kaleidescape and others?

When you download a movie in Ultra HD, it's not just the resolution that gets better, the sound does too! If we look at one of today’s largest video files like Lawrence of Arabia in a 4k mezzanine formatted file with HDR10 and Dolby Vision certification, it is just under 115 Gigabytes as opposed to the streaming version, which is only 49 Gigabytes. You can only imagine the quality difference between the two digital files.

What does this mean for audio playback?

If you're looking for the best possible sound quality, this player is the only way to go. This is because their players use lossless Dolby Atmos TrueHD technology, which delivers significantly better surround sound than compressed, lossy "Dolby Digital Plus", used by other streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV and Apple devices. So if you want to experience your favorite content the way they were meant to be heard, their solution is your answer.

What does this mean for video playback?

Kaleidescape’s 4K HDR hardware and software provides stunning picture detail, often superior to that of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. This makes it an excellent choice for those who want the convenience of offline viewing without sacrificing picture and sound quality.

What about added features?

Their proprietary software is impressive, and it's not just about enhancement—it's about presenting the movie as the director intended, on and off the screen. After processing the raw mezzanine file, they transcode that file into a proprietary secure format. They also supplement the file with added features like aspect ratio and other programmable options that give you a true cinematic experience. These features are embedded into the file, which is shared with all of your home theater devices. This means your home theater will know when the credits roll and can start to bring up the lights. It can be programmed to dim the lights when you press play, or turn on all the lights when you hit the pause button. Metadata also allows motorized masking systems to automatically position light-absorbing masks into the places immediately above, below, and to the sides of the projected picture to ensure that unused portions of the screen completely disappear (These are usually pitch-black-borders). This maximizes the contrast, resulting in a more vibrant and impressive picture.

The Best Movie Server With The Best Uncompressed Audio
The Best Movie Server With The Best Uncompressed Audio
Finding What You Love

We love watching movies, and here at Bravo AV We've tested all kinds of different universal media server systems for sorting and finding great movies, and none of them come close to the Kaleidescape experience. The store has a huge catalog of over 13,000 titles, and is growing all the time. They have 18 different categories and 80 different collections. This makes it easy to find the right show for any occasion. Browsing through scenes is a another great way to revisit some of your favorite on screen moments. With thousands of titles available, you're sure to find something to suit your mood. Whether you're looking for a quick entertainment fix or wanting to show off your home cinema setup to friends and family, this is a great feature! You can even create your own favorite scenes and catalog them. The store has 3 categories for viewing

The Store: • Movies • TV • Concerts

Don’t want to spend a lot of time building you libraries? check out "collections"!

Managing your library and expanding your system

When it comes to managing your movie collection, this system is second to none. With the ability to link up to five systems together, it's easy to keep track of your library no matter where you are. And with the built-in interface, you can decide which files to download to each machine and where to send them when you purchase them. You can also purchase and download them to multiple devices, as many as five homes to be exact. That way, you can always have your favorite films on hand, no matter where you are.

Unmatched Video Resolutions From Kaleidescape The Best Home Movie Server
Unmatched Video Resolutions From Kaleidescape
What about storage?

Kaleidescape provides a variety of storage options to suit the needs of every customer. For those with large collections, there is the Terra or Compact Terra, which offer ample space for movies and other content. For those who want instant access to their content, their home media server software provides a convenient way to manage a large collections. And for those who want the flexibility to add or remove content from their hard drive, their cloud offers a simple way to do so. No matter what your storage needs are, they have a simple solution that will fit your collection.

Screen shots of Kaleidescape Mobile App
Kaleidescape Mobile App
Mobile App

This system also comes with its own dedicated mobile app for remote access! This makes it easy to find and purchase movies, anytime and anywhere. With the in-app remote, you can control your home cinema experience with simple swipes and taps. You'll also receive timely notifications about new movie recommendations, pre-orders, or service alerts for your system. You can also receive text or email notifications when your file is ready to purchase or it has downloaded completely.

Coordinate a night of entertainment with friends!

Looking to set up a movie night with friends and family? Check out the options in the Kaleidescape mobile app. You can share a link with the details of the media with your contacts, so everyone can help decide which movie to watch. Just look for the share icon at the top right of the screen when viewing the details. Select your preferred messenger or email app, and send away! Your contacts will receive video thumbnails and link to the details. Now everyone can get ready for an enjoyable movie night.

Browser Interface

The browser interface is used to view and edit titles in your library. It must be accessed from a PC or Mac on the same network as your System. To access the web interface, open a web browser and enter the IP address of the System.

An award winning investment

Prized the world over, Kaleidescape has won over 60 awards including "Top Pick" –Sound and Vison, "Best video server" –residential tech and "Best Luxury Home Cinema Solutions Provider" –LUX Life Magazine for its industry-leading hardware.

Martin Scorsese Say Kaleidescape is essential to his home theater
Kaleidescape is the film makers choice
In Summary

Kaleidescape has the best-picture and sound you will ever experience. It truly is the best in class for watching lossless 4K, HD, Dolby Atmos, and DTS-X encoded movies and concerts! We feel the bigger your screen is, the greater the advantage you will see. It is easily visible on a 75” or larger panel, but when you get into 100” and up, the difference is just huge. Kaleidescape provides the most accurate colors that we have seen from any device to date. Every color looks pure, and there is no noise or artifacts whatsoever. They have done an excellent job with its user interface as well. Everything is extremely intuitive, and we love how fast the player boots up and starts playing immediately. If you invested in a private home cinema room, you are not getting the full experience until you put in a Kaleidescape media server.

QC and warranty info

Because their products are built with intention and have a stringent quality control program their product care has a 5-year warrantee. This speaks volumes in an industry where the norm for electronics is 1 to 2 years.

Features and benefits Summary

• Vast library.

• The best source: With any AV system the source is critical. They provide the absolute best consumer content possible. For the person that values high quality Kaleidescape is the answer.

• Ease of use. Very well designed user interface available on your phone/tables, PC and in your theater with the on screen display.

• When in your theater you can look at your content in one of two ways

  1. List view- Can filter and sort as a text list.

  2. Cover Art – Graphic depiction of you collection which rearranges it self depending on what title you stop on.

• Single vendor solution.

• Integrates with all major control systems like Savant

• Proven track record of reliable solutions

• Super fast. After you have decided what movie to watch and you push play there are no warning notices and your movie begins in about 6 seconds.

• Superior Build quality. Kaleidescape has taken the art and science of experience and created a luxury product providing you with the ultimate movie watching experience.

Kaleidescape elevates every component in your theater (room)

• Hear the Difference

o With an audio bitrate 10x higher than streaming services, this drastically elevates your processor, amplifiers, speakers, and room treatments.

• See the Difference

o With a video bitrate 8x higher than other media server software, this elevates your video processor, projector, and screen to produce lifelike clarity and precision.

• Experience the Difference

o Their players integrate with your home automation to dim lights, close shades, and adjust seating when the titles roll, and automatically screen mask to match the ratio of each film.

Bravo is a Authorized Kaleidescape Dealer

We have one in our showroom ready to demo for you.

For Qualified clients we have loaner program so you can experience the wonders of their media server right in your own home.

While this article is very informative, nothing beats seeing it yourself. Please call us to see up and appointment to experience our home theater showroom.

This article is part of The Ultimate Guide To Home Theaters


Bravo AV 80 Morristown Rd. Bernardsville, NJ 07924 Click To Email Us Tel. (908) 953-0555 For additional resources, please visit our Home Theater web page. Tom Curnin, the owner of Bravo AV, is a CEDIA Professional Designer, a certified THX Level 1 home theater professional and a member of the Home Acoustic Alliance trained to Level II. You can contact Tom directly at (908) 953-0555 or through email at


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