Kenwood Head-Unit Rollout Underway

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Long Beach, Calif. - Kenwood is rolling out its 2011 head-unit lineup, having begun shipping its Excelon-series CD receivers following last month's shipment of all but one of its Kenwood-series CD receivers.

By the end of this month as planned, the company will ship its five new A/V-navigation units, followed by mid-April shipments of two new mech-less digital media receivers, said marketing development manager Tony Mercado. One more Kenwood-series CD receiver is scheduled to ship later this month.

 The new Excelon-series CD receivers, all with iPod/USB port at a suggested $160 to $400, include the first Excelon-series CD receiver with embedded HD Radio. That model, the flagship $400 KDC-X995, also features HD Radio's iTunes tagging feature and Pandora Internet Radio Link, enabling control of an iPhone's Pandora app. It comes with a five-line display with selectable text sizing and ability via Bluetooth to display all names and numbers from a cellphone's address book.

 All of the Excelon models feature hands-free Bluetooth and ability to interface with steering-wheel controls when an aftermarket adapter is added. They come with external microphones for more accurate microphone placement. All are covered by Excelon-series two-year warranties.

 Kenwood's 2011 head-unit lineup includes the company's first nine automotive head units with Pandora Internet radio controls, first head unit with dual iPhone/iPod USB ports, and first in-dash multimedia/navigation unit with embedded HD Radio. The lineup also expands the number of head units with embedded HD Radio to four from one.

 The company's five new A/V-nav products, due at the end of the month, are priced from a suggested $1,150 to $2,000. They feature Pandora Internet Radio link and built-in Navteq live traffic free for the lifetime of the product.  The top-end $2,000 model, a part of the step-up Excelon series, features embedded HD Radio and Twin iPod control, which lets users operate two iPods or an iPod and an iPhone as separate sources.

 The two  new digital media receivers, due in mid-April at a suggested $430 and $360, feature Pandora Internet Radio link, support for a backup camera, 3-inch full-color TFT LCD display, and playback of audio and video from a connected iPod/iPhone.

 In the Kenwood series of CD receivers, six of seven new models shipped last month, with the top-end $360-suggested KDC-BT948HD shipping later this month with embedded HD Radio, iTunes tagging, Bluetooth hands-free and Pandora control.

The second model in the series with HD Radio is the $220-suggested KDC-HD548U with iTunes tagging but no Pandora or Bluetooth.

  An OEM replacement speaker system, the $160-suggested KFC-X183C 7.1-inch two-way speaker system, shipped last month. It's designed to fit into factory speaker locations ranging from 6.5- to 6 by 9 inches, thanks to a multi-application placement adapter.


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