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Spotlight: GPS, DBS Are Featured Road-Trip Gadgets

By | May 31, 2004

      Al and Ed’s Autosound, a mobile electronics and communications retailer with 29 stores in Southern California, has included two new satellite products in its “hot items” list for consumers to purchase. This summer, the featured satellite products are the Magellan Roadmate 700 and the KVH TracVision A5.

      The Magellan Roadmate 700 is an in-vehicle Global Positioning System (GPS) product, while the KVH TracVision A5 satellite and television music service is used by backseat passengers in specially equipped vehicles.

      These products are two of the top three mobile electronics devices being rolled out this summer for vacationers across the country, according to the retailer’s list. The portable Magellan system requires no wires, cables or ports to hook up; it is ready to use off the shelf. The GPS device includes a built-in map of the entire United States, with two million points of interest ranging from hotels to ATM machines. The GPS system helps motorists plan routes to optimize distance, time and freeway usage. In addition, a driver can use the Magellan Roadmate 700 to receive turn-by-turn directions. The Magellan Roadmate 700 is priced at $1,299.

      For those taking long car rides, the KVH TracVision A5 might be worth buying to entertain those relegated to the back seat. The TracVision A5 is a satellite TV system offering more than 300 channels of satellite television and more than 50 channels of music. The KVH’s TracVision satellite antenna easily can be mounted on the roof rack of a car, and it stands roughly five inches high. The cost for the equipment is $3,995 plus a monthly subscription fee to the satellite service.

      “Both new products seem to be designed to solve the ‘are we there yet?’ problem,” said Dr. Mark R. Chartrand, a Baltimore-based satellite consultant. “I think GPS is the best thing since sliced bread.”

      -Andrew Janowitz

      (Gary Kishner or Stefan Pollack, Al and Ed’s Autosound, 310/556-4443; Dr. Mark Chartrand, 410/235-6932)

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