Kenwood announced two in-dash DVD entertainment receivers with built-in WiFi communication capabilities intended to allow for enhanced operation of navigation, hands-free control of social media, cloud-based content search and content sharing with compatible external devices. The connected receiver’s embedded WiFi accesses a dedicated Kenwood server, which manages a series of moving-vehicle-optimized utilities, bringing a nearly unlimited amount of cloud-based services, content and search capabilities. (Subscription to the Kenwood cloud services is free for two years; afterward, a two-year subscription can be obtained for $60.00).
The Kenwood Excelon DNN990HD ($1,700) connects to a WiFi-enabled smartphone or mobile hotspot to enhance mobile navigation, access content across multiple media sources, receive and send Facebook and Twitter updates as well as manage e-mail hands-free, and share audio and video content in the vehicle with an external Kenwood touchscreen monitor/controller. All of this built-in technology is in addition to having a wide range of connected features, including built-in HD Radio, Pandora Internet Radio, iHeartRadio for Auto (iHeartAuto, Clear Channel’s all-in-one digital music app specifically designed for use in-vehicle, streaming audio services, Bluetooth with audio streaming capabilities, on-board industry-leading Garmin navigation featuring INRIX real-time traffic and weather and being SiriusXM Ready (optional SiriusXM Vehicle Connect tuner and subscription required).
As an entertainment device, the DNN990HD can perform a cross-platform media search for audio and video content stored on a WiFi-connected smartphone or connected mass storage device as well as network search for content through the built-in streaming audio apps. Through cloud-based services, the user can search for content by a particular genre or artist, and if a search is performed for a specific song, content-on-demand services will be used (paid subscription required).
For hands-free social media interaction, the DNN990HD can receive and send messages over Facebook and e-mail, and manage Twitter and RSS feeds hands-free via voice command. Advanced speech recognition, text-to-speech and speech-to-text conversion processing via the dedicated Kenwood cloud server make this possible.
While in the navigation mode, the DNN990HD pulls real-time data services from the INRIX Traffic Intelligence Platform to provide drivers with up-to-the-minute traffic, weather, parking, speed camera and travel advisory information. These enhancements to the Garmin navigation platform provide the most accurate, intuitive and safe navigation experience available today in a moving vehicle. Even when the vehicle is parked for the night, the user can still enjoy enhanced connected services by uploading routes, see previous routes, review music and video content that has been played and enter user preferences via home computer or smartphone app. Up to four accounts can be added for other drivers, with their unique travel and entertainment preferences and content stored by the Kenwood cloud server and accessible upon demand by the DNN990HD.
The DNN990HD will also share audio and video content in the vehicle with the LZ-T700, an external monitor/controller with a 7-inch touchscreen. The handheld LZ-T700 can be mounted in the rear of the vehicle using a standard mounting kit (available separately) and will control and display content wirelessly transmitted from the in-dash connected receiver.
OEM integration with a factory Ford SYNC system is made possible through Kenwood’s first-to-market introduction of iDataLink Maestro RR (manufactured and sold by Automotive Data Solutions). Using the iDataLink Maestro RR module and vehicle-specific quick-connect T-harness system, the DNN990HD communicates with the vehicle data network and SYNC module. This single-box solution allows the connected receiver to offer touchscreen command and control of factory system functions and display text, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming and SYNC voice controlled features while retaining steering wheel controls and factory-installed audio functions. New for 2013 is the ability to view and operate interior climate controls, distance and proximity sensors, tire pressure sensors and vehicle gauges such as engine temperature, RPM and other performance measurements. Also included is the industry’s first seamless integration with GM OnStar systems.
Managing this vast array of content would otherwise be confusing and difficult, however the DNN990HD’s WVGA 6.95” touchscreen incorporates an ergonomic, intuitive graphic user interface (GUI) that the user can personalize to quickly access most-used functions and prioritize information that is most important. The high-speed, animated GUI has independent, task-related screens for entertainment, communication, social media, calendar and cloud-based utilities.
The DNN990HD is not only a revolutionary connected receiver with almost unlimited capabilities, it is also a strong audio performance model. On-board DSP with digital time alignment and a 13-band equalizer help to optimize audio and DVD performance, while three sets of 5.0 volt preamp outputs provide system building flexibility. Dual USB ports provide expanded connectivity to external devices, while dual camera inputs allow for the option of having front and rear view cameras installed.
The Kenwood DNN770HD ($1,300) is a value-added combination of connected technologies, intuitive user interface and great Kenwood quality with features similar to that of the DNN990HD. A compact front-panel knob is included alongside the 6.1” WVGA LCD touchscreen panel, giving the user complete control over multiple audio and video sources, cloud-based content and utilities, enhanced navigation and content shared in the vehicle with the Kenwood LZ-T700 external monitor/controller.
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