DVDs steer autos clear

Matsushita announces car disc player

TOKYO — Japanese electronics giant Matsushita Electric Industrial Inc. has announced it will market the world’s first digital videodisc (DVD) car navigation system that is also capable of playing DVD movies and CD audio discs.

Subsidiary Matsushita Communication Industrial Co., Ltd. will put the DVD car navigation-entertainment system on the market in Japan on Nov. 1. The DVD system without monitor will sell for 260,000 yen ($1,955) and an entire system with 7-inch LCD TV display will be priced at $2,670. The company also has lower priced system that will sell for about $2,000.

The new DVD players offer such goodies as capability to play DVD movies; voice control functions; Internet capability through mobile phone; and CD ROM and music CD compatibility. For car navigation, the system offers 3-D maps and a central processing unit that is the fastest on the market for conducting searches, the company said.

By the end of the fiscal 1998, the overall market for car navigation systems in Japan is expected to reach a half million units a year.

Matsushita did not release plans for an overseas launch.

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