updated 06:40 pm EST, Fri January 6, 2006
iPod-friendly auto players
As one in four households now owns a digital audio player, according to published reports, and 70 percent to 80 percent of these own an iPod, makers of home and car audio equipment are quick to offer more iPod-friendly options. Car audio makers are looking to upgrade their iPod cable connectors, making them faster and more intuitive this year. , as well as the upcoming DM365USB which offers a USB port, MP3/WMA playback, and remote control; they retail for $260 and are expected ship this spring.
Dual is introducing a Microsoft PlaysForSure external adapter, the EAUSB-20, for three new in-dash DVD players and several CD players. The adapter is expected to ship this spring for $100. Other Dual units offer "iPlug," which can connect the head unit to an iPod, but not control it. iPlug is also sold separately for $15.
H&M is introducing its new CA-5555i CD player with iPod connectivity, FM radio, SD/MMC card reader and front-panel USB connector. Suggested retail is $200.
Jensen is expected to ship the VM902ITS AM/FM/DVD monitor in April. The navigation-ready unit features iPod control, an SD card slot, built-in TV tuner, 6.5-inch touch screen, and offers MP3, WMA, VCD, SVCD, JPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVI and XM radio playback. Retail price is $1000.
JVC in December began shipping an improved version of the iPod interface it debuted but did not ship last year. The KS-PD100 charges the iPod while allowing the head unit controls to mimic those of the iPod. It retails for $120.
Panasonic has a new iPod cable which does not require a black box and is expected to ship in February; it will be available $50. Also coming from Panasonic is Bluetooth and satellite-ready tuner as well as newer, full speed iPod connectivity on select models starting at $140.
For $1000, Panasonic is offering its first double-DIN DVD receiver/monitor. The CQ VD6503U is iPod, Bluetooth and satellite radio ready, and has MP3/WMA capability. It is expected to ship in March.