- On November 14, 2018
Ever wonder how other dealers are successful at selling and installing luxury cinemas and integrating Kaleidescape into their projects? We’re interviewing dealers across the country, finding out about their markets, their projects, and how Kaleidescape plays a role in their success.
This month, we spoke with David Daniels of Xssentials.
Daniels came to the custom integration industry by an atypical route. He was a pre-med student at Oklahoma University when the audio bug bit. “I was working my way through school at a stereo store back in 1977 where I became a manager. This was all back in the two-channel days, and I just fell in love with the stereo world. I eventually bought the company in 1980, and have been in love with it ever since.”
David Daniels and Mike Thul co-founded Xssentials in 2011. The company now has offices in Aspen, Denver, and Vail, Colorado, as well as in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. While it primarily services Colorado and Wyoming, Xssentials has completed projects in 32 states and 14 countries.
The company has more than 100 employees. With that many bodies on the payroll, you can imagine that Xssentials completes a lot of projects in a year. “The mountain locations see more luxury projects and high-end refits. A typical luxury build-out includes a fully integrated system, where we are handling all the different technology categories in the home: lighting, shading, audio/video, HVAC, security, access control, and home theater,” Daniels said. “Our Denver location has a luxury and middle-market division, which touches 3,000 homes a year.”
How did you hear about Kaleidescape?
We have been a dealer since Michael Malcolm started Kaleidescape. I got to be friends with Michael and have kept with the company throughout the years. What initially attracted me was that it was a unique luxury product that solved the need for customers to have and maintain a library of films. The other solutions were just sloppy. Kaleidescape was the first foray into thinking about what is the user experience beyond just what is the collection of video. This was a customer-centric, well-thought-out design. Even today, there is nothing else like it.
If you want to have a true movie experience, Kaleidescape is the right solution. It delivers the best audio and video quality, provides access to exclusive content, and has an excellent UI. Plus, it delivers the high reliability that luxury customers expect and pay for.
For most of our customers, why would they care if they spent $25 for the best-quality experience versus $9 for lower-quality streaming off something else? That’s an easy sell. When you figure a typical family watches maybe two movies a week, why wouldn’t they spend an extra $20 to $30 a week to have the finest experience possible? It’s a no-brainer.
The audio quality improvements of watching a movie on Kaleidescape versus a streaming service are demonstrable. You don’t have to just tell the story—you can prove it, especially when you start talking about really immersive theaters with 7.2.4 and higher speaker counts. A cubic zirconia is not a diamond, and an Apple TV 4K or another streamer is absolutely not a Kaleidescape.
In the past 3 to 4 years, we’ve been seeing a renaissance of dedicated spaces—fun rooms, theaters, hangout spaces all wrapped into one. After the economic crash, the cost per square foot to build a dedicated home theater was so high and people were much more value-conscious, and they didn’t use the space enough to justify that expense. The entry price used to be around $500 per square foot for everything—acoustics, physically building the room, high-end projector, screen, speakers, electronics, control—but now you can deliver a great-quality basic experience starting around $30,000. And the Kaleidescape entry-level solution is the perfect add-on to provide the ultimate customer experience and differentiate the quality dealer who provides world-class products and services.
Multi-use versus dedicated rooms
We’re big proponents of multi-use spaces. These are good for the consumer and great for the industry. It has to be all about the family experience—the grandkids are coming over, getting the kids together. Our older generation of retirees thinks of that big entertainment space as “family time” and as a reason to get together. We need to integrate that space into their lives instead of creating a less-used dedicated space in the house. So, we ask, “How do we make it a better-used space?”
This is where you’d go to play, hang out, be by yourself, listen to a great piece of music, watch a movie with the family, play a video game, or whatever. If you can get a customer to think about the many ways they can use the space to enhance their lives, then they start getting excited about it.
If you really want people to have an amazing experience when watching a movie, or a concert, or just some content with beautiful aesthetics like Blue Planet, why should they have to go into a dark room, like they are going down into a cave, to experience that? With modern projectors and direct-view screens that put out so much light, it just isn’t necessary anymore. The room should be comfortable and relaxing, and not forcing them to sit in a dark theater seat for two-plus hours.
We just finished designing a two-tier theater, and there is a king-sized bed on each level with back rests. You crawl up into the bed and relax and have fun. It was my suggestion to think out of the box, and the interior designer fell in love with it. When most of us want to watch a movie, we want to go into our master bedroom because it’s comfortable. In this multi-purpose room, the whole family can be totally comfortable and experience much more than just movie night.
House-wide video viewing
I have started asking, “Where do you want to watch movies?” or, “Where do you enjoy a movie experience in your home?” You’ll get answers that are unique, like “my bedroom,” “my family room,” “my dedicated room,” etc. Just ask them where they’d like to watch movies, and then you say, “Great, we need X-number of Kaleidescape players, and you’ll get the best picture and sound at all these locations.” It is very easy to distribute video to each TV with new Kaleidescape players.
There are applications where a customer is better off with a centralized video-distribution system—say a large home with a lot of devices. But the demand from the customer today is that they want it simple, reliable, and adaptive. And our industry hears this as, “Make it complex, unreliable, and painful to support.” Some clients will need or want video switching, but it is becoming less necessary as distribution technology gets embedded in standalone devices. I want to eliminate systems where one component failure can bring the whole system down.