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