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JVC puts a nav screen in a car stereo

JVC releases KD-NX5000.

Convergence is the name of the digital game at CES 2007. Music players become phones, phones become GPS devices, and GPS devices become music players. In the latest effort to combine two previously distinct products, JVC Mobile has integrated an 3.5-inch color LCD screen into the faceplate of a in-car stereo head unit to provide drivers with movies, music and directions in one after-market device.

JVC Mobile

The KD-NX5000, on display at CES for the first time, is an impressive product. Its 16GB hard drive-based navigation system contains 13 million points of interest and comes with a built-in RDS-TMC traffic tuner to give drivers real-time traffic information. The system provides turn-by-turn voice guidance, with maps displayed in either 2D or 3D. The unit's display is not a touch screen, so destinations must be entered using hard buttons on the face plate or by using the system's remote control.

Media options include DVD video and MP3-, WMA- and WAV-format digital audio. The remainder of the 40GB hard drive (that's 24GB) is allocated to drivers to create a personal media library. Audiophiles can rip CDs to the hard drive using JVC's Lossless Encoder, which maintains original CD quality, while those wanting to cram in as many songs as possible can store files in compressed format: JVC estimates that the KD-NX5000 has enough capacity for 6,000 songs.

For those who want more connectivity options, the KD-NX5000 can be hooked up to add-on modules for iPod control and Bluetooth hands-free calling. KD-NX5000 will go on sale in February for $999, and the nice man at JVC said that he will be sending out a review unit to CNET in the next couple of weeks.