What is the Sony SCD-XA777ES?

I just visited the Sony Employee Store and saw that they have a whole slew of new SACD player models to compliment the SCD-1, SCD-333ES and SCD-777ES.

They now have an SCD-222ES, SCD-555ES, SCD-CE775, SCD-XE670 and an SCD-XA777ES. I'm not sure if the CE775 and XE670 are actually SACD players.

But the item that grabbed my attention was the XA777ES. The listed retail is $3000.00. The discontinued SCD-777ES is now no longer listed there. Is the SCD-XA777ES a replacement for the SCD-777ES?

If so, what differentiates it from the 777ES? Does anyone know if it has balanced outputs like the SCD-1 or even a digital out? Is this a completely different box from the SCD-1? I tried accessing the spec page for it, but there's nothing listed there.

I was thinking of buying a SCD-777ES, but now I don't know what to do. Anyone here anything?
The 222 and 555 at the Sony Store are actually 5 disc SACD carousel players. They are listed as C222ES and C555ES. It seems this 555ES is not the same one being raved about in England. I think the 555ES unit in Europe is a slimmed down single disc player similar to the 777ES we had here.
The XA777ES is a multichannel SACD player that will replace the SCD-777ES. It is also front loading instead of top-loading.

Thanks for the feedback. Have you heard anything of the sound or build quality compared to SCD-777ES? I wanted also to clarify, that when I said I went to the Sony Employee Store they didn't have the physical units there yet. They have them listed on their online store.
I have been admirer of top loading machines, which I assume have far greater platter stability. It is disappointing that they would revert to front loading for this model.

Do any of you have experiences that suggest that top loading has major or minor sonic contribution?

Would you rather have a top loading stereo SACD player or a front loading "multi-channel" SACD player?

Actually I have been carefully contemplating your specific question. I now have the opportunity to purchase an SACD player. And...

I have been weighing the pros and cons of the much heralded and discontinued top-loading SCD-777ES vs. the front-loading, multi-channel SCD-XA777ES with an unknown sound signature and performance.

Even though I have no proof or have done any experiments regarding the stability of top-loaders vs. front-loaders, I'd probably have greater peace of mind with the top-loading unit. Less moving parts and less to vibrate or break.

I think I could be pretty satisfied with a good two-channel only system for music, and keep my less than hifi home theater system separate.

But who knows, that's the way I feel now. It would be nice to be able to use the same player for both a high-end two-channel system and a multi-channel one. :)
For anyone interested: The SCD-777ES (the old one, if I've got this straight), is available at J and R Music World in NYC at a discount. I forget if the price is $1799 or $1699, but they're a highly reputable store (they've been in business for about 25 years and they take out a full-page ad in the NY Times every Thursday and a 2-page ad on Sundays). (800) 221-8180 or jandr.com