Kenwood's High-End Triumph

By Amy Gilroy On Jul 22 2002 - 6:00am

Kenwood's KVT-911DVD in-dash DVD player with monitor is unique in that it is the top selling in-dash DVD player on the market, with a staggering 26 percent share of unit sales in the segment, and yet it carries one of the most expensive suggested retail prices, $2,399.

The KVT-911DVD accounted for almost half the dollar volume in the in-dash DVD segment, or 46 percent of sales from May 2001 through April 2002, according to NPD Techworld, Port Washington, N.Y.

Kenwood credits the unit's popularity to the light touch-sensitive screen and the combination of many features in a single DIN chassis. "It's a real unique product. It's a single DIN with the screen and transport in one unit and it has touch screen control. So its operation is via touch screen versus traditional buttons to give us flexibility in design and in what the unit can do," said sales and marketing VP, Bob Law.

Through its retractable touch screen, the KVT-911DVD can present the driver with a graphical interface that displays only those controls applicable to the function that the driver is currently using.

The screen itself measures 6.5 inches and is a high-resolution 16:9 widescreen with 336,960 pixels. Other key features of the KVT-911DVD include Sirius Satellite Radio capability, built-in TV tuner, 45 by 4 watt built-in power, high voltage audio pre-outs, System Q EX sound control, System E's+ advanced crossover system and Bass Management. It also plays CD-RW and CD-R discs.

Users can connect the KVT-911 to the Kenwood KDS-PS901 surround processor for 5.1-channel surround or to the KNA-DV2100 Navigation System for touch screen navigation control. It also comes with a four-channel diversity antenna and remote control.

After winning almost half the dollar share in in-dash DVD with a single unit, Law admits the company was surprised by the success of the KVT-911.

"This is really the third generation of touch screen for Kenwood. We were astounded two years ago when we introduced the first-generation P907, a CD piece, at $2,000. The amount of sales given the price point was really amazing. It took us a while to get caught up [with demand] last year. This year we had back orders but we've been able to fill them, but we are still selling more of the 911 than we expected," Law said.

The decision to market the touch screen on the original P907 came from the factory's ability to reduce the DVD transport size, he noted.

"Our engineers developed a half-size transport for the mechanism that opened up a lot of opportunity for us in terms of being able to design the product. To have that screen come out and to use it only for viewing DVD seemed a waste, so we decided to put it to better use. If the unit is installed properly, you can't watch DVD while you are driving, so to make it more of a benefit, we added touch capability," Law said.

The KVT-911DVD was introduced in January, replacing the KVT-910DVD.

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