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Eclipse Adds Circuit City, Expands AVN Line

Las Vegas — Eclipse hit International CES this year with several product extensions to its AVN series of audio/video/navigation units, and the news that it is adding Circuit City to its distribution network, effectively increasing its storefront count by 50 percent.

New products in the AVN line include the AVN7000, which the company claims is the first hard-disk-drive-based full-featured navigation and entertainment unit in a single DIN-size enclosure. Features of the AVN7000 include a 7-inch wide touch-control TFT display, a slim-line 20GB 1.8-inch HDD that holds a complete navigation database and three route recommendations. Routes can be previewed in their entirety; detours can be inputted to avoid potential problems, and preferences can be stored as presets. The unit plays back nearly all CD, DVD, MP3 and WMA formats, and power comes via a 50-watt, four-channel amp. Multichannel sound can be added using the optional DCU105 companion piece.

Also new is the AVN6600 DVD navigation system with a 6.5-inch wide TFT display. Its most unique feature is dual DVD drives, enabling independent navigation and entertainment options. The AVN5500 value-oriented unit includes the street map display mode used in the 6600, which shows a detailed view for easier recognition of distinctive buildings, streets and other points of identification.

As for its retail expansion, Eclipse products will debut in all of Circuit City’s 600-plus stores, as well as its Web site, this spring. Airon Ayala, sales account manager for the western region, said, and while Circuit City will carry products in all categories, which will be positioned as a premium brand in its stores, “they won’t carry every model,” enabling specialty dealers to offer unique merchandising assortments.

During a Q&A session, Ayala said the company will be adding both voice activation, which it had discontinued due to quality issues, as well as Bluetooth, in the future. Bluetooth functionality would likely be added via an outboard piece, he said.