Matsushita creates digital videodisc system for cars

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TOKYO -- Japanese electronics giant Matsushita Electric Industrial Inc. 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 start selling the DVD car navigation-entertainment system in Japan on November 1. The DVD system without monitor will sell for $1,955 and an entire system with 7" LCD TV display will cost $2,670. The company also has lower priced systems 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 claimed to be the fastest on the market for conducting searches.

By the end of fiscal 1998, the overall market for car navigation systems in Japan is expected to reach a half million units a year, the company said. Matsushita did not release plans for an overseas launch.

Copyright September 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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