Escient's new FireBall DVDM-100, due early November at a suggested $1,999, marks the company's return to CD/DVD-management systems after an absence of about a year.
The company's previous model connected only to an Escient DVD megachanger, but the new model will connect to one DVD megachanger each from Sony and Pioneer and two from Kenwood. It will also connect to multiple Sony CD megachangers.
Up to three megachangers can be controlled from the single-zone device, which integrates with distributed-audio and home-control systems. Through its dial-up modem or Ethernet port, it streams Internet radio stations, including Radio Free Virgin, and Sirius Satellite Radio's Internet streaming service.
It offers a parental-control feature and five-channel analog outputs to support playback of DVD-Audio discs in the Kenwood DVD changers and SACD discs in Sony's DVD changer.
Disc information is downloaded via online connections to Gracenote's CDDB database and to Escient's OpenGlobe DVD database, which includes all North American non-adult title information and cover art.
When connected to an Ethernet network, it will access and play music stored on the recently released E-40 and E-120 hard-drive music servers, which deliver HD-stored music to up to four Ethernet-connected clients. The two servers also control connected CD megachangers. The clients, however, provide multizone access only to music stored on the server's hard drive.