Automatically recognize, catalog, and control DVDs and CDs Onscreen, powerful Escient graphical interface Manage up to 1209 discs stored in mega-disc changers Sort by DVD/CD cover, movie or music, category/genre, advanced parental controls, and more Taps into Escient's movie databases and Gracenote's™ CDDB® Music Recognition Service for information on over 15,000 movies and 20 million songs Supports progressive video and multi-channel audio pass through from DVD changers Create and access custom CD playlists Streams over 120 iRadio stations, including 60 Sirius Satellite Radio stations Read about favorite movies, music, artists, and purchase new DVDs/CDs Compatible with FireBall, FireBall E-40 and E-120 Digital Music Managers Streams iRadio and MP3s to multiple users/rooms Decode/playback of MP3s from 96 to 320kbps Play up to 4 simultaneous, independent audio streams in a system by adding 4 DVDM-100s to a FireBall Digital Music Manager Each user gets an independent interface to MP3 and iRadio music Play a DVD movie from a DVD changer connected to DVDM-100 while listening to music in another room Four RS-232 ports for a combination of DVD/CD changers, external control systems and touch panels Bi-directional protocol, and example programming modules on web for download Compatible with AMX, Crestron, Niles, Philips and more (IR, TCP/IP and RS-232) Supports Escient S-Video touch panel Built in 10/100 Ethernet and 56K modem
I always knew there had to be some way for me to manage my large CD collection, and I was so happy when I discovered the Escient Fireball series of products. The DVDM-100 was my first foray into the world of disc management, and I was hooked instantly. However, I found that while the DVDM-100 had a lot of really great features, Escient makes some other products that suit my needs even better. When I was using the DVDM-100, while I enjoyed it immensly, I kept wishing that it had certain features. I since found that the Escient E2 series is what I really needed, and have since traded up.
In a nutshell, the DVDM-100 is a plain black box with a power button and IR reciever on the front which allows a user to connect up to 3 CD and/or DVD Megachangers (read- 200 to 400 disc changers from Kenwood, Pioneer, or Sony), to manage a possible total of 1200 discs, CD's or DVD's. It does this through an ethernet or telephone connection and a display output onto a video monitor or through a PC internet browser. It is NOT a stand-alone product, and without the MegaChangers the box is of no intrinsic value. However, when coupled with one or more of these changers, the many features are revealed!
First off, mine is connected to 3 Sony 400 disc CD changers. The models used are not important, and can be mixed and matched with some limitations. You must use either all Sony, all Pioneer, or all Kenwood, and within the Sony line, you must use either all CD only changers or all DVD changers, as one uses the S-link interface and the other uses RS-232.
What the Escient Fireball DVDM-100 does is "read" all the discs in all the changers, goes to the internet to find the information for these discs through the Gracenote CDDB database and others, and stores this information in its hard drive. It automatically categorizes music and movies to pre-determined classes, and stores all the information, including album cover art, for display on a TV or PC. What this allows a user to do is put all thier CD's into changers and leave them there. If you want to listen to classical, just use the Escient remote and the on-screen display, and click "classical". Blues? Rock? Same thing. Want to listen to a group in particular? Type in the first few letters of the band name, and all the CD's in that range will show up (ex: type TO, and TOm Petty will be displayed) The user does not HAVE to enter any information as to music type, songs, etc. WHAT? I don't like Tom Petty being under the classification "Rock"? Okay, while the classes of music are pre-determined from the information on CDDB, you can edit it to your heart's content. You can put Pink Floyd in classical music if you wish, or create a category called "Pink Floyd". You can set it up like a jukebox to play just certain songs. You can view music and movies by Album Title, Artist, Song Title, or even by Cover Art! You can set up permanent playlists, add or delete songs, or just hit random play and hear music that you haven't listened to in ages. And all this is just the CD management portion!
The DVDM-100 also can manage DVD's in the same manner with attached DVD megachangers, though I haven't used it for such. It also has extensive internet radio capabilities, and can play internet radio stations without the use of a PC, and will display all the information on a television or monitor. Did I mention that it does not add any coloration of the sound or picture, and that the digital audio and video signals are passed through without any degradation from the original. There is no signal processing in the box, only switching. How good is the recognition? Out of 1097 CD's I loaded into 3 changers, only 2 were not recognized, and one of those was found when searching again. The cover art is not always correct, but is easily changed if errors are found. There is so much this thing does that I can't really write a full review, and even the 120+ page owners manual does not go into complete detail. Escient also provides frequent software updates via internet that add even more functionality!
What if you have more than 1200 discs? I'm glad you asked! You can add up to 3 more of the fireballs, for a total of 4800 CD's/DVD's, and they will integrate seemlessly using one display and remote control for all of them. Need even more? Well, the DVDM-100 is one of Escient's entry level models, and you can get units that control 5 changers!