Alpine Electronics is first out of the gate with radios that work with a new XM tuner SXV100 that adds TiVo like capability to a car head unit.
Alpine is also first to bundle a CD radio with the satellite radio tuner—and it’s doing so at a low package price of $220.
Additionally, Alpine is showing four Pandora-controlling decks, and it’s introducing a lower cost version of its popular PDX amplifiers. In driver safety, it’s also debuting an active backup camera system.
At the top of Alpine’s new car radio lineup is an in-dash AV/navigation INA-W910 that includes both Pandora control via your iPhone and the ability to work with the new XM tuner (that also provides Best of Sirius programming). With the XM tuner you get a TiVo-like memory buffer of 24-minutes so users can pause, fast forward and rewind through songs. The tuner permits alerts for favorite sports or favorite songs or artists and iTunes tagging. The XM receiver doesn’t require a special cable and it needs very little wiring– one wire to the deck plus an antenna cable. The $69.99 tuner cuts out at least $40 off the price of adding satellite radio as you don’t need extra cables.
The INA-W910 also gives you built-in Bluetooth and HD Radio, and it’s Alpine’s first radio with built-in HD Radio in 3 years. It will ship in April at a price to be announced.
Alpine is offering 2 other decks that work with the XM tuner including the CDE124SXM, which is bundled with the new XM tuner and ships in March. Alpine’s Steve Crawford said, “We believe it will completely blow up the market. Never before has this been achieved.” A second CD radio, the CDE123 at about $250-$260 will also work with the new sat radio tuner.
Alpine models that work with Pandora in addition to the INA-W910 are the CD radios CDE122 and CDE123. They bring the price point for Pandora control down to below $200. Some feature a hard button for thumbs up/thumbs down. Alpine’s Pandora decks may be the only ones available that let you create a new Pandora station from the radio controls as you drive.
“We’re really taking Pandora seriously as a source,” said Crawford. “For the first time you will have dedicated hard buttons for the thumbs up and thumb down icon. So we’re really showing consumers that we have a better integration for Pandora in the car.”
At the low end is a new CDE121 CD/radio with iPod/iPhone control at around $109 to $119.
There’s a new amplifier series called X Power that claims to take technology from the popular PDX amp series and bring it to more moderate prices. The X Power models are full digital amps (including full range models) “at price points normally occupied by analog amps” in the $250 to $400 range, said Alpine. Some of the amps are slightly bigger than the PDX models and some may be the same size. One model, the MRX-V60, is a 5-channel model rated at 75 watts by 4 plus 300 watts by 1 into 2 ohms, which won a CES Innovation Award. Shipping is targeted for spring.
In total Alpine will deliver in 2011, 5 new amplifiers, 12 new speaker models, 5 new subwoofers and a new high end audio processor.
New too is a PXA-H800 audio processor that can be added to an OEM or aftermarket system, and it also won an Innovation Award. It analyses the car’s acoustics and adjusts the sound field and sound settings automatically. But it also lets an installer manually tweak the system. It comes with a core processor plus a controller and is expected to sell for about $850 to $1,000 combined with shipping this spring.
In the category of driver safety is an active backup camera system. Instead of simply showing the driver what’s behind the car on a screen it actively highlights objects that appear on the screen and gives an audible warning. So if a dog darts behind the car you get a warning. A prototype version was shown at CES last year and now it will ship this spring as the HCE-C300R. It’s expected to fall in the $400 to $500 price range. It uses a single small camera with a separate, “very small” processing box that uses advanced algorithms to process the images. “The installation will be cut and dry,” said Crawford. “There’s more on the road map for driver safety,” he added.