By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
With factory shipments of in-car video, including units combined with navigation, expected to approach $1 billion this year, suppliers are tripling and quadrupling their mobile video SKUs and new brands continue to enter the segment.
Sony, Kenwood and Blaupunkt, who dabbled in the category last year with a single SKU each, are now plunging into mobile video with full lines. Other suppliers are offering new advancements such as multizone control, and nearly every supplier is incorporating MP3 or satellite radio capability in car video for the first time.
Also this year will see the first overhead consoles with built-in DVD, from Audiovox and Rosen, as well as removable screens from mobile video newcomer DEI (see TWICE, Jan. 8, p. 108).
Industry estimates on car video are all over the map, with CEA predicting video and navigation factory shipments to retailers will grow 34.8 percent this year to $930 million, on top of 38 percent growth last year on sales of $690 million. Aftermarket sell-through figures on mobile video without navigation from Sony and NPDTechworld, Port Washington, N.Y., are far more conservative with NPD estimating sales for aftermarket mobile video for the first three quarters of 2001 at $65 million, up from $48 million last year. Sony predicts aftermarket sell-through in 2002 will exceed $110 million and declared the market large enough to justify the company's full-scale launch into the segment.
Some suppliers predict the market, including related products such as 5.1 surround processors, could exceed the size of the autosound aftermarket within the next five years.
"If you expand the definition to include in-dash head units with screens and 5.1 processors, then mobile video could in five years be equal to the traditional car audio market," said Alpine marketing VP Stephen Witt.
According to Sony senior marketing manager for mobile electronics, Phil Lubell, "We've seen the market doubling every year since 2000 and we see it showing 50 percent growth for the next two or three years."
Sony will ship several new monitors this year that are designed to work with its current DVD changer. The new monitors include a single DIN motorized 7-inch unit that is XM-ready with AM/FM tuner and changer controls. Other features include 45 by 4-watt output, onscreen graphics and a separate monitor output to support an additional monitor in the rear seat. The unit can be used with an optional TV tuner and is expected to ship in March at a suggested retail price of $999.
Also new from Sony is a 7-inch flipdown overhead widescreen monitor with three A/V inputs and IR transmitter for wireless headphones at a suggested retail price of $999, and a flush mount 6.5-inch TFT monitor at a price to be announced.
Kenwood unveiled a total of nine new mobile video products for 2002, including a DVD changer, three new DVD head units and an overhead console. The DVD changer holds up to 10 discs and plays MP3s as well as CD-R and CD-RW discs. It also displays MP3 track info and is expected to ship in March at a suggested retail price of $1,000. The new top-of-the-line single DIN DVD player is the KVT-911DVD with a semi-automatic, touch- panel LCD. It is Sirius Satellite Radio-ready, offers TV reception and 5.1 digital surround sound and is expected to ship in February at $2,800.
Blaupunkt will ship during the first quarter several new monitors as well as a DVD player with MP3. The in-dash DVD is compatible with CD-R and CD-RW, and features Dolby Digital and DTS. Called the IVDP-01, it has a flipdown, detachable faceplate with four-step illuminated vacuum fluorescent display. It includes an IR remote and is expected to carry a suggested retail price of $799. It is joined by several TFT monitors ranging from a 4:3 aspect, 5.6-inch unit at $469 to a 7-inch unit in a roof-mount console with built-in IR transmitter and wireless headset receiver at $899 suggested retail price.
Also from Blaupunkt is a four-channel signal converter that allows switching between video sources and a navigation source at a suggested retail price of $299. The company is also supplying an add-on TV tuner that ships in the second quarter at $299.
Here follows some of the other 2002 mobile video highlights:
Alpine added MP3 and XM capability to its DVD lineup as well as dual-zone capability. The company will ship in June two DVD units with MP3, including the DVA-7996 — a single DIN DVD receiver that is also XM-ready. It has Bass Engine Plus and dual-zone control for allowing DVD playback in the rear seat while the tuner plays in the main audio system. It also ships with Alpine new Media Xpander sound correction technology — developed to restore musical quality to compressed music formats — optical digital output, Ai NET changer controller and blackout display. The DVA-7996 is expected to carry a target price of $1,200.
This is joined by the Alpine CHA-S634 six-disc changer with built-in MP3 so that it makes any Alpine radio MP3-ready. The unit has Ai-NET or M-Bus compatibility, 80-disc title memory and is CD text ready. It is expected to ship in February at a suggested retail price of $330.
Audiovox continues to push its "video in a bag" concept with two new units and the company is also planning to release one of the first overhead monitors with built-in DVD. New portable "video in a bag" products include the VBP-3000 with two detachable 5-inch screens with built-in speakers. The VCP-based system allows users to watch two video sources at once. It has a suggested retail price of $600. Also new is the VBP-2000 with single five-inch screen, VCP and two front-mounted headphone jacks at $350. The new VOD 806 is a one-piece overhead 8-inch screen with built-in slot style DVD, TV tuner and dome light. It also includes an IR transmitter for a wireless headset. The unit is designed to reduce installation time, as installers don't have to mount a VCP in the car and run wires to the monitor. The unit began shipping last month at a retail price of approximately $1,799.
Clarion will ship this month its first DVD changer. Called the VCZ625, it is a six-disc unit with MP3 capability. It can function as a standalone unit or it works with the company's new source units. The VCZ625 comes with IR remote and is expected to carry an estimated price of $999. This is joined by the new VRX-925VD, an in-dash motorized 7-inch widescreen touch-panel DVD player with AM/FM tuner, CD changer controller and MP3 capability. The single DIN unit ships in February at an estimated price of $1,999.
Also new from Clarion are two overhead screens in 7-inch widescreen and 8-inch sizes. Both come with full function remote that will also control Clarion's VCP. The screens will also accept a TV tuner and/or FM modulator and both offer wireless IR headphones. Tentative prices are $799 for the 7-inch monitor and $899 for the 8-inch model.
From Emerson is a new 10.4-inch overhead monitor at a suggested retail price of $699, and two in-dash DVD players with Dolby Digital sound and MP3. The step-up model DVX-3000 adds built-in AM/FM radio at $549. The DVX-2001 has a suggested retail price of $449.
Panasonic introduced two new in-dash DVD units and a unique "large screen" portable DVD player.
The company's new single DIN DVD receiver has built-in AM/FM tuner and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and DTS. Called the CQ-DVR 592, it also has a dual-zone feature to allow one source to play in the front of the car and another in the rear. The unit has a new cosmetic design with a separate detented volume knob and a silver chassis and large blue display with day/night lighting. The CQ-DVR592 will ship in March at a price to be announced.
Panasonic's portable is an 11-nch LCD widescreen with built-in DVD and TV tuner that is designed to mount between the two front seats of an SUV or minivan. It will come with mounting gear, allowing it to be transportable between car and home. The 16:9 aspect unit also has a Dolby Digital decoder and DTS processing. Called the TC-11LV1M, it is expected to carry a tentative price less than $1,500.
Also new from Panasonic is an upgraded version of the DVD CY-VMD9000 in-dash DVD player with seven-inch 16:9 aspect widescreen. The unit offers MP3, CD-R and CD-RW playback capability and it features new graphics and user interface.
Pioneer is debuting two DIN AM/FM 6.5-inch monitors that can control a DVD. Both are XM-ready with TV tuning, and MOSFET 50-watt by 4 amplification. The step-up AVH-P6400CD also incorporates a CD player, without the need for an outboard box. Both models are voice-control capable and are expected to ship in April at prices to be announced.
Also new is a single DVD player with dual-zone capability, OEL display and CD-R, CD-RW, as well as DVD-R and DVD-RW capability. Called the DVH-P7000, it is XM-ready, comes with an AM/FM tuner, and 50-watt by 4 power and is expected to ship in April. It will be joined by an overhead 6.5-inch swivel, widescreen monitor in May at a price to be announced.
Rosen, which offered only systems, is now selling separate mobile video units and also showed one of the first overhead consoles with a built-in DVD player. The unit has a 6.8-inch screen, IR wireless headphones and dome light at $1,999. Also new is a 10.4-inch overhead screen, the largest available, according to the company. It allows 180 degree viewing and is expected to ship in March.
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