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Single DIN Screen Sensations

DVD screen head units that fit into the space of a single DIN - without the annoying flip-out!

By Michael Knowling

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At a glance...

  • Single DIN size stunners
  • Integrated in-dash DVD screen
  • Full MP3/WMA compatibility
  • The latest from JVC and NESA Vision
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Want in-car DVD/TV but not keen on those flimsy flip-out screens that foul access to the dashboard and controls? Well, here’s the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for - you can now watch your favourite movies, television or listen to audio on an ultra-neat single DIN head unit. That’s right – an all-in-one audio/visual system can now be housed within a single DIN opening!

At the time of writing there are two manufacturers offering single DIN head units with built-in DVD screens – JVC and NESA Vision.

JVC

The first head unit of this type is the JVC KD-AVX1 which was released in early/mid 2005.

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A member of the popular JVC EXAD audio visual range, the KD-AVX1 is a single DIN multi-media system with a versatile 3 inch TFT LCD colour monitor built into the face panel. In its most basic application, the 3 inch screen serves as the navigation display for the unit’s setup but, more excitingly, it can be used to watch DVD movies or television (using an optional KV-C1008 analogue tuner). In addition, you can plug in an optional reversing camera or view JPEG digital photos on-screen. You can even enjoy a slideshow.

And what about the screen quality, you ask? Well, the KD-AVX1’s TFT LCD monitor offers extremely high resolution, a 4:3 aspect ratio, a switchable dimmer and a wide viewing range with selectable face angle.

The KD-AVX1 is also big on compatibility. It supports CD/CD-R/CD-RW, MP3/WMA, DVD-R/-RW/VCD and GIGA MP3. The GIGA MP3 function lets you play MP3/WMA music burnt onto a DVD rather than a conventional CD – on one DVD you can store up to around 1000 songs... You can also control an iPod using an optional adapter (Part Number KS-PD100). There’s CD text and disc name registration (displaying ID3/WMA tags), direct track access and a remote stacker (Part Number CH-X1500) can be added as an option. The inbuilt AVX1’s HS-IIIi tuner offers 18 FM and 6 AM presets, station name registration, auto antenna and the usual seek/search functions. In the US it can also receive satellite radio using an optional adaptor.

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An inbuilt MOSFET amplifier provides 50W x 4 Max (20W x 4 RMS) into 4 ohms with no more than one percent total harmonic distortion (THD). An Advanced 24-bit D/A converter and DTS processing/Dolby Digital ensure sound quality. The amplifier is stable with 4 – 8 ohm impedances and offers a frequency response from 40 – 20,000Hz. JVC’s iEQ function gives you a seven-band user-adjustable equalizer as well as nine present equalizer curves.

There’s plenty of room for expansion with two pairs of line output terminals, sub-woofer output terminals, a second audio output terminal and video output terminal – all gold plated. Auxiliary AV input terminals can also be utilized if you want to get creative. The JVC Dual Zone function also means you can send DVD output to, say, a pair of back seat monitors (listening via headphones) while you listen to the radio in the front. Very trick.

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The KD-AVX1 is relatively easy to use with its ‘twin key’ control, logical on-screen navigation and full-function remote control. The unit has a black finish and there are user-selectable wallpaper colours. The control panel has a motorized slide-out face for disc access and the face is detachable for security purposes.

Although now discontinued in Australia, the JVC KD-AVX1 sold new for around AUD$1000 and the optional KV-C1008 television tuner (which is still current) sold for around AUD$300. Today, the KD-AVX1 can be picked up brand new from various overseas markets or second-hand for around AUD$600 – AUD$700... Note that, although the chassis of the KD-AVX1 is the standard single DIN size, the faceplate is slightly larger – this can cause mounting problems in some vehicles.

This year, the JVC KD-AVX1 has been replaced by the KD-AVX2.

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The new model is largely the same as the earlier version – the biggest difference is the use of a larger (3.5 inch) screen. The new screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, though there are user-selectable aspect modes, and an improved 12-bit video D/A converter is fitted.

Compatibility is further improved with JVC’s GIGA MP3 MULTI system which lets you play WAV files burnt to DVD. MPEG1/2 compatibility and JVC’s latest HS-IV tuner system have also been introduced.

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The four-channel MOSFET amp continues with the same output as the KD-AVX1. However, sound quality is enhanced by the improved 24-bit audio D/A converter and there’s the benefit of 5.1 channel Dolby Digital surround sound. Interestingly, there’s also a new Headphone Surround system that creates ‘room reverberations’ to improve realism when the Dual Zone function is in use. Any type of headphones can be plugged in.

The KD-AVX2 has the same chassis and faceplate dimensions as the earlier model but the face is reconfigured so the monitor is centrally placed and the ‘twin key’ controls are found on either side.

Retail price for the KD-AVX2 is AUD$1199 plus AUD$330 for the KD-C1008 analogue television tuner - but you can find them substantially cheaper via eBay. Make sure you check local warranty coverage when purchasing from overseas.

NESA Vision

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US-based NESA Vision is the second manufacturer to release aDVD/CD head unit with built-in monitor. The 2006 NESA Vision NSD-360 has similar primary features to the JVC units and incorporates a 3.6 inch wide screen TFT LCD monitor – the biggest in the class. The screen offers high definition with adjustable colour contrast, brightness and tint.

Like the JVC unit, the NESA Vision NSD-360 has a motorised faceplate which gives access to the disc player as well as adjustable viewing angle. The angle of the faceplate can also be linked to ignition position.

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The NSD-360 is compatible with DVD/VCD/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/MP3 and has PAL/NTSC format selection. Mechanical and digital anti-shock systems are built in. A digital AM/FM tuner, with all the seek/search functions you’d expect, is also included. Compared to the JVC equivalents, the NESA Vision unit misses out on stacker control, iPod and satellite radio compatibility.

Amplifier output is 45W x 4 Max (approximately 20W x 4 RMS) and sound quality is assured by a Dolby Digital decoder. You won’t find a user-adjustable graphic equaliser but you do get four preset equaliser curves and basic bass/treble/fader/balance controls. There are four RCA audio outputs (including sub-woofer output), a video output and audio/video output. Like the JVC units, the NSD-360 has a rear view input from a reversing camera (optional) and a pair of auxiliary AV inputs.

The black bodied NSD-360 has blue illuminated controls and comes with a full-function remote control. The faceplate is also detachable to help deter theft.

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Although not as highly spec’d as the JVC units, the NESA NSD-360 holds a major price advantage with a recommended retail of just AUD$699. An analogue television tuner adds AUD$490 or you can step up to a digital tuner for AUD$999. Your local Australian NESA dealer can be found at www.neltronics.com.au/dealers.htm

So the time has come. If you’ve always wanted an all-in-one in-car system that’s compact and integrated, these latest JVC and NESA Vision products are your long-awaited solution!

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