Gadget Du Jour: Alpine Mobile Multimedia Station

April 11, 2008
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Alpine's latest car stereo may just be the single piece of equipment you need to live in the digital age -- possibly, even, to live in your car.

Well, maybe not to live in your car, but certainly to turn your car into a media center that's missing only 8-tracks, LPs and 45s in its laundry list of capabilities. Alpine says the new player -- the IVA-W505, if you're hunting Amazon or Crutchfield -- can read and play DVDs, CDs, MP3s and AACs, not to mention WMAs and DivX files. It'll also hook up and control either flavor of satellite radio, along with the newer HD Radio. And lastly it includes a navigation dock for Alpine's portable Blackbird device.

Oh, and it's Bluetoothed out, too.

The system uses a graphic interface to control all the various inputs. It also adapts content into a tagging format compatible with Apple's iTunes -- so you don't have to go hunting for Amy Winehouse outside the usual confines. With a separately purchased HD Radio tuner, you can press a button when you hear a song you like and the system will sync with your iPod, which will then take you to purchase the songs the next time you connect to Apple's music service.

There's no mention of iPhone compatibility, but the device will work with the most popular iPod models and can play back video from the Applets, too. Suggested retail is $1100, but Crutchfield has it for $999 right now.

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