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Cio Mobile Digital TV - Gadget Inspector

Charles Kinnin Selects His Top 20 Products From The Recent Consumer Electronics Show.

Apr 30, 2010

Kenwood KIV-BT900
Kenwood is introducing its first mechanism-free source unit. The KIV-BT900 has a generous 3'' full-color, multi-lingual TFT display that shows you full song, artist and album text plus large-format, full-color album art. You can watch iPod video files on the display and there's an A/V output so you can send the video signal to separate monitors. The KIV-BT900 also features a new, built-in Bluetooth circuit by Parrott that provides the latest hands-free performance and phone compatibility. The BT900 has three 4v pre-amp outputs with built-in digital sound processing. And an on-board 512MB flash memory module will rip external content through the USB input, supporting a wide range of audio (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV), video (MPEG4, WMV and H.264) and picture (JPEG and BMP) files. MSRP: $500, kenwoodusa.com

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JVC KW-NT3HDT
The KW-NT3HDT is an all-in-one navigation system with built-in HD Radio. It offers real-time traffic conditions and features bluetooth, iPod/iPhone audio and video playback (cable required), iTunes Tagging and a unique detachable face panel. The navigation features map coverage of the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, high-sensitivity WAAS-enabled GPS for accurate navigation, over 6 million POI data from infoUSA, and start-up in less than 15sec. Both Text-to-Speech and voice guidance are available in English, Spanish, and French. The HD Radio offers iTunes Tagging, so you can tag songs you hear on the radio for purchase at the iTunes Store. MSRP: $1199.95, jvc.com

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Cio Mobile Digital TV
On the home side, everybody was talking about 3D television, but in the car it's all about mobile TV. Cio, a subsidiary of Wineguard, has a 10.2'' touchscreen LCD monitor that can receive live mobile digital TV signals and has the ability to play an unlimited number of media formats. Powered by a 12v system, an AC power adapter, or a rechargeable battery back, Cio can be viewed anywhere. The PCAP touchscreen technology is hi-bright and provides a fast, clear and intuitive user-interface. It can receive mobile DTV, which is free, and plays a wide range of other formats, including 3G Internet, DVD, CD, iPod music and video, MP3, SD card photo and video files, USB audio and video storage and game devices. It should be available in the first quarter of the year. MSRP: TBA, ciomobiletv.com

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Alpine iDA-X305S
Alpine put the trend toward mech-less source units into high gear with the new-gen iPod-dedicated iDA-X305S. It has a hi-res 2.2'' color TFT screen for song, album, artist info and album art. The Quick Search button allows the music library to be searched by playlist, artist, album, song, genre, podcasts, audiobooks or composer. You also have the option of using Alphabet Search or Percentage Search (which divides the music library into six equal sections and assigns them to the six preset buttons) for faster access to your files. You can connect to expanded HD Radio content with the added benefit of multicasting and iTunes Tagging. Bluetooth requires a separate adapter. MSRP: $400, alpine-usa.com alpine-usa.com

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Rockford Fosgate
Punch Plugs

It may seem odd that a company known for big sound should make ear monitors, but Rockford Fosgate is taking a different approach with its Punch Plugs. They've taken lessons learned making great bass and applied them here. The Plugs create a great seal so you really hear the music. Multiple "wide mouth" silicone designs ensure a custom fit for your ears. It also features a proprietary tangle-free flat cable design. Tuned using occluded ear simulator IEC711 (which reproduces the ear canal), you get something you don't often hear with earphones - bass! MSRP: $99, rockfordfosgate.com

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Sony DSX-S100
Sony's new DSX-S100 head unit features what the company is calling the TuneTray. It has a compartment for an iPod or other USB device instead of a CD mechanism. This eliminates the need for connection wires inside the car. The faceplate flips down, pulling forward the TuneTray, complete with an iPod adapter for quick connection to iPod or other DMP. Once connected, the face closes and maintains standard functions. In addition, the S100 features Sony's latest audio technologies, including DM+ Advanced, ZAPPIN and Quick-BrowZer. This model is both satellite and HD Radio ready, and features a large, informative two-line LCD display. MSRP: $150, sony.com

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Flir
Flir's thermal imaging technology has been adopted as the imaging core for the night vision systems in the 2011 Audi A8 and '10 Rolls Royce Ghost. This is the same technology used in the BMW 5-, 6-, and 7-Series cars. In the Ghost and A8 it also incorporates pedestrian detection technology that alerts the driver to pedestrians and cyclists who are approaching the vehicle's path. This technology is available as an aftermarket product called PathFindIR. In addition to seeing farther at night, PathFindIR's wide field of view allows drivers to see things approaching from either side. flir.com

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TomTom Ease
You may be wondering what's the point of portable nav when you have a smartphone. The advantage is you don't have to switch from phone to nav when you get a call while driving, of course. Plus, portable navs are cheap and easy to use. Take TomTom's entry-level Ease: it's a basic device with a lightweight design and integrated EasyPort mount. The device and mount fits into a pocket, purse or glovebox. It also has TomTom Map Share that allows users to make their own map changes, and benefit from thousands of map corrections made by users every day. MSRP: around $130, tomtom.com

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Pioneer AVIC-X920BT
The AVIC-X920BT features 4GB of flash memory, a large 6.1'' WVGA touchscreen display, 3D graphics accelerator, DVD playback, built-in bluetooth for hands-free calling and music streaming, USB connectivity for iPod/iPhone connectivity, micro SD card slot, back-up camera input and is Sirius/XM satellite and HD Radio ready. It also has some brand new features such as a 3D touch-slide interface (for fast file search), MusicSphere (to create mood-based playlists) and ECO Graph (which provides a driving status reports). Another great feature is accessing your music on Pandora through your iPhone or other device. MSRP: $1200, pioneerelectronics.com

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Kicker IX Amplifiers
Kicker is known for big woofers and amps, but also has some terrific high-efficiency Class D units in the smallest chassis ever developed by the company. There are three models in the IX range, a pair of sub amps and a full-range four-channel unit. In addition to a small footprint, they're stackable. Features include differential inputs for noise reduction and compatibility with factory radios, three choices of automatic turn-on modes (remote, DC offset or signal sense) and "soft-start" circuitry to lessen shock load when powering up, as well as a muting circuit to eliminate audio trash that might surge down the line. You can also customize your amps with vinyl skins. MSRP: TBA, kicker.com

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Clarion CZ500
For those of you that still listen to music off discs, take a look at the newly designed CD receiver from Clarion, the CZ500. It has a two-line display and provides easy connectivity to the music and devices you use most, like your iPod or iPhone. There's built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and stereo audio streaming. The CZ500 is HD Radio Ready with the iTunes tagging feature, and is also satellite radio and OEM steering wheel control ready. MSRP: $249, clarion.com

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PocketSurfer & UbiSurfer
PocketSurfer3 and PocketSurfer3 Lite, the latest versions of the web-browsing devices from Datawind, feature an improved high-res, active matrix TFT screen that delivers vivid colors. And the PocketSurfer allows users to browse the web in its original HTML layout with full graphics, Java support and other web functionality. The PocketSurfer3 also has a touchpad mouse pointer that improves navigation around the screen. The UbiSurfer combines Wi-Fi, LAN and embedded wireless data modem and SIM to make the Internet accessible anywhere. It has a 7" TFT widescreen display with, a full qwerty keyboard and an Arm processor with easy-to-use Linux operating system. Applications include web browsing, calendar, media player and Office (word processor, spreadsheet). datawind.com

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Kicker ZK500
You don't hear much about the Zune HD, but Kicker makes the ZK500 dock to play back music with great audio quality. There are two 127mm woofers and silk-dome tweeters, with a square reflex subwoofer on the back for serious sound. It's powered by an internal amp with digital signal processing, providing the soundboard for personal concerts. There's also colorful vinyl skins that allows you to individualize your unit. MSRP: $300, kicker.com

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Clarion NX700
The flagship double-DIN audio/video/nav unit from Clarion has a 7'' motorized touchscreen with an easy to use GUI (with only three hard buttons). Features include an efficient map engine that guides you with vivid 3D graphics. The built-in bluetooth is integrated within the nav application, allowing users to call a searched POI. The NX700 is satellite-radio ready, plays all versions of Divxo video files offers high quality audio with a 24-Bit D/A converter, Magna Bass EX, sub control and built-in high and low pass filters. MSRP: $1199.99, clarion.com

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Morel Maximo
The Maximo is an entry-level component speaker system from the high-end audio manufacturer. It consists of two-way component systems and several coaxial speakers. The new 25mm soft-dome tweeter employs Morel's external voicecoil technology (EVC) and is great for power handling with low distortion while delivering good music reproduction. The speakers use high-grade ferrite magnets, which provide increased magnetic flux for improved power handling and efficiency. The woofers' coated paper cone is carefully shaped for clean, linear movement during low frequency reproduction, reducing distortion and increasing bass. morelhifi.com

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Alpine PDX Amplifiers
Alpine's popular PDX amps are new and improved this year. The PDX-M12, PDX-M6, PDX-F6 and PDX-F4 are designed for ultimate sound quality, performance and reliability. The new maps are 20% thinner than the first generation and sharper looking. They incorporate a new power supply design with thermal and voltage protection, low noise and high efficiency. The optional RUX-KNOB remote bass control plugs into the PDX-M12 and PDX-M6 mono models for direct subwoofer control to make bass adjustments on the fly. The PDX-5 gives you a five-channel amp option. alpine-usa.com

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Kenwood DNX7160
The latest flagship nav/source unit from Kenwood has advanced nav technology by Garmin built-in and includes features such as Lane Assist with Junction View that reduces highway interchange confusion to improve driving safety. The DNX7160 also has built-in NAVTEQ Live Traffic service that's free for the life of the product. For maximizing fuel efficiency, the DNX7160 offers the Garmin-developed EcoRoute that measures the affects of your driving habits on the environment and suggests routes that will provide the best fuel consumption. The WVGA 6.95'' touchscreen has Dynamic Brightness Control that faithfully reproduces the highest quality DVD video, iPod video, USB video, maps and source icons. In addition, the latest Parrot bluetooth is included and allows wireless streaming of music when paired with a compatible device. MSRP: $1700, kenwoodusa.com

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Pioneer MVH-P8200
As you might expect, Pioneer also has a mech-less source unit: the MVH-P8200 and MVH-P8200BT (with bluetooth) are single-DIN receivers with a built-in 3'' TFT screen as the digital interface for audio and video capabilities. Both units playback MP3, WMA and iTunes AAC files via USB and SD memory card. The USB port is located on the front and the memory card slot is located behind the removable front face. You get Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) that helps restore the musical details lost when compressed music files are created. An eight-band graphic equalizer allows you to adjust the sound to your taste, while dedicated 4v pre-amp outputs for front, rear, and subwoofer add to the flexibility. pioneerelectronics.com

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Klipsch X10i
Klipsch introduced the Image X10 a few years ago - an ultra-lightweight in-ear design that offered comfort and sound quality. Now they've added a three-button mic and remote to the new Image X10i headset. It works with the iPhone 3GS, third-gen iPod shuffle, second-gen iPod touch, fourth and fifth-gen iPod nano models and iPod classic 120GB. If you have Wi-Fi access, you can also use the X10i with VOIP, Skype and iChat (you'll need an adapter). Like all Klipsch headphones, the Image X10i utilizes the company's patented oval ear tips for comfortable use, superior noise isolation and excellent bass. MSRP: $349.99, klipsch.com

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