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2008 JVC Arsenal Series In-Dash Receiver Review - Bluetooth, Satellite, HD, and iPod Ready

 


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Introduction

In February of 2008, JVC released an entire line of brand new Arsenal Series in-dash head units. First available on the market February 9, 2008, these Arsenal Series receivers set the new standard of what is to be the new generation of mobile audio and video entertainment.

The market could no longer settle for a typical CD player with AM/FM capabilities because technology is advancing incredibly fast. To answer the demand for high tech integrations, JVC released their car stereo systems that are equipped to fit the needs of modern day consumers.

Note: This review is a general overview of the entire JVC Arsenal Series receivers, please check back soon to see detailed reviews of specific products.

Pros

JVC Arsenal head units are designed for specific needs. The great thing about the Arsenal series is the fact that JVC does not try to cram every feature into one unit. This is good for many reasons. First, it tends to reduce cost on a specific unit versus a unit that does everything. Second, you can be sure that product quality on Arsenal receivers are not compromised like a feature-crammed unit made by a no-name brand.

Let me give you an example. Perhaps you have already bought a GPS navigation that mounts on your dash or your windshield, great. Now you want a 7" in-dash monitor but you obviously do not need the extra navigation feature. For this reason exists the KW-ADV790, a double-DIN in-dash LCD monitor with built-in DVD player. It costs about 300 dollars less than a similar unit that has built-in navigation features in it. It also features a touchscreen and rear view camera input that makes this unit both versatile and simple to its purpose. Sit back, relax, and watch a movie by the beach with the KW-ADV790.

Arsenal single DIN receivers generally look the same but each are tailored for specific features. The KD-ABT22 features built-in Bluetooth connectivity that will allow users to wirelessly stream audio into the unit or receive phone calls. It also features a rear USB port that will allow users to play MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, iPod, and even WMA with DRM. Similarly, KD-APD89 features everything but the Bluetooth connection.

If you're looking for a simple HD Radio tuner, the KD-AHD39 is the solution for you. It is simply a CD player capable of receiving HD Radio signals. No other fancy features, no confusing buttons. It plays just like a regular AM/FM CD player and comes equipped with a front 3.5mm auxiliary input.

For all of you iPod lovers out there, the KD-APD58 and the KD-APD49 are two head units that could be your answer to iPod integration for your vehicle. It has built-in connection to any iPod equipped with docking port. You could control and view song titles on your in-dash receiver so you won't have to navigate and scroll through your songs on your iPod while driving. The only difference between the two is the additional preamp output and AAC playback capability of the KD-APD58.

Last but not least is the KD-ADV49, also known as “the Kamaleon". It features a sleek knob-less design that is brandished in shiny black glassy finish. It also features a 3.5" LCD display and is capable of playing DVD, DivX, Mpeg 1/2, AAC, MP3, WMA, and WAV. It has three sets of preamp outputs, giving you the ability to wire this source unit into an additional amplifier. It also has a rear USB port and could control and operate your iPod. Let's not forget the new proximity sensor that JVC showcases on this model. It knows when you are approaching the front of the screen so that a menu is ready when you want it and hides when you are away. Did I mention that the entire front panel disappears when you turn it off? It's literally a chameleon, blending into your dash when it's idle or turned off.

Keep in mind that all 2008 JVC Arsenal head units are (if they are not already) Satellite Radio ready, HD Radio ready, iPod ready, and Bluetooth ready, as well as equipped with a 3.5mm front panel input. This gives you a wide option to choose from, should you choose to expand your system at a later time. Additionally, WAV, MP3, WMA, and DivX playback are also standardized to any capable receiver.

Cons

Other than the KD-ADV49 and the KW-ADV790, the Arsenal single DIN receivers does not look anything out of the ordinary cosmetically speaking. It seems that JVC needs to push ahead into the new age of mobile entertainment and start designing front panels like the Kamaleon. And unfortunately, they all have dot-matrix type displays and has no significant edge over other brands when it comes to front panel displays.

Another thing to notch a negative point on is the remote design. It's rather bulky and also old-fashioned in design. Not exactly credit card size, but it could clip on to your key chain if you don't mind it being a little unwieldy.

Conclusion

If only one word could be said describing the JVC Arsenal Series head units, it must be “integration". JVC has made great efforts for their product to supply the demand of new technology by integrating increasingly used technology such as HD Radio and Satellite Radio, as well as iPods into their units.

It is definitely a series characterized by advancing technology and giving consumers the ability to expand their system with just one source unit. It is a great buy if you don't mind the standard CD player front panel design on most of the single DIN head units . So enjoy your movies and your digital music. Relax and enjoy the Arsenal Series head-units.

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