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iPod audio systems will take new shapes and add new features with the shipment of models by Altec Lansing, Mondo Systems and Boston Innovative.
Milford, Pa.-based Altec Lansing plans May shipments of a one-piece home system with 8.5-inch LCD display for viewing videos and pictures stored on docked iPods. Boston-based startup Boston Innovative will launch two battery-operated boombox versions of the Altec concept but will add a built-in CD/DVD player, AM/FM tuner and NTSC TV tuner. For music-only use, Mondo USA of Santa Ana, Calif., plans a home system consisting of two bookshelf speakers connected to a small amplifier/RF receiver, which receives iPod music wirelessly from a dock placed in a convenient location up to 100 feet away.
Mondo's $349-suggested Mint, due in June, features two two-way wood speakers with white-piano-coat finish, 4-inch aluminum-cone woofers and 1-inch neodymium-magnet tweeters. The speakers are powered by a 2x70-watt (into 4 ohm) Class D amplifier. Mondo's cradle converts the iPods' analog output to digital and sends it wirelessly to the amp by using a proprietary wireless technology called Di-Fi. Mondo's amp also connects to other music sources, including PCs and other-brand MP3 players, via USB and 3.5mm line-in jack. A supplied IR remote can be used to control the amp's on/off, mute, volume and source-selection functions.
The dock itself features volume and mute buttons.
Mondo, a subsidiary of Seoul-based startup Mondo Systems, plans June sales of the system through online and brick-and-mortar retailers, including Amazon and Mondo-USA.com. It will be the startup's second consumer product. The first was the XL7000 home theater system unveiled at last September's CEDIA Expo but shipped only in Korea because the "market wasn't ready," a spokesperson said. That system consists of freestanding speakers, a DLP projector and a hard-drive music/video jukebox that rips CDs and DVDs.
Altec Lansing is likewise targeting home use of its $349-suggested inMotion iMV712, due in stores in May. Altec believes it's the industry's first home iPod station with an LCD screen for viewing iPod videos. The single-chassis iPod station, which runs solely on AC, is positioned for use in college dorm rooms, teen rooms, desktops and kitchen counters.
The iMV712 sports a widescreen 8.5-inch TFT LCD screen, top-mounted universal iPod dock, two 3-inch neodymium-magnet speakers, a built-in 4-inch subwoofer and Altec-proprietary SFX (Stereo Field Expander) technology to widen the soundstage. An aux-in jack connects to other-brand MP3 players, which would also sit in the dock. An RCA input connects other sources such as camcorders. An S-Video output connects to TVs to display iPod videos on the TV screen.
A wireless remote controls the device's volume, treble/bass and mute functions as well as iPod functions, including forward/reverse, pause, menu, play and stop.
Boston Innovative Products, which has marketed residential air purifiers and commercial air conditioners for two years, lays claim to another industry first: iPod-docking boomboxes with LCD screens to view an iPod's videos and pictures. Three $299-suggested iMep models feature different cosmetics but sport the same features: top-mount iPod-dedicated dock, 7-inch LCD screen, back-mounted CD/DVD transport, MP3-CD playback, integrated NTSC TV tuner, AM/FM tuner, and USB port and SD/MMC/MS memory-card slot to play music and video files from memory cards and USB drives. The two devices also feature RCA-type A/V inputs and outputs, coaxial and optical digital outputs, and connections for AM and TV antennas. The iMeps are powered by eight C batteries or AC.
The black iMEP, the MP-701-388, features a screen on the front and a light-absorbing coating to ward off glare outdoors. The MP-702-388R and 388B feature flip-up screen and silver trim. The former is red; the latter is black.
Boston Innovative, owned by 3P Electronics of China, will sell the products through the Front Gate catalog and other retailers.