For drivers looking to add a huge touch screen to their in-dash audiovisual experience, there are plenty of double-DIN big-screen units. However, not all drivers have space for a tall receiver in their dashboard or want to advertise that they're packing a thousand dollars' worth of audio equipment in their parked car. For these people, there are motorized DVD receivers like the AVH-P6300BT.
This receiver crams a beautiful 7-inch color display into a single-DIN unit that doesn't attract attention or take up tons of space when not in use. However, the addition of moving parts increases the complexity of the in-dash experience and you'll want to keep your hands, the shift knob, and other obstructions out of the motorized screen's path while it's opening and retracting. So is the space savings worth the additional mechanical complexity?
On the face of the AVH-P6300BT you'll find a volume knob that can be pressed like a button to quickly mute audio, a source selection button that doubles as a power button, skip forward and back buttons, an eject button, and a screen open-and-close toggle. On the far right end of the face are the 3.5mm analog audio input and a full-speed USB connection hidden behind a small door. All of these buttons and connections can be accessed whether the screen is open or retracted, so those who want to hide the bright screen for night driving can maintain some audio control. On the bezel of the touch screen are two additional physical buttons for accessing the Menu and a Mode button to toggle the display on and off without retracting.
The bank of physical buttons can be popped off, rendering the unit unusable and exposing an SD card slot. We found removing the detachable panel to be a bit daunting, often sending the faceplate flying into some dark under-seat corner. Replacing the panel was equally frustrating, requiring that we line up two small hidden tabs before locking the faceplate into place. After a few fumbles, we gave up and left it on for the duration of our testing.
The screen itself opens and retracts on a motorized arm that extends several inches out of the chassis of the unit before rotating into an upright position. The receiver will need to be installed so that there is an arc of about 8-10 inches of clearance in front of the mounting position to avoid damaging the screen mechanism. Once it's installed, users can control the angle of orientation (between 50 and 110 degrees from horizontal) and button illumination color (over 100 colors ranging across the entire spectrum).
The 7-inch WQVGA display features a resolution of 480x240 pixels that, while a bit grainy when observed closely, is reasonably crisp for arm's-length viewing and video playback at this screen size. More importantly, the viewing angle approaches 180 degrees, so there shouldn't be a seat from which you can't clearly view the AVH-P6300BT's screen. Touch sensitivity is resistive, so a bit of pressure will be required to register a tap. The advantage here is that the unit's screen can be used while wearing gloves.
Out back are RCA pigtails for analog video and stereo audio inputs, a rear monitor output and a rearview camera input, and 3.5mm connections for audio for the rear monitor, the microphone for the hands-free calling system, and an optional wired remote. A second bank of RCA pigtails includes outputs for four-channel audio output and a discrete stereo subwoofer output. It also has the standard AM/FM antenna connection and the car stereo wiring harness with connections for power, ground, and speaker level outputs. Going unused out of the box are a pair of connections: one is for Pioneer accessories, such as satellite radio or HD Radio receiver, and the other is a dedicated input for an optional Pioneer navigation upgrade (the AVIC-U220, MSRP $439).