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Accessory integrators, including Peripheral, Blitz Safe, Nav-TV and SoundGate, are racing to offer the first Media Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) interfaces designed to allow the autosound aftermarket access to newer European cars.
Without MOST interfaces, say the companies, the aftermarket would have difficulty adding or swapping A/V components in late-model Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Land Rover and Audi vehicles.
Although the market for MOST interfaces is still relatively small, and the interfaces are still relatively expensive, suppliers say it is a niche they cannot ignore. “If you don't get into it, you are losing a market, without question, that someone else will look to exploit,” said Ira Marlowe, president of Blitz Safe, Englewood, N.J.
Nav-TV, Boca Raton, Fla., is among the first to ship a MOST audio/video interface, and will offer in the next few months a MOST iPod adapter and MOST auxiliary adapter, it said.
The Nav-TV MOST AV interface currently works with 2005/2006 Porsche Cayenne and 2005 Range Rover vehicles at a pricey figure of $2,800 wholesale. The MOST iPod and satellite radio interfaces will sell for a wholesale price of $800 each, said Nav-TV's COO, Moni Melman.
By the end of the year, Nav-TV expects to offer interfaces for almost all MOST vehicles.
Blitz Safe's Marlowe explained there are considerable expenses in offering MOST interfaces. “You need MOST diagnostic equipment to do the R&D. So, any of the companies looking to do this have a tremendous investment up front. You can't just do this with an oscilloscope and some type of analyzer.”
Blitz Safe hopes to offer MOST interfaces by January and is aiming for a lower cost of $150 to $170 suggested retail price for separate auxiliary, MP3 and Sony PSP MOST interfaces for Mercedes Benz and BMW cars.
Peripheral (Aamp of America), Clearwater, Fla. said it anticipates offering a MOST auxiliary audio adapter and an amplifier interface by the fourth quarter. Prices have not yet been established. VP Ron Freeman notes, “It's part of the future. You have to have solutions. You have to be able to add an iPod interface, and the Mercedes iPod kits from the dealership are rather expensive, so there are opportunities.”
SoundGate, Sheridan, Wyo., said it is presently testing its first MOST interface products, including a MOST auxiliary input and separate Alpine and Kenwood CD changer interfaces. Delivery is tentatively slated for mid-November with pricing to be announced in the next few weeks, said president Rob Puttnam. The first product will be available for Mercedes-Benz, followed by products for Porsche and Volvo in the first quarter of 2006, he said.
“MOST itself is not standardized. There are different forms from car manufacturer to manufacturer,” Puttnam explained.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.