By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New low prices on DVD players are helping to drive sales of mobile video this summer.
Instigated in part by the release this spring of Pioneer's in-dash DVD with touch-screen monitor at $1,600, prices on in-dash DVD/monitors have declined by nearly 30 percent since last year.
Kenwood lowered the price of its Excelon KVT-911DVD by $700, to $1,800, and Audiovox said it is readying an in-dash DVD receiver with 7-inch monitor for mid-July at what the company calls a record-breaking $1,299. Audiobahn is also expected to begin shipping its first monitor/DVD at $1,800 (see story below).
In other DVD players, a basic universal-mount DVD transport is now available for $199 and an in-dash DVD player for $399. Prices for the same products last year were approximately $399 and $600, respectively.
Sales of in-dash DVD/monitors are expected to at least double this year to 120,000 units, according to Bob Law, Kenwood sales and marketing VP. DVD players without monitors could double or triple in sales, said Audiovox mobile video product manager David Shalam.
The surge in DVD players comes at a time when CD player sales are beginning to wane.
Industrywide, CD player sales showed a decline for the first time in the first quarter, noted Robert Lopez, Panasonic national marketing manager for car audio. "Eventually, DVD receivers will replace CD receivers, so the end user will have the flexibility to play multiple formats in the car," said Lopez. "In the next year or two you'll see DVD receivers reaching a price point that would be comparable to a flagship CD receiver, between $499 and $599. An entry-level price could happen by 2010."
Pioneer brand manager Ted Cardenas said in-dash DVDs "are the CDs of 10 or 15 years ago."
"From 1987 to '89 we were all introducing $1,000, $1,200, and $1,500 CD players and cassettes were in 90 percent of the vehicles. Now fast-forward to 2003 and CD is the hot commodity item and we're moving toward in-dash video."
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