updated 01:45 pm EST, Tue January 2, 2007
Escient Fireball Media Hub
Escient this afternoon announced that its Fireball FP-1 Media Manager for iPods has been released. The new dock makes the iPod part of an advanced home theater through automation and networking support. Both RS-232 and Ethernet ports are built in to control and share media from a dockable iPod with any attached stereo or TV,including those connected to other FireBall devices on the home network. The use of the iPod as a direct source for local content makes the FP-1 one of the few media hubs that can play Apple's FairPlay audio and video standards across a network, according to the company. A TV-based interface lets owners choose content from across the room.
The iPod is not absolutely necessary for the device, Escient says: even when no iPod is attached, the FP-1 streams Internet radio or the unprotected music collections of networked Macs and Windows PCs in AAC, FLAC, MP3, PCM or WMA formats. A USB port is also present to synchronize an iPod with a host computer. The company retails the new FireBall with iPod dock for $600 from Crutchfield and also offers a stripped-down edition without the dock for $500.