In-Vehicle Internet Radio Going Mainstream At CES
By Joseph Palenchar On Jan 6 2011 - 5:01am
LAS VEGAS –
Internet radio is going
mainstream in the mobile electronics
aftermarket here at International
CES, where more suppliers will
launch their first in-dash head units
that control select Internet radio apps
on USB-connected iPhones.
JVC, Kenwood, and Sony will
join Alpine and Pioneer in offering
head units that control the Pandora
Internet radio app on a connected
iPhone, while Alpine and Pioneer will dramatically
expand their selection.
Prices on head units that control the Pandora
app on iPhones will drop dramatically to $180 in
CD-receivers offered by Alpine and JVC. The feature
was previously available on a $399-suggested mechless
head unit from Alpine and on two A/V-navigation
systems from Pioneer at $1,599 and $1,099. Two
Jensen head units launched last year at $469 and
$479 connect to a Jensen-supplied iPhone app that
streams thousands of Internet radio stations.
In other Internet-radio developments:
• Sony will launch head-unit control of all Pandora
app functions on BlackBerry and Android smartphones
• JVC and Pioneer will launch head-unit control
of iPhone-loaded Internet radio apps other than the
Pandora app, with JVC offering Clear Channel’s
iHeart Radio on navigation units and Pioneer adding
Aha Radio to select navigation units. Previously, only
Pandora and a Jensen-supplied Internet radio app
could be controlled from select head units.
And in other major mobile developments:
• Sony and Alpine are announcing
plans for 2011 shipment of some
of the industry’s first head units with
new Sirius XM universal connector,
which connects to a new hideaway
XM tuner. The universal connector
also makes it unnecessary to install
a separate translator and a separate
power wire to the tuner.
• Embedded HD Radio is spreading
to a few more head units, with the technology appearing
in six JVC head units, up from last year’s four;
in two Kenwood models, up from one; and in a single
Clarion head unit for the first time.
• Sony and Audiovox will show their first car Blu-ray
• Alpine and Kenwood suppliers are adding dual
iPod/iPhone USB inputs to one head unit apiece for
the first time, one on the front and one on the back.
• And JVC is launching its first two HD Radioequipped
head units that display Artist Experience images
transmitted by select stations.
In Internet radio developments, Kenwood, JVC, and
Sony are launching their first head units that control Pandora
on a USB-connected iPhone. Kenwood is bringing
Pandora control to nine head units priced from a suggested
$380 to $2,000. JVC is adding Pandora control to
four CD-receivers priced from $180 to $270. And Sony is
bringing Pandora control to two as-yet-unpriced CD-less
head units that incorporate the company’s iPod/iPhoneholding
Alpine is expanding its selection of Pandora-controlling
head units to four models from one starting at a suggested
$180, and Pioneer is bringing its Pandora portfolio
to nine head units, including CD-receivers, from two
A/V-navigation units launched last year at a suggested
$1,599 and $1,099.
Sony, JVC, and Pioneer, however, aren’t content to limit
their Internet radio experiences to those of their competitors.
Sony is expanding Pandora control in its two head
units to Blackberry and Android smartphones via Bluetooth.
And JVC is launching its first two head units -- both
in-dash A/V navigation units — that control Clear Channel’s
iHeart Radio iPhone app to stream content from
Clear Channel’s 750 terrestrial radio stations as well as
from Internet-only stations.
For its part, Pioneer is bringing Aha Radio to two
navigation units to stream audible versions of Facebook
and Twitter, podcasts, audible reports of nearby traffic
conditions, and audible nearby points-of-interest (POI)
Although Clarion isn’t launching head units that
control Internet radio apps on
a USB-connected iPhone, the
company said all of its Bluetoothequipped
heads this year will
support the Bluetooth A2DP/
AVRCP profiles, and price
points will be lower. The A2DP
profile enables Bluetooth stereo
streaming, and the AVRCP profile
allows for wireless control of
basic smartphone-app functions
from the head unit and steeringwheel
controls. The basic functions
include track up/down and play/pause, depending
on the app, the company said.
Stereo Bluetooth with AVRCP will be available in Clarion’s
CZ501 CD-receiver at a suggested $229, down from its predecessor’s $249, and in the FZ501
mech-less digital media receiver at a suggested
$199, down from the $349 price of a previous
mech-less head unit.
Unlike USB connections to an iPhone, stereo
Bluetooth and AVRCP do not display artist/
song metadata or album art on a head unit, nor
do they enable front-panel browsing of different
playlists or head-unit-control of Pandora’s
thumbs up/down function, Clarion said.
For its part, JVC said it will continue to support
the Bluetooth A2DP/AVRCP profiles in all
of its Bluetooth-equipped head units.