JVC Celebrating 30th By Boosting Connectivity

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LAS VEGAS —

JVC is celebrating its 30th anniversary in the U.S. car audio aftermarket by increasing car audio connectivity to a device that didn’t exist in 1982: the cellphone.

Here at International CES, JVC is:

• adopting advanced external mode to enable head-unit control of most of the functions of select apps running on a USB-connected iPod Touch or iPhone;

• adopting Bluetooth’s serial port protocol (SPP) for the first time to expand the number of Pandora Internet radio functions that a head unit can control on a Bluetooth-connected Android smartphone;

• adding iPod Out mode to its A/V multimedia units, enabling the heads’ large screens to display a user interface transferred from a connected iPod/iPhone; and

• enhancing head units’ USB ports to provide basic navigation from the head units of music stored on a USBconnected Android or BlackBerry smartphone. In other developments, JVC is:

• expanding its selection of head units with embedded HD Radio to nine from six at prices starting at an everyday $119;

• adding HD Radio’s channel guide and bookmark functions for the first time in two A/V-navigation units;

• launching its first three digital media receivers (DMRs), which lack CD mechanism; and

• launching its first head units with connection to the new SiriusXM universal tuner. The connection is turning up in all but one A/V-multimedia head unit and in all A/Vnavigation units. Here are the details of these and other developments:

Advanced external mode

: New multimedia A/V head units are the company’s first with advanced external mode, which enables the head units to control key functions of multiple compatible apps on a USB-connected iPhone. The apps include MOG on-demand music, Tune In Internet radio, MotionX-GPS Drive, SonicMax for JVC and Inrix traffic.

In JVC’s 2011 lineup, most head units priced down to an everyday $109 had iPod-enabled USB ports whose App Mode, or external mode, enabled the streaming of audio content from iPhone-stored apps and, in multimedia-A/V units, the display of maps from the Motion X navigation app. External mode, however, didn’t let users control the apps from their head units.

Advanced external mode appears in four new double- DIN A/V multimedia units priced at an expected everyday $429 to $579. A fifth new A/V multimedia unit lacks the feature.

Bluetooth SPP mode

: The company is adopting Bluetooth’s SPP in select heads to control more functions on Pandora apps running on Android and Black- Berry smartphones than can be controlled via Bluetooth’s AVRCP (audio video remote control profile).

SPP is appearing for the first time in six single-DIN CD receivers, three double-DIN receivers, and in two of the company’s first three DMRs.

With SPP and a free JVC App for Android, users can also use their Android phone’s touchscreen to control almost every feature of the connected head units.

With AVRCP, head-unit control of smartphone Internet radio apps is limited to track/ station up/down and play/pause, but with SPP, control is extended to such Pandora functions as thumbs up/down, station-list menu for channel selection, and bookmarklist menu.

This year, the company is extending AVRCP down to $139 in one of the company’s first DMRs.

iPod Out

: For the first time, JVC is adding iPod Out mode to its A/V multimedia units, enabling the heads’ larger screens to display a user interface transferred from a connected iPod/iPhone. The feature has also begun to appear in OEM head units.

With iPod Out, head-unit controls operate faster than they do with a head unit supplier’s proprietary iPod interface because the iPod-transferred interfaces don’t need to process interface data sent by an iPod. The iPod Out menu appearing on the JVC head’s screen look like iPod Classic interfaces.

With iPod Out, head units can also display album art in a larger format than album art appearing on other iPod-controlling A/V head units.

USB mass storage

: In its CD receivers and DMRs, the company improved its USB ports to control song selection on Android and BlackBerry smartphones. When the phones are in mass-storage mode, consumers can use the head units’ controls to navigate songs by selecting folders and by selecting individual songs via the track up/ down button. The USB ports also charge the smartphones.

The USB mass-storage feature is available in all head units equipped with USB, with so-equipped CD receivers starting at an everyday $119 and DMRs starting at $109.

Pandora, iHeartRadio control via iPhone USB

: The company is expanding control of a Pandora app on a USB-connected iPhone to A/V multimedia units for the first time, adding it to four of five new A/V models and to all new A/V-nav units. The feature was available in 2011 only in four single-DIN CD receivers.

iHeartRadio control was available in two A/V-navigation units in the 2011 line and has been expanded to all four new A/V-nav units in 2012.

DMRs:

The company is launching its first DMRs, or single-DIN head units without CD mechanism,positioning them as low-cost alternatives to CD receivers.

HD Radio:

The company is expanding its selection of heads with embedded HD Radio to nine units from six, including two navigation systems, at prices starting at $119, down from the 2011 line’s opening price of $129. Eight of these models feature iTunes tagging.

The company is also adopting two new HD Radio features in its two HD-Radio-equipped nav systems, the $999 KWNT500HD with 6.1-inch touchscreen and $1,299 KWNT800HD with 7-inch touchscreen.

One feature is a channel guide that captures metadata broadcast by HD Radio stations and RDS FM stations broadcast to display the titles of programs and songs currently playing across multiple stations. The second feature is a bookmark function that improves upon iTunes tagging.

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