San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
In-dash DVD/monitors are expected to see moderate sales growth in units, although they continue to take over the high-end CD market.
By one estimate, the category won 6 percent to 8 percent of the total head-unit market in 2006 as measured in dollars, and will grow slightly to about 10 percent of the market in 2007.
As seen at this year's International CES, the number of in-dash entries is tripling in some lines. Some suppliers are now offering seven to nine models, compared with the general offering of two or three last year. In fact, many head units over $400 are now A/V units rather than CD receivers.
Some of the more aggressive brands in the low end of the category include Dual and Jensen.
Dual claims it now has a 20 percent unit share in in-dash multimedia and that it sold out of its 2006 in-dash DVD products by fall. The company plans to triple its in-dash DVD/monitor line to six units this year, including its first combination navigation/DVD model (see story below).
Two new models debuting at CES include the XDVD8185, a single-DIN DVD/monitor with a 7-inch widescreen, XM capability, SD card slot, built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and iPod control with a supplied cable. The unit has 60x4 power and is expected to ship at the end of January at a suggested $799. A double-DIN version with similar features is the XDVD8285. It has a 6.5-inch screen and adds an active center channel output, also at $799.
Kenwood's A/V line now has seven models, starting at $799 compared with $999 last year. The series caps with Kenwood's first in-dash navigation/DVD/monitor all-in-one model, the DNX1700, at a suggested $1,600. The line also includes a single-DIN KVT-719DVD at $999 with USB input (with pigtail), 7-inch touch screen and enhanced GUI. Users can play back an iPod with control and charging via the USB port or use an adapter. It is also satellite ready, HD-Radio and Bluetooth ready and ships in March.
Pioneer's new entry-level AVH-P4900DVD sets a new price floor for the supplier's AVH line, at a suggested $800. Shipping in March, the single-DIN DVD/monitor has MP3/WMA and 6.5-inch motorized touch-screen monitor, iPod connectivity with iPod adapter and satellite radio capability.
The step-up Pioneer AVH-P5900DVD includes a 7-inch screen, and adds AAC and DiVX playback with iPod video playback, Bluetooth, USB and rear auxiliary input. It ships in May at a suggested retail of $1,000.
JVC is debuting three A/V head units including two EXAD models with embedded 3.5-inch screens for displaying DVD movies, DiVX files and JPEG stills. The top model, the KD-AVX33, also has Bluetooth capability with an adapter, USB and 5.1-channel surround, and is satellite radio ready and iPod ready with an adapter. The unit also plays back DVD-Audio and has a seven-band equalizer.
A step-down model, the KD-AVX11, offers many of the same features without Bluetooth, USB, 5.1 surround and DVD-Audio. It ships in February at $429, followed by the KD-AVX33 in March at $649.
Moving to full screen, JVC is offering a KW-AVX800 double-DIN EXAD DVD/monitor with a 7-inch screen, SD and USB. Other expandable features include mono Bluetooth for hands-free calling with an adapter, iPod control with an adapter and satellite radio capability. It also can play back MP3s from a DVD and supports AAC and DiVX files and offers 5.1-channel surround and DVD-Audio. Shipping is planned for March at $849.
Panasonic is adding iPod video capability on its two new A/V products, which include the single-DIN DVD/monitor with 7-inch touch screen, model CQ-VD7005U, and the double-DIN CQ-VD6505U with 6.5-inch touch panel. Both are Bluetooth ready for hands-free calling, satellite radio ready with Dolby Digital and DTS surround and seven-band equalizer. Shipping is expected in February at prices to be announced.
In addition to Clarion's new Max675VD/Nax970HD navigation A/V system announced in November, the company is also adding two A/V head units. One is the VRX375USB single-DIN DVD receiver with a built-in 3.5-inch TFT monitor with rear USB terminal and iPod capability. It is expected to ship in April. A sister product has a 7-inch flip-out screen.
Alpine now has four models in its A/V lineup including two units that work with its new Blackbird portable GPS (see story, below left).