LAS VEGAS--Yet another car audio manufacturer is testing out the CD-less lifestyle, as Kenwood announces its KIV-BT900 digital car audio receiver. Apparently, people don't just don't use discs anymore.
The KIV-BT900 drops its CD drive like a hot potato, instead focusing its attention on handling digital audio and video from USB-connected portable media players. Named among the supported devices are the iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Zune. USB mass storage devices are also supported for a variety of audio (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV), picture (JPEG and BMP), and video (MPEG4, WMV and H.264) formats.
When the vehicle is parked, the KIV-BT900 displays its menus, song data, album artwork, and video content on a 3-inch color TFT display. The KIV can also play back video while the vehicle is in motion, but only to an external monitor through its rear video output. Speaking of expandability, a trio of 4-volt preamp outputs allows for the addition of external amplification.
The BT in KIV-BT900 stands for Bluetooth, as the KIV-BT900 features Bluetooth wireless connectivity powered by Parrot. Users who don't want hands-free calling can opt for the less expensive KIV-700, which features all of the functionality of the KIV-BT900 with the exception of Bluetooth.
The Kenwood KIV-BT900 and KIV-700 will retail for $500 and $450, respectively, when they become available in April. KIV-700 users who decide that they want Bluetooth after the fact can add the KCA-BT300 hideaway Bluetooth module for $180, but trust us, the KIV-BT900 is a much better deal.