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More iPod Docks Due In ’08 With Variety Of Features

During International CES this week dealers will find iPod docks at a variety of performance and prices, with entry-level tiers from many brands. Here is a selection of what they will see.

Acoustic Research: The Audiovox-owned brand plans to show multiple iPod-docking tabletop radios. One is the tabletop HD Radio ART7, estimated to ship in the second quarter. The company hopes to incorporate iTunes tagging and enhanced iPhone compatibility, which will enable the docked phone to operate hands-free and mute the radio’s iPod playback music when a call comes in. Pricing wasn’t final at press time, but the company is targeting a suggested retail around $199 to $249.

The brand also hopes to show a prototype of a cherry-wood table/clock radio with HD Radio, iPod dock, iTunes tagging and intuitive operation. It’s targeted to ship in the third quarter.

The company will also show the new Acoustic Research ART1, an iPod-docking analog table radio targeted for February or March shipment at a suggested retail of $249. This unit features proprietary graphic user interface, “tap anywhere” snooze and mute, and preloaded nature sounds. The brand is also developing a version of the ART1 with FM and Internet radio and iPod dock. A prototype might be displayed at CES.

Coby: The company is expanding its selection of iPod-docking home audio products to seven from four in 2008 with products that include its first iTunes-docking tabletop HD Radio and an iPod-docking microsystem.

The $169-suggested HDR-800 iPod-docking one-piece tabletop radio features alarm clock functions, two full-range speakers, 6-watt output, composite-video output to play iPod videos on a TV and 3.5mm line-on jack to connect other-brand MP3 players. It ships in the second quarter without iTunes tagging.

The CX-CD460 microsystem, available in the second quarter at a suggested $149, connects to a lot of sources, not just an iPod. It features SD card slot, USB port to control flash-memory-equipped music portables and Bluetooth to playback music stores on a cellphone or Bluetooth-equipped iPod. It comes with vertical-loading MP3/WMA-CD player, 10-watt output, alarm clock and full-function remote.

Other iPod-docking devices due in 2008 include a 75-watt 2.1-channel iPod-pocking speakers, due in the second quarter at a suggested $29.99; an iPod speaker system with digital clock at $49.99 and due in the second quarter; two iPod speakers with FM radio and alarm at $49.99 and $69.99, due in the second quarter; and a dual alarm clock/radio with motorized iPod docking system at a suggested $99.99, also due in the second quarter.

Dice: Dice rolls in with two new tabletop HD Radios, one of which is the tentatively named iPod-docking, iTunes-tagging iTR-200, due in the first quarter. The mono model can be used with optional second speaker to deliver stereo. It also features HD-Radio conditional access, dual alarms and HD-station seek button, which seeks out only HD-Radio stations. Pricing was unavailable.

iHome: The SDI brand is launching an updated docking clock radio and Colortunes iPod-docking speaker-equipped carrying cases.

The iH9 clock radio carries the $99 suggested retail of its predecessor but adds remote control of the iPod menu; wake up to an iPod song or playlist; programmable one- to 30-minute snooze; and selectable everyday, weekday and weekend alarm settings. It also features dual alarms, bass and treble controls, balance control, and line-in to listen to other-brand MP3 players. It ships in January.

The water-resistant Colortunes portable carrying case, at a suggested $49, features two external speakers in a zippered case that open to reveal an iPod dock. The 2-watt case, operating off four AA batteries, features external iPod controls and external IR eye, enabling use of a remote. It charges an iPod when connected to optional AC adapter. A line-in allows for playback of other-brand MP3 players. It ships in January in six colors.

iLuv: The brand is launching its first iPod-docking home DVD player and a one-piece docking stereo system that also features stereo Bluetooth.

The $149-suggested i1255desktop DVD player features slim chassis and embedded dock on top. It displays iPod videos on a connected TV as well as on-screen iPod menu. Other features of the single-disc player include a remote. It ships in March.

The docking stereo system is the $249-suggested i399, due in January with FM stereo and the company’s next-generation BluePin II technology, which extends range to 300 feet from 33 feet. The technology is embedded in a removable cartridge that can be swapped out to add future Bluetooth versions. The cartridge is included in the price but will also be sold separately for use in other BluePin-slotted devices. The i399 plays music transmitted from Bluetooth-equipped sources such as cellphones, and it doubles as a hands-free speakerphone for Bluetooth-equipped cellphones. iLuv is a jWIN brand.

Already shipping is the brand’s second iPod-docking portable DVD player, the $269-suggested i1185 with 8.5-inch widescreen with video output to display iPod and DVD video on a TV screen. It’s lighter and less bulky than its predecessor.

iLive: The Digital Products International brand will expand its selection of iPod-docking devices to 23 from eight. They’ll include the brand’s first iPod-docking tabletop HD Radio, which features dual alarms, line input and full-function remote at $149. Additional details were unavailable.

Also new: a $99 iPod-docking 2.1-channel amplified speaker bar for flat-panel TVs, due this month, and first iPod-docking portable DVD players, and a $29.99 iPod-docking boombox said to be the only such device to dock with iPod Shuffles as well as other iPod models. Portable iPod speaker systems from $14.99 to $69.99 will also debut.

A new sister brand, Zlive, will launch its first speaker system to dock with Microsoft’s Zune portables. The $49.99 model features a video output and line input to connect other-brand MP3 players. Additional details were unavailable.

JBL: The brand’s first iTunes-tagging tabletop HD Radio, the On Time 400IHD, is due January at a suggested $299 from Harman Multimedia. The 2×10-watt unit with two drivers and dual alarms is 15 inches wide and 6 inches tall with a dock on top. Its receives FM multicasts, remote control of music and video browsing, video outputs, stereo minijack input, bass port and 60Hz to 20kHz frequency response.

The JBL On Stage 3P portable dock, an AC/DC model at a suggested $149, is touted as the first Apple-approved docking station for the iPhone, enabling it to double as a hands-free speakerphone and automatically mute the music when a call comes in, a spokeswoman said. It features video outputs and ships in January.

The 2×10-watt device is said to operate off six AAA batteries for up to 12 hours of continuous playback. A battery-saving feature automatically puts the device into sleep mode when no audio is detected. A USB port allows for automatic synchronization with a PC’s iTunes program. It also features line input and remote.

Its circular footprint is 6 inches in diameter, and it’s 1.75 inches tall.

JVC: The company is launching its first two dedicated iPod speaker systems, three docking home theater in a box systems (HTiBs), two new docking minisystems and one docking microsystem. They follow the launch of the company’s first docking products in late 2006 and in 2007.

One of the speaker systems, the NX-PN7 at an expected everyday retail of about $150, holds and charges two iPods simultaneously. The one-piece system, due in May, features AM/FM tuner, clock/timer and remote. The other speaker system, the clock-radio-size RA-P30 (black) and -P31 (white), will retail for about $100 when it ships in May with FM tuner, dock on top, dual alarms, aux input and remote. They can be AC- or battery-powered via six AA batteries. They are a little more than a foot long and less than 3 inches tall.

LG: The PC12 tabletop HD Radio features iPod dock and vacuum-loading CD player. Additional details were unavailable.

Lifestyle Entertainment Group: The $79-suggested iTube speaker from the San Clemente, Calif., company is a 6-inch-long, 3-inch diameter aluminum tube with AC/DC operation, embedded speakers, dock and remote. It runs off four AAA batteries. The iPod recharges when the tube is connected to the AC adapter. It’s available in five iPod colors in the first quarter. It docks with an iPhone, which automatically goes into airplane mode when playing music.

Philips: Philips will add iPod docks to almost every one of its stereo music systems and home theater systems in 2008 while expanding its selection of stereo systems with connections to additional digital music sources, including SD memory cards, USB drives and Bluetooth-equipped cellphones.

In 2007, Philips offered the largest selection (18 SKUs) of home audio music systems, HTiBs and other home electronics with iPod docks of any A-brand CE supplier, and the selection will only grow in 2008, said Cesar Martinez, home entertainment solutions marketing VP. “The iPod is a de facto content provider,” forcing CE suppliers to acknowledge the need to access that provider, he said.

Samsung: The brand’s first three HTiBs with embedded iPod docks debut.

Sony: The company’s first six iPod-docking stereo systems, which join iPod-docking HTiBs and A/V receivers, consist of an iTunes-tagging tabletop HD Radio with embedded iPod dock and five stereo shelf systems, two of which feature embedded docks. The other three shelf systems are equipped with a Digital Media Port, first available on A/V receivers and HTiBs in 2007, to connect to iPod-docking cradles and other add-ons, such as the company’s DLNA-certified Wi-Fi adapter.

An iPod cradle is included with one of the three shelf systems and sold separately for the other two.

In tabletop radio, the XDR-S10HDiP tabletop radio is due in the summer at around $180 on an everyday basis. It receives FM multicasts and comes with wireless remote.

Spectra: The company will expand its selection of iPod-docking tabletop radios and stereo systems to more than 30 from 18 under the Jensen name licensed from Audiovox. They’ll include the company’s first iPod docks with screens to display iPod videos and digital images.

One model, the $229-suggested JiMS-570, is a one-piece system with 5-inch LCD to display iPod-stored videos and photos. Photos and videos can also be displayed from memory cards in the SD/MMC card slot. It also features digital-tuning AM/FM tuner, alarm clock functions, remote and line input.

The $199-suggested JiMS-525, targeted for second-quarter availability, is a one-piece iPod-docking iTunes-tagging tabletop HD Radio with S-Video output to display iPod videos on a TV. It also features dual alarms and remote and full compatibility with the iPhone, enabling it to mute iPhone music when a call is received.

Two new iPod speaker systems, the $99-suggested JiSS-330 and $129-suggested JiSS-550, feature a shiny black finish and chrome mesh grilles to achieve a retro look. The 330 features 10-watt, three-driver design with embedded docking cradle. The 25-watt five-driver 550 comes with tethered docking cradle. Both feature S-Video and composite-video outputs to display iPod videos on a TV.

Tannoy: The high-end speaker maker’s first iPod speaker system is the $399-everyday i30, due in January with a built-in carrying handle and remote.

The 5.38-inch by 18-inch by 5.5-inch model displays iPod video on a connected TV, has auxiliary 3.5mm input, a remote that controls iPod functions, USB socket to sync with iTunes on a PC, BASH amplifier technology and frequency response of 60Hz to 22kHz (-6dB). It also features Digital Sound Processor to optimize audio playback and 1-inch aluminum electromagnetic dome tweeters that don’t require a crossover and can’t burn out from abuse, the company said.

Since a version was announced for the United Kingdom, the model destined for the United States will add a video output, docking wells for the new Nano and iTouch, and a more intuitive remote.