By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
A new video technology launched in Japan last month is gaining attention from after-market suppliers in the United States.
A revolutionary OEM screen has been included on two limited edition Alphard minivans by Toyota Motor, here. Called Dual AVN, the system can display navigation and a DVD or TV simultaneously on a single 7-inch screen, confirmed a spokeswoman for Toyota North America.
Different programming on the screen is viewable at different angles simultaneously, so the driver can check navigation while the front-seat passenger can watch a DVD. The sound can be channeled to a car speaker by each viewer so that turn prompts are audible to the driver and a movie soundtrack is heard by the passenger, said Toyota.
Toyota developed the navigation/video system jointly with Fujitsu Ten, using Sharp's new LCD that displays portions of each image in alternate columns of pixels (see www.TWICE.com, “Sharp Dual-Angle LCD”).
Companies, including Eclipse, Alpine and Delphi, said they are studying the technology at present. At least one after-market company is very enthusiastic about it.
“The good news there is you are talking about a technology that could address the driver distraction issue and facilitate many progressive ideas in mobile video,” said Alpine's marketing VP Steve Witt. “It's possible in the not-too-distant future there could be a rear-seat entertainment system with this technology that could allow two different movies to be viewed off one screen. It's a significant technology breakthrough that could allow all kinds of cool applications for the aftermarket,” he added.
Delphi consumer electronics director Joe Damato said, “There have been other technologies out there to create the same solution.” He noted that in order to get the benefit of “two screens at the same time,” there is a sacrifice in screen resolution. “So I don't know if this technology makes sense for Delphi, but I like the approach … Technology along these lines is absolutely of interest.”
Eclipse, whose parent Fujitsu Ten worked jointly to produce the new technology, said it is studying it for possible use in the U.S. aftermarket.
Pioneer noted this type of technology would still be illegal in a front-seat system in many U.S. states at this time.
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