Escient has launched several new FireBall media management products, including three new models in the MX Series; and the new FP-1 Music Manager, which features a universal dock for seamless integration with the widely popular iPod player.

Distributed in Australia by Audio Products Australia the new products are expected to be on sale here early in 2007. The new iPod docking station will be available in December

The MX Series media management products feature internal hard drives, but can also work with high-capacity DVD/CD changers for the storage of physical DVDs and CDs. These can then be managed via the on-screen user interface.

The entry-level MX-111 provides a 160 GB internal hard drive, and offers support for up to 400 changer-based discs.  The mid level MX-531 ups the hard drive space to an ample 500 GB, and the disc support to 1,200 discs. For the music afiocianado, Escient offers the high-end MX-752, which boasts a massive 750 GB hard drive, and support for up to 2,000 discs. This model also adds a pair of independent video ouputs for watching the same movie or two different movies in two rooms of the home (when used with the FireBall MP-200 media player).

The MX Series models also include new software features, like a “jukebox” play mode that allows the user to queue up song selections while listening to another song; AAC audio decoding; new user interface themes; international support for five different languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian); improved web interfaces; a new artist music guide view; a new hierarchical music guide view; and new third-party support modules for Crestron, AMX, RTI, and Philips remote control systems.

“As Escient celebrates our tenth anniversary, we are excited to offer a new line of FireBall media managers and zone players that bring all the great features people have come to expect from Escient, with new performance capabilities and added flexibility at attractive price points for building networked home entertainment systems,” said Nick Papadatos of Audio Products Australia  “As an example, our new FireBall MX-series all feature DVD management, allowing a customer who might presently only want music management capabilities to easily add a DVD changer anytime in the future.”

Escient is also introducing the FireBall ZP-1 Zone player  which provides additional audio zones for FireBall music servers. It provides each room or “zone” with an independent on-screen TV user interface, full remote control capabilities, and digital audio music streams when networked with an Escient FireBall music server or desktop PC.  It is scheduled for availability in December.

Also on the new product roster is the FireBall FP-1 music manager, which adds iPod integration to the equation via a universal dock. Available in December. FP-1 is also a digital networked music player, allowing the user to stream music from any FireBall music server or PC/Mac using the free FireBall-PC music server software. Built-in networking features also allow other FireBalls to access, browse, and play tunes from the connected iPod, including Apple FairPlay protected music purchased from the iTunes Music Store.  It comes with a built-in USB pass-through connector that connects an iPod to the PC without the need for an additional dock.

The FP-1 also boasts two-way RS-232 and Ethernet control; discrete IR remote codes; multiple IR code banks; and built-in software updating over the Internet.

“The FireBall FP-1 is a unique value-added home entertainment solution that unlocks the power of the Apple iPod experience for any Mac or PC owner, delivering a rich full-featured Fireball experience,” added Sepaniak. “It’s truly an unprecedented value proposition for anyone who wants to get more enjoyment out of their iPod, and offers the potential to enhance the iPod experience even further with multi-zone capabilities by connecting to existing Escient Fireball systems.”

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