Escient FireBall DVDM-100?? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 455 Old 11-30-2003, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I tried to search for a thread on this but came up with nothing.

Does anyone use it?
If so, pros / cons please.

What dvd changer is being used with them?
My local dealer says he doesn't think I'd be happy with the changers it supports.

Does anyone else offer something comparable to this?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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post #2 of 455 Old 12-01-2003, 03:20 PM
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Here's an excerpt from the DVDM-100's sell sheet:

"Supported DVD/CD Changers (one brand supported per DVDM-100):
Up to 3 Sony DVP-CX777ES DVD changers
Up to 3 Kenwood DV-5900M or DV-5050M DVD changers (3 daisy-chained off one port, no more than 3 changers supported on one DVDM-100)
Up to 3 Pioneer DV-F07 changers available with future software upgrades (one changer per RS-232 port)
Up to 3 Sony CDP Series CD only changers"

As of today (I called Escient this morning as I too am interested in the DVDM-100) the unit has not yet started shipping. The sales rep I spoke with said they expected it to ship any day now (although on a call I placed to them last Monday, I was told they expected the units to ship by last Wednesday so we'll see). The manual, which should answer a lot of more questions about the unit's capabilities and functions, will be posted to Escient's site on the day the units start shipping.

As far as I can tell from the sell sheet and quick setup guide, the unit should offer some cool functions. Beyond providing a single database for a movie collection spread across several changers, it will also offer movie info and synopses from a database that has been built up for several years now via Escient's PowerPlay product. What remains to be seen is how seemlessly the unit functions and how good the GUI is. I have an original FireBall and I've never been too impressed with the speed of the GUI. It's a little sluggish for my taste. However, that may be less of an issue for a movie server since you probably won't be changing movie titles as frequently as music titles. Of course, one of the built-in delays will be the load time of the changers while they load a specific disc.

As for alternatives, ReQuest Multimedia is about to release their own unit very similar to the DVDM-100. That unit is called the VRQ 1 and is set to be released sometime in Q1 2004. There are fewer details available about this unit as some of the specs are still being finalized (told to me by a tech support rep at ReQuest) but it will also interface with DVD changers. So far, the only changer it is said to support is the Sony DVP-CX777ES. The VRQ 1 will support 4 changers compared to 3 for the DVDM-100 and the VRQ 1 will stream music from ReQuest's own music server like the DVDM-100 can stream music from a FireBall unit.

One thing to note is that if you are looking to integrate a unit like this into a Crestron or AMX setup, I've read on the web that Escient doesn't support those as well as ReQuest units. Additionally, ReQuest offers web-based control interfaces for their units and even interfaces you can use on a handheld PocketPC with wifi.

Hopefully, we'll start to see reviews soon. One AVS member I know of has a DVDM-100 on order and will be posting his thoughts and reviews in the following thread as soon as he takes delivery and has a chance to play with it:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=329135

Hope all this helps.

Jeff

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post #3 of 455 Old 12-02-2003, 06:53 AM - Thread Starter
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rgbyhkr,

This is one time when the quality, not the quantity, of replies has proved to be the most helpful. I appreciate you taking the time.


Like I mentioned in my post above, my local dealer made the remark that I wouldn't be happy with the picture quality of the DVD changers that are supported by the DVDM. I'm currently using a Denon-1600 and plan to put this into my home theater system(not started yet). Looks like I'll probably end up with a Runco RP, if I decide on DLP, maybe something simple like the Sanyo PLV-70 if I go LCD(mainly for the size of picture I'm interested in).

Have you considered this? Have you ever seen the picture on the supported changers? If so, what are you using and how do they compare?

I really want to use this unit to feed the 3 major TV's in the house, and keep everything clean, but I don't want to spend a fortune on a HT and then compromise the picture for flexibility.

Any and all thoughts, ideas, suggestions welcome.

Danny
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post #4 of 455 Old 12-02-2003, 01:36 PM
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Danny,

I have the Pioneer DV-F07 and while it's a descent unit, it's antiquated by today's standards as it doesn't have progressive outputs. The Kenwood and Sony changers listed do. While I haven't used either of those, there are lots of posts about each unit here in the DVD section of the forum. My feeling is that any changer option will not be as good as its top-end, single-disc brethren. You'll have to decide for yourself if the tradeoff is worth it. Personally, for me, it is as these days I watch very few DVDs due to a combination of Tivo, having an infant under the age of 1, and my theater located in an inconvenient part of the house (in terms of looking after my son). So, putting together a system like this for primary use in my family room with a 50" Fuji plasma is well worth any slight picture quality loss.

There are alternatives, but the ones I know of are damn expensive. If you haven't heard of it, a company called Kaleidescape offers a DVD server solution where DVDs are copied to a server and can then be streamed to up to 7 different players in your house via cat-5. Each player can watch a different movie or the same movie (even the same movie at different points) all at the same time. From what I've seen playing with it at my dealer's showroom, picture quality is excellent. Downside is the cost which is upwards of $30K. See my post on it here for more info:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=319486

Of course, you could build a DIY system without the slick GUI yourself for much cheaper but who has that kind of time?

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post #5 of 455 Old 12-02-2003, 04:29 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by rgbyhkr


I have an original FireBall and I've never been too impressed with the speed of the GUI. It's a little sluggish for my taste.

Jeff,

I noticed the same problem with my Fireball, but when I consolidated my remote controls with an MX-700 the unit really came alive. I have near instantaneous response from remote signals and the GUI is very fast. I suspect that their included remote control isn't sending a "clean" signal to the Fireball unit.

Off topic, but relevant
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post #6 of 455 Old 12-02-2003, 06:17 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by Jgabrius
Jeff,

I noticed the same problem with my Fireball, but when I consolidated my remote controls with an MX-700 the unit really came alive. I have near instantaneous response from remote signals and the GUI is very fast. I suspect that their included remote control isn't sending a "clean" signal to the Fireball unit.

Off topic, but relevant

Interesting. I have an MX-700 as well and just used the FireBall's remote to teach the MX-700. Did you download the remote layout for the FireBall from Remote Central or a similar site? Thanks in advance.

Jeff

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post #7 of 455 Old 12-03-2003, 05:41 PM
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By the way, I called Escient today and was told the DVDM-100 would start shipping next Wednesday.

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post #8 of 455 Old 12-04-2003, 03:41 PM
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Jeff,

I downloaded the set from Remote Central.

Have you managed to find a discreet on/off code for your Fireball?

Thanks,

Justin
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post #9 of 455 Old 12-10-2003, 08:32 AM
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Update from Escient. No, the DVDM-100 will not ship out today but hopefully tomorrow or Friday. Christ, I hate incremental pushbacks in product release dates. If you need more time, just push things out a month then if it ships earlier everyone will be pleasantly surprised.

I hope the Escient folks know that some of us here are itching to see if this will finally solve a problem we've had. Hell, I'm chomping at the bit to see the manual as that will give me a lot more info into the features and functions as well as a hint as to possible limitations. Real world interaction will be required of course before buying given my rocky start with the original FireBall. If it works well, however, the product could be a real winner.

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post #10 of 455 Old 12-12-2003, 02:39 PM
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Well, the DVDM-100 began shipping today as per Escient. No manual on the website yet but I'm told it should be up by Monday (don't worry, I'll be sure to pester them about it if it isn't ).

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post #11 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Keep us informed!!
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post #12 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 12:40 PM
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Just to let everyone know I have been using the DVDM-100 for several weeks now and it is an incredible machine. As far as PQ is concerned, the Sony ES DVD changer looks as good as any DVD player I have ever seen. You will not at all be disappointed with this unit. The GUI is very responsive and I had absolutely no problem learning any of the IR commands. Jgabrius - Did you download the MX700 File I created for the Fireball? I too had much better responce when I abandoned the original remote and created a file for the mx700. I will post an IR file for the DVDM-100 when they begin shipping for all of you that would like it.
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post #13 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 12:59 PM
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As many of us here are eager to play with the DVDM-100, can you provide any additional details of its operation? Here are a few questions I have:

- How quickly can it read all the discs off a full 777ES and retrieve their info from the onlone database?

- Have you found any movies it did not recognize? How does the unit handle an unrecognized disc? Is cover art always available for recognized discs (seems to be hit or miss with CDDB)?

- Does it support any kind of movie playlist function (eg. a playlist of my favorite action chapters from various DVDs)?

- How does it handle the removal of a disc from a changer? If I choose to remove a disc, will it show the disc as part of the collection but currently not in the changer?

- Any search functions (actor, title, etc)?

- On the FireBall's cover art view display, 2 rows of 4 covers are displayed, is the layout used for the DVDM-100?

- Anything that doesn't seem to work too well?

Jeff

Quote:


Originally posted by chadly25
Just to let everyone know I have been using the DVDM-100 for several weeks now and it is an incredible machine. As far as PQ is concerned, the Sony ES DVD changer looks as good as any DVD player I have ever seen. You will not at all be disappointed with this unit. The GUI is very responsive and I had absolutely no problem learning any of the IR commands. Jgabrius - Did you download the MX700 File I created for the Fireball? I too had much better responce when I abandoned the original remote and created a file for the mx700. I will post an IR file for the DVDM-100 when they begin shipping for all of you that would like it.


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post #14 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 01:24 PM
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- How quickly can it read all the discs off a full 777ES and retrieve their info from the onlone database?

To do a full autobuild it will still take you a couple of hours. This is not a function of the Fireball but a function of how long it takes the DVD changer to read the dvd's TOC (table of contents)

- Have you found any movies it did not recognize? How does the unit handle an unrecognized disc? Is cover art always available for recognized discs (seems to be hit or miss with CDDB)?

I had very few DVD's it did not recognize. One such DVD was my wife's Fit Mama workout. Actually kind of glad it didn't find that one so my friends didn't see it When a DVD isn't recognized it simply titles it Unknown DVD and gives generic coverart. You can go in and modify the title and info manually. The difference between CD and DVD recognition is that Escient maintains and builds their library of DVD content so once you get a hit it will include coverart.

- Does it support any kind of movie playlist function (eg. a playlist of my favorite action chapters from various DVDs)?

Never even thought about doing that. I will give it a try tonight and let you know.

- How does it handle the removal of a disc from a changer? If I choose to remove a disc, will it show the disc as part of the collection but currently not in the changer?

It will remove the DVD info from the screen but keep it in memory so when you put DVD back in it will instantly recognize it.

- Any search functions (actor, title, etc)?

Again, something I have not tried but will let you know. As with the Fireball line you can sort by genre but will check if you can sort by actor.

- On the FireBall's cover art view display, 2 rows of 4 covers are displayed, is the layout used for the DVDM-100?

I believe so, but it could be 5 covers per row.

- Anything that doesn't seem to work too well?

In short, No. I wouldn't trade mine in for anything.
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post #15 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 01:29 PM
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Chad,

Thanks for the quick reply. Since it appears you work for Escient (given your e-mail address on RC), can you nudge the powers that be to post the pdf manual ASAP? I've asked tech support and sales about it and they both seemed surprised that it wasn't already up. Thanks in advance for any help on this as I am itching to see it.

Jeff

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post #16 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 01:46 PM
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Actually, I used to work for Esceint Solutions which was the consumer installation division under the Escient umbrella, but I no longer work there. I did have the manual when it was first given to me but I gave it back. I never read them and they were in short supply for their other beta testers. If you have any other questions on functionallity though I will do my best to help.
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post #17 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 02:15 PM
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Chad,

Thanks for the clarification. I sent an e-mail to Abbie Ansburg as the folks in tech support said marketing would handle the manual posting. Anyways, I was also wondering about a few other things:

- I'm guessing you would use the 777's GUI for initial changer setup but I think that after connecting the changer to the DVDM, the FireBall GUI is all you use even for disc navigation, etc. Is this true?

- The sell sheet mentions advanced parental controls, can you elaborate on this? Is it something like restricting viewing of movies with a particular rating and above via a password?

- How does the guide handle multi-disc box sets? Are they grouped together or listed sequentially? What about single features spread across 2-discs (like the LOTR special editions)? Is the system smart enough to go from the first disc to the next?

- Since the 777 doesn't have the dual-sided play feature (I think I saw that somewhere) that Sony's previous changers did, how are dual-sided DVDs handled?

Jeff

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post #18 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 03:43 PM
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To me this sounds like a Kenwood Entre with a few minor, insignificant changes, with basically the same software and limited functionality. I would not be surprised if the Media Manager software is also the same poor program we have had for the Entre over the last couple of years, with not even the option of editing DVD cover arts.

I hope I am wrong, but so far I have not heard about any significant improvements over the good ol' Entre (based on these posts and the setup instruction on the Escient home page)...

What's new (vs the 2 year old Kenwood Entre)?
- Support of non-Kenwood DVD changers
- A new look of the GUI
- Anything else ?

I was hoping for a significant improvements with at a minimum:
- Native 16:9 GUI support
- Improved cover/DVD search function in cases the auto lookup does not identify the disc. In case of multiple hits during a search there should be a list returned from which you can select the desired DVD
- Much faster operation
- Totally improved Media Manager software with support of DVD cover art management

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post #19 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 05:16 PM
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Unfortunately, your assertion that the Escient GUI or O/S is a rebadged product from anyone else is definitely incorrect. Escient's interface has been used for quite a few of their products going back to the old TuneBase and PowerPlay systems that pre-date the Entre. The PowerPlay was Escient's original DVD management solution that included a proprietary DVD changer with a firewire connection to the box running the interface. The database behind the DVD lookups is their own and has been in use for years via PowerPlay.

The key here is how well the GUI works. Hopefully, with years of experience on both the GUI side and the DVD database side, the lessons learned from mistakes made will make the product a good one from the get go. We'll have to wait and see but hopefully, there won't be a thread on the DVDM-100 as long as the one for the Kenwood changer/Enre products.


Quote:


Originally posted by Lars158
To me this sounds like a Kenwood Entre with a few minor, insignificant changes, with basically the same software and limited functionality. I would not be surprised if the Media Manager software is also the same poor program we have had for the Entre over the last couple of years, with not even the option of editing DVD cover arts.

I hope I am wrong, but so far I have not heard about any significant improvements over the good ol' Entre (based on these posts and the setup instruction on the Escient home page)...

What's new (vs the 2 year old Kenwood Entre)?
- Support of non-Kenwood DVD changers
- A new look of the GUI
- Anything else ?

I was hoping for a significant improvements with at a minimum:
- Native 16:9 GUI support
- Improved cover/DVD search function in cases the auto lookup does not identify the disc. In case of multiple hits during a search there should be a list returned from which you can select the desired DVD
- Much faster operation
- Totally improved Media Manager software with support of DVD cover art management


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post #20 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 06:19 PM
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has anyone tried the new LCD Touchscreen for the DVDM-100?

I am told it is S Video 15" and MSRP $2000.00

I am eagerly awaiting my DVDM-100

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post #21 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 06:55 PM
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To set up the DVD player, you simply select a disc in the DVD changer that you want to adjust. Then with the original DVD remote you hit stop and go into the DVD's menu to make changes. Very simple to do this.

The parental codes are very nice. It allows you to lock down any movies that you don't want others to see unless they have your password to unlock them.

If you have a movie that is double sided, you will either have to flip the disc or purchase two movies and enter both sides in different slots.

In the question of will the changer automatically go to disc 2 of a movie in a multi disc collection, i don't think so. Although it is very easy to hit the guide button and return to the exact spot where disc one was the just highlight disc two and you are on your way.

Lars- Your suspecions aren't even close with this product. You can modify coverart, it has a vastly improved gui, and it operates very quickly. I for one don't need a 16:9 gui since I only use the dvdm-100 to select movies to watch in multiple aspect ratio's.

On the earlier questions: It is 8 pictures of coverart and not 10 like I was thinking. And I don't think that with the first release of firmware you can search by director.
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post #22 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 07:57 PM
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Chad,

Thanks again for the help. Just to clarify how the guide displays multi-disc movies or box sets:

- Let's say we're talking about the 2-disc "Gangs of New York" where the actual movie spans 2 discs. Will the guide show it as "Gangs of New York - Disc 1" and "Gangs of New York - Disc 2" or something like that?

- How about the 2-disc special edition "Catch Me If You Can" where disc 1 is the movie and disc 2 is the bonus features? How will those appear?

- What about a mini-series or TV show box set like the 4-disc "The West Wing - The Complete First Season"? How does the guide display those 4?

On a separate note, does the guide include chapter titles or names of separate titles (in cases of multiple episodes on a single disc, they are often split up as separate titles (DVD nomenclature) rather than separate chapters) on each disc?

Thanks again.

Jeff

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post #23 of 455 Old 12-15-2003, 08:09 PM
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Mark,

At $2K, it's not worth it. When I bought my FireBall last year and the 12" VGA ETP-1000 was being sold for $2K, I looked elswhere. There are substitue touchpanels that you can use which work just fine. Mine is an Elo Touchsystems 1224L that I got from Dell for less than $600. When the specs for the new 15" panel are out, I'm sure you'll be able to find a much less expensive but compatible alternative.

Quote:


Originally posted by markrubin
has anyone tried the new LCD Touchscreen for the DVDM-100?

I am told it is S Video 15" and MSRP $2000.00

I am eagerly awaiting my DVDM-100


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post #24 of 455 Old 12-16-2003, 04:03 AM
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Jeff

It will show them as seperate disc's in the changer and it will call them disc one or disc 2, or in the case of a bonus disc it will say bonus disc. The Fireball does not list out all of the titles on a disc for all of the episodes on a "first season disc". However, when you chose that disc you can then go into the main menu of that disc and search for the episode that you want to watch.
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post #25 of 455 Old 12-16-2003, 08:51 AM
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Thanks again Chad. By the way, for anyone who has been eagerly awaiting the manual like I have, Escient has posted it here:

http://www.escient.com/manuals/FBDVDMManual.pdf

Chad's responses actually answered more questions than the manual did but, then again, some of my questions were pretty specific.

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post #26 of 455 Old 12-16-2003, 09:15 AM
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Mark,

After checking out the description of the new ETP-1500 and seeing a picture of it in the DVDM-100 manual, it looks like it is an Escient rebadge of this monitor:

http://www.touchscreens.com/lcdsa151v-5rs-dvd-b.html

That site is selling that product for $1119.00. If you look hard enough, you may be able to find it elsewhere for less.

Quote:


Originally posted by rgbyhkr
Mark,

At $2K, it's not worth it. When I bought my FireBall last year and the 12" VGA ETP-1000 was being sold for $2K, I looked elswhere. There are substitue touchpanels that you can use which work just fine. Mine is an Elo Touchsystems 1224L that I got from Dell for less than $600. When the specs for the new 15" panel are out, I'm sure you'll be able to find a much less expensive but compatible alternative.


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post #27 of 455 Old 12-16-2003, 09:19 AM
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Good find Jeff- Thank you

Escient told me they had evaluated several touchscreens but they were vague about the final selection

my dealer has gone silent on me: avoiding my "where is my Escient? calls"

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post #28 of 455 Old 12-16-2003, 09:37 AM
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Mark,

No problem at all. Some of the good folks here were kind enough to help me find the Elo panel I bought when I was looking this time last year. Sorry to hear about your dealer's lack of response. I hate that kind of thing especially when you are eagerly awaiting a new toy.

As a side note, unfortunately, good salesmanship is hard to find these days. I come across bad salespeople all the time and, being a salesman myself, it irritates the hell out of me. It doesn't really take any extra effort to provide your customers with updates these days given all the various means of communication we have at our disposal. Between telephones, faxes, cell phones, pagers, e-mail, text messaging, etc, you can certainly find an easy method to drop a customer a quick line when you know they are waiting on a product and the promised delivery day has come and gone. We all get busy, but a good salesperson makes time for customers when needed.

I have found that in situations like these, salespeople sometimes put off contacting a customer because they don't have new information. Unfortunately, they seem to forget having told a customer something like "I'll give you a call tomorrow with an update." Sometimes they figure that they'll just wait to call until they have more info meanwhile, you were expecting their call on a given day, didn't get it, and are now annoyed. From a purely personal point of view, when I'm the customer and I have to continuously track down a salesperson to get information rather than the other way around, I start looking elsewhere.

Hopefully, your DVDM will arrive shortly and the wait will be over.

Jeff

I'm nerdy in the extreme, I'm whiter than sour cream...
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post #29 of 455 Old 12-16-2003, 10:05 AM
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All I can tell you guys in your time of need is that your wait will be worth it. Especially if you have a Fireball now. Adding in a DVDM-100 will expand your zones of outputs for your mp3's. Have fun and let me know if you have any questions on setup.
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post #30 of 455 Old 12-16-2003, 10:21 AM
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What's the MSRP on the 100M? Thanks!
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