Pioneer adds entertainment to car navigation

Pioneer's new AVIC-Z1 in-car navigation system can keep you and your passengers entertained while ensuring you don't get lost.

The secret is the 30GB hard drive, which can store the entire TeleAtlas database and still have 10GB to spare for music, which it rips from CDs at 4X speed. The US$2250 device delivers text-to-speech directions, and uses voice recognition to receive commands and address searches.

Using the optional ND-BT1 Bluetooth adapter, the Z1 allows you to make hands-free phone calls on a compatible cell phone, and can store a phone book and retrieve listings by voice command. Other adapters are available for XM and Sirius satellite radio, iPod, a CD changer and TV tuner. The Z1 will be available in April.

The US$1800 AVIC-N3 isn't quite as tricked-out, but it also works with an iPod adapter, and displays a similar menu system on its touchscreen for operating the music player.

And your passengers don't have to suffer your poor taste in entertainment. The back seat drivers can enjoy a DVD movie while you listen to satellite radio.

Detailed traffic information is available if you integrate the Pioneer GEX-P10XMT traffic tuner and subscribe to the XM NavTraffic service.