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Blaupunkt Offers CD-Less Car Radio

Broadview, Ill. — Blaupunkt will join Alpine and Clarion in shipping some of the first car stereo head units that forgo a CD player and use other forms of media storage instead.

Blaupunkt’s new Melbourne SD27 offers an SD/MMC card slot and a front-panel auxiliary input for use with portable players. It works with optional iPod and Bluetooth/USB modules to directly control an iPod or a music-enabled cellphone.

“For more and more people, compact discs have become obsolete,” said Blaupunkt GM Lutz Marschall. “They buy their music from the Internet, download it to their hard-drive music server and take it with them on their iPod. The last holdout for many of these consumers is their car radio, which still requires them to burn CD-Rs.”

The Melbourne also has an AM/FM receiver and its front panel can display up to 127 directories of music with ID3 tag information. It can work with an optional navigation system and is now shipping at a suggested retail price of $159.95.

 Several additional suppliers say they may offer “mechless” head units (without a CD mechanism) including Audiovox, Dual and Eclipse.

Alpine was first to offer a mechless head unit this spring with the IDA-X001 at a suggested $399. Clarion plans to ship at the end of the month the mechless FB275BT at a suggested $199.