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Delphi, Eclipse, Sanyo Get Aggressive In Autosound Market

Las Vegas – Several existing players in the car audio arena are planning to aggressively step up their market presence. The companies, including Delphi, Sanyo and Eclipse, also are showing some of the most advanced products in car audio to be seen on the show floor.

After launching what is reportedly the most successful XM product to date, Delphi is planning other aftermarket products, including a hands-free car communications center that is shipping in May. The company’s OEM division is also showing a very-high-tech product line that includes a prototype broadband radio that can operate over 3G and 4G cellular networks as well as other broadband networks. It allows users to access Internet Radio for a selection of 4,500 radio stations, said a Delphi spokesman. It also lets users stream MP3 files from their computers and even stream video from Internet TV stations to rear-seat video systems.

Delphi also showed a prototype OEM DVD Audio system developed in conjunction with Polk Audio, two Bluetooth-

enabled car radios that allow voice control of cellular phone calls through the car radio, and a production-ready HD radio. One of the Bluetooth systems is expected to be offered in a Saab 9-3 in the United States by mid-2003.

As part of its effort to re-establish itself as a leading brand among 12-volt and A/V specialists, Eclipse announced an aggressive product offering that featured DVD Audio, the industry’s first hard drive recorder, the first head unit with built-in digital pre-amp, as well as new lower price points.

In the addition, Eclipse appointed industry pioneer Rich Coe to the position of senior engineer and announced the appointment of Matt Overpeck as eastern regional sales manager. This follows the return of industry veteran Ray Windsor as sales and marketing VP, last year.

Among the new products debuting at CES is a top-of-the-line CD8053 with a digital pre amp so that all processing in the unit is performed digitally, the company said. The unit is also one of the first to offer a 24-bit audio D/A converter and 16-volt balanced line output with 55-ohm impedance. It offers DVD Audio and has a ‘harmonizer’ to restore dynamic range to compressed music, such as MP3. Suggested retail for the CD8053 is $549.

Eclipse is also showing the industry’s first outboard hard drive recorder that can record from any source, including radio, satellite radio and a CD changer. It has a five-minute buffer so it can record a full song even if you start recording at the end of the song. The HD1213 is expected to ship in February at a suggested retail of $499.

The company also showed an aggressively featured DVD head unit with motorized 7-inch screen, DVD Audio, 5.1 DTS, Dolby Pro Logic II and all-digital processing. It also dropped the price of its leader model CD player to a competitive $199.

Sanyo’s aggressive push into autosound includes a full line of products including an MP3-ready head unit at $149 and a basic head unit with CD-R and CD-RW capability, 40 watt by 4 power and two pairs of RCA line level outputs and front auxiliary at $119. The company also expects to offer a 16GB HDD head unit, which can record off the radio, and CD player late in 2003 at about $700.