By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
If there was any question that DVD has quickly overtaken CD-ROM in aftermarket navigation, it has been answered by the spate of new DVD navigation products being unveiled at CES.
Clarion, Kenwood and Pioneer will join Alpine in debuting their first DVD-based navigation systems at CES, while Panasonic is expected to offer a DVD-based navigation system later this year.
Because of its additional capacity of 16GB (about 20 times that of CD-ROM, or enough to fit the entire United States on one map) and its faster speed, DVD already represents 90 percent of Alpine's navigation sales.
Said Alpine marketing VP Stephen Witt, "It is unlikely that any CD-ROM systems in the aftermarket will continue past 2002." Although the price difference between DVD and CD-ROM is about $500, purchasing a CD-ROM system with all of the maps for the United States would actually be more expensive, Witt explained.
Kenwood's sales and marketing VP Bob Law noted that DVD is "more convenient. You can put the whole country on one disc, there's more capability, the interface can be more interesting, and you can include more points of interest."
Pioneer will launch its first DVD navigation system at CES. Although details were not available at press time, the company said its turn-by-turn system will offer both map and voice directions.
The Pioneer system will also play DVD videos, and is claimed to be the first to offer a 3D positioning sensor (including a gyro, GPS and G-sensor) for increased accuracy. The unit will ship with a map and is expected to be available this summer.
Kenwood's first DVD navigation system, called the KNA-DV2100, is a turn-by-turn GPS/dead-reckoning system with both voice and visual map-based prompts. The unit is basically a black box designed to work with Kenwood CD receiver/ monitors or stand-alone monitors. It comes with a remote control and has data ports for future software upgrades.
The KNA-DV2100 automatically updates positioning every second. It displays DVD-based maps in three modes: full map view; a view that shows a map on half of the screen, with a large, bold arrow indicating driving directions on the other side; and a half-screen view that shows a list of upcoming turns, plus a map.
Directions can be heard and displayed in eight languages. Other features include background imaging, address search and point-of-interest search.
The KNA-DV2100 works the new Excelon KVT-910DVD in-dash DVD player/receiver with a retractable widescreen and either of Kenwood's two new LCD touch-panel monitors. Users can access navigation functions by touching the screen, by voice or by the remote control.
The KNA-DV2100 also has an RS-422 port and CompactFlash card slot to support upgrades.
Panasonic is also expected to offer a DVD navigation system this summer, and the company is working with NavTech as its mapping partner. Further details on the Panasonic system will be announced.
Clarion's new Joyride (formerly called the AutoPC and originally shown at the 2000 CES) has been redesigned and will now offer both DVD navigation and DVD-Video playback. It features 5.1 audio, DTS and Dolby Surround and is the first auto unit to support two independent DVD signals simultaneously, Clarion said.
The unit can play a DVD map for navigation and a DVD movie in a changer. It supports MP3 and WMA music files and has an IR port in the front to exchange information with a PDA. The system will be available in three packages at pricing to be announced.
In CD navigation, Blaupunkt will preview a new in-dash CD receiver/navigation unit with the new Skyline cosmetics and improved navigation programming.
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