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Kenwood Excelon DDX8901HD

DVD receiver

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Our take on the Kenwood Excelon DDX8901HD

by Ken Nail
Kenwood

DVD receivers: They're not just for movies

DVD receivers add a new level of entertainment to your vehicle. You can watch a movie on the screen when you're parked on a Saturday night, or play a DVD through your rear seat video setup on the road. Touchscreen receivers allow you to breeze through menus with the tip of your finger. Most DVD receivers feature a USB input for audio from your iPod, and the ability to add an adapter that allows video to display on the screen. Some receivers even offer connections for a center speaker and a subwoofer, so you can build a full-fledged theater in your car, just like at home.

App compatibiltiy for smartphone fans

The Kenwood Excelon DDX8901HD DVD receiver offers the features and interfaces you need to use your smartphone safely and easily in the car. You'll have touchscreen control over your Pandora® Internet radio stations with your iPhone® or Android™ phone connected, while Kenwood's iPhone App Mode even lets you stream video content from sources like Netflix and YouTube when your car's parked.

Another big plus — load Garmin's impressive Street Pilot app on select phones, and you can display maps and directions on the receiver's screen, so you can stay on course during your travels. And you've got state-of-the-art connection options with the DDX8901HD — with the help of an optional cable, you've got access to HDMI/MHL connections that ensure the best possible A/V performance with the newest generations of smartphones. For your peace of mind, Kenwood protects this receiver with their Excelon 2-year warranty.

Bluetooth® that's better

The convenience of Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming can't be overstated. When a call comes in, you'll answer with one tap of your finger, and you can stream music without the hassle of plugging your phone into the receiver.  Kenwood ups the game by supporting aptX high-quality audio streaming from equipped devices, so you can enjoy streaming audio quality that'll satisfy your sonic demands.

Kenwood DDX8901HD

You can adjust the angle of the DDX8901HD's touchscreen for optimal viewing.

Factory system compatibility

Many new cars come equipped with sophisticated electronics, like Bluetooth, voice-activated controls, engine diagnostics, and more. The DDX8901HD works with the ADS-MRR module from iDataLink to retain your Ford SYNC, GM OnStar, or Chrysler Uconnect features. Depending on your vehicle, you'll get to keep your voice commands, factory Bluetooth, satellite radio, iPod® control, and steering wheel audio controls. You can also tap into your vehicle's diagnostic port, and set up gauges for engine performance that you can view on the Kenwood's screen.

Awesome audio and video

You can plug your iPod, iPhone, or a thumb drive into this Kenwood's USB port and enjoy all your favorite albums and playlists. A rear A/V input offers a connection for any other audio/video sources, and of course this receiver will play all your CDs and DVDs, including discs loaded with music files. For radio listeners, a built-in HD Radio™ tuner delivers crystal clear FM and AM reception, and you can add an optional SiriusXM tuner to tap into the outstanding variety of music, news, talk, and sports on satellite radio.

Kenwood designed the DNX8901HD to send a crisp, clear signal to your speakers; you can switch on the Drive EQ feature when the radio is playing at lower volumes to boost frequencies in the music that are often masked by road noise.

Video performance is enhanced by the high-resolution VGA screen — perfect for viewing video from DVDs or other sources when you're parked. You can also tap into video content on many iPods or iPhones with the help of optional cables (not included). When you're on the road, you can play movies through a rear-seat monitor for your passengers. It's a great way to spice up long road trips.

Want to keep your car's steering wheel audio controls?

In most cars, you'll need an adapter to retain those controls with a new car stereo. Check “Details” for more information, and the "Accessories" tab for compatible adapters. If you're not sure if you need an adapter, call, chat, or email an Advisor for help determining what you'll need for your vehicle.

Note: Bluetooth compatibility with this device may vary, depending on your phone and service provider.

iPod/smartphone note: If you're going to use your iPod or smartphone with this receiver, be sure to check "Details" for compatibility information.

See more info on this item

Highlights:

    General Features:
    • DVD/CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
    • built-in internal amp (22 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)
    • motorized 6.95" touchscreen with variable color button illumination
    • Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming — supports aptX audio streaming
    • fits double-DIN dash openings
    Smartphone Features
    • built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control
    • Siri voice control with select iPhones
    • playback and control through USB of music files on compatible Android devices
    • Pandora control with iPhone and Android
    • iPhone App Mode with limited control of apps like Netflix and YouTube
    • navigation app support with select smartphones
    Audio/video Features:
    • plays CDs, DVDs, and USB memory devices
    • DriveEQ 7-band with automatic level control
    • high- and low-pass filters
    • subwoofer controls
    • speaker type setting
    Expandability:
    • works with SiriusXM tuner (not included)
    • inputs: rear USB input, HDMI/MHL input, dual rear A/V inputs, rear-view camera input
    • outputs: rear A/V output, 6-channel preamp outputs (5-volt front, rear, subwoofer)
    Other Information:
    • compatible with most factory steering wheel audio controls (adapter required)
    • works with iDataLink Maestro module to retain factory settings for Ford SYNC, GM OnStar, and Chrysler Uconnect
    • warranty: 2 years
    • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

    Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

    Features and Specs
    General
    CEA-2006 Compliant
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    No
    RMS Power Output
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    22 watts
    Peak Output
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    50 watts
    RMS Power Bandwidth
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    20-20kHz
    Preamp Outputs
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    6-channel
    Sub Preamp Outputs
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    Yes
    Switchable Rear Preamp Outputs
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    No
    Video Screen
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    Yes
    Preamp Voltage
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    5 volts
    Display Color
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    Key Button Color
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    Variable
    EQ Bands
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    7
    Wireless Remote
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    Optional
    Steering Wheel Control Compatible
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    Adapter required
    Parts Warranty
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    2 Years
    Labor Warranty
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    2 Years
    Expandability
    AUX Input
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    3.5mm AV (rear)
    USB Input
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    Rear
    Memory Card Slot
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    USB memory
    Bluetooth Compatible
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    Built-in
    Satellite Radio Ready
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    SiriusXM
    HD Radio
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    Built-in
    Navigation
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    Optional
    iPod Compatibility
    Full size
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    Classic/5Gen
    Nano
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    7/6/5/4/3/2/1
    Touch
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    5/4/3/2/1
    Mini
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    iPhone
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    5S/5C/4S/4/3GS/3G/2G
    Tuner
    FM Sensitivity
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    9.3 dBf
    European Tuning
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    No
    Seek/Scan
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    Scan
    Radio Data System
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    Yes
    Product Research
    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Double-DIN DVD receiver w/ 6.95" monitor (10A fuse)
    • Sleeve (attached)
    • Trim ring
    • Wiring harness
    • 6.5' Parking brake wire (light green)Microphone w/ integrated bracket (attached 10' cable terminated by a 3.5mm connector)
    • 2 Radio removal tools
    • 6 Pan-head ISO-mount screws
    • 6 Flat-head ISO-mount screws
    • Instruction Manual
    • Warranty card
    • "Caution for Smartphone Users" note

    Our Product Research Team

    At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

    Touchscreen Display
    Built-in Bluetooth
    Disc & USB Playback
    iPhone/Android Integration
    HD + Internet + SiriusXM Radio
    Audio Section
    AV Connections
    OEM/Remote Control

    Touchscreen Display

    6.95" Motorized Touchscreen Display: The Kenwood DDX8901HD features a motorized 6.95" widescreen (16:9) touchscreen LCD with LED backlighting. The LCD touchscreen has a resolution of 800 (H) x 480 (V) x RGB with 1,152,000 total pixels. This unit has touchscreen controls with easy-to-identify icons, making menu navigation easy. The monitor electronically slides down for loading or ejecting a disc. The bottom of the touchscreen monitor can be tilted upward at six different positions to provide the best visibility in your vehicle (you can save any one of these positions to the head unit's memory).

    • Customizable Home Screen: The Home Screen features 3 large source icons and 5 smaller source/setup icons. You can customize which 3 large source icons you want as your favorites, as well as customize 4 of the 5 smaller source/setup icons. The "All SRC" icon is not customizable; pressing this icon displays all source/setup icons on two pages.
    • Custom Background Images: You can download a still image (800 x 600) for use as the unit's background from a connected USB thumbdrive.
    • Picture Adjustment: You can adjust the unit's display brightness, contrast, color, tint, sharpness, and black level to suit your viewing needs during video playback.
    • Aspect Ratio: You can change the aspect ratio for video playback. You can select from Full (16:9), Just (4:3 LB), or Normal (4:3), or Auto (automatically selects to match incoming video signal)          
    Note: For your convenience, this unit is equipped with a multiple language display (21 languages including English, French, Spanish, and others).

    Front-Panel Controls w/ Variable Color Illumination: In addition to the touchscreen controls, the unit includes frequently used buttons and a rotary-dial along the bottom edge of the screen. You can adjust the head unit's button illumination, as well as display background color from the following preset colors - Blue, Purple, Sky Blue, Aqua, Yellow, Green, Amber, Red, Pink, White or Scan (Scans through all preset colors). You can also select a custom "User" color that is adjusted between Red, Green, and Blue (values range: 0-31). You can save up to 3 custom color presets. The Kenwood logo and eject button remain red, regardless of variable color illumination setting.

    Clock Display: The DVD receiver offers a 12-hour clock which is visible from any source or menu screen. With your vehicle's key in the accessory or start position, the head unit will continue to display the LCD background image, clock, and button illumination during "Standby" mode. Pressing and holding the source button turns the unit off completely.

    Security Indicator: The Security Indicator feature helps to protect the Kenwood DDX8901HD against theft. Turning this function "On" allows the security indicator light (red) on the front-panel of the head unit to flash when your vehicle's ignition is off.

    Parking Brake Detection: To prevent the display of video while the vehicle is in motion, the light green wire (within 4-pin harness) must be connected to the vehicle's parking brake detection circuit. You cannot view video unless your vehicle's parking brake is engaged. If you attempt to view video without the parking brake engaged, the unit's LCD touchscreen will simply display a blue screen and "Parking Off". While your vehicle is in motion (parking brake off), you can still view all of the head unit's menu screens/settings, source information, metadata, and album artwork.

    2-DIN Chassis: The DDX8901HD has a 2-DIN chassis (also known as "Double-DIN"), and will fit in many vehicles with a large dash opening. The unit can be ISO-mounted using factory brackets, or Euro-mounted using the supplied mounting sleeve. As always, please consult Crutchfield's Outfit My Car to verify fit with your vehicle.

    Built-in Bluetooth

    Bluetooth Technology: The Kenwood DDX8901HD is equipped with built-in Bluetooth (3.0+EDR) allowing you to make and receive phone calls wirelessly through the receiver; as well as stream music wirelessly from your smartphone to the head unit. In order to use Bluetooth wireless technology, your phone must also be Bluetooth compatible and be able to interpret certain profiles. This unit is compatible with the following Bluetooth Profiles:

    • Hands-Free Communication: HFP 1.6 (Hands Free Profile), OPP 1.1 (Object Push Profile), PBAB 1.0 (Phone Book Access Profile).
    • Audio Streaming: A2DP 1.3 (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), AVRCP 1.4 (Audio/Video Remote Control Profile).
    Note: Due to the differences in Bluetooth technology, some Bluetooth enabled devices may be incompatible, function improperly, or may not support all features when used with the Kenwood DDX8901HD. Visit Kenwood's Support Site for a complete list of compatible Bluetooth enabled phones.

    Secure Simple Pairing (SSP) + Auto Pairing (for iPhone): With Secure Simple Pairing (SSP), you can easily pair a Bluetooth enabled phone to the Kenwood DDX8901HD without having to enter pin codes or go through complicated settings. You can even pair your Apple iPhone by simply connecting it to the Kenwood head unit via USB and following a single prompt on the head unit's display. When a paired Bluetooth device is in close proximity to the receiver, the auto connection function automatically pairs the two units. You can pair up to five Bluetooth-enabled devices to the Kenwood head unit with a maximum of two Bluetooth phones and one Bluetooth audio player connected at one time (but only one can be used at a time).

    Hands-Free Communication w/ External Mic: The head unit supports Bluetooth hands-free communication for your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The touchscreen controls of the DDX8901HD can be used to dial a number, answer an in-coming call, or end a call. The unit also includes an external microphone (featuring adjustable gain), so you can carry on your side of the conversation while listening to the caller through your vehicles speakers (All or Front only). During a conversation, you can switch between the Private Mode (talking directly on your cell phone) and the Hands Free Mode.

    • Answering a Call: When a call comes in, a ring-tone will be heard through your vehicle's speaker and the caller's name or phone number will be displayed. You can answer the call from the head unit's touchscreen, or setup the head unit to automatically answer the incoming call immediately (0-99 seconds).
    • Dialing a Number: Using the DDX8901HD, you can dial a phone number in one of the following ways:
      • Entering a Phone Number: Allows you to directly dial a phone number up to 30 digits from the head unit's touchscreen.
      • Speed (Preset) Dialing: Allows you to register up to 3 phone numbers for quick dialing. The preset numbers can be accessed from the head unit's touchscreen.
      • Phone Book: You can dial by using the downloaded phone book. You can download phone book data from your cell phone to the DDX8901HD. Up to 600 numbers can be stored for each registered cell phone. Each number can be up to 32 digits long and each name can be up to 50 characters long. You can search the phone book alphabetically (A-Z).
      • Call History: The Call History is a list of calls that have originated from and were received by this unit that you can dial. You can select Outgoing, Incoming, or Missed calls (up to 50 each).
      • Voice Dialing: If your mobile phone supports voice recognition, then you can dial out by voice command. Simply speak into the included microphone.
    Note: This unit allows you to answer a call or dial out using any option without engaging the vehicle's parking brake.

    Wireless Audio Streaming w/ aptX CSR: The Kenwood DDX8901HD supports wireless audio playback (AD2P) and control (AVRCP) of a Bluetooth enabled audio player or smartphone. The DDX8901HD even employs AptX audio coding technology for lossless, CD-quality streaming with compatible AptX-compatible phones (like some Androids). The DDX8901HD will be able to control basic playback functions of your Bluetooth device's stored music; such as Play/Pause, Skip Next/Previous, Fast Forward/Rewind and Random/Repeat. The head unit will also display your stored music's song information; such as Artist name and Song/Album title. The DDX8901HD also supports audio streaming of music apps downloaded on your smartphone with metadata display and limited control. Advanced music control of your music apps will still need be done via your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.

    Note: When an incoming call or outgoing call is in progress from your Bluetooth enabled mobile phone, audio streaming will be paused so you can take your call. Once the call is finished, your streaming music will resume.

    Siri Eyes Free Control: When paired and connected with an iPhone 4S or 5/5C/5S via Bluetooth (not USB), the Kenwood DDX8901HD has the ability to access Siri through its front-panel controls and external microphone. Simply press-and-hold down on the head unit's "VOICE/TEL" button to engage Siri and use the included microphone to communicate with Siri. Siri's voice will heard through your vehicle's speakers. All Siri functions including hands-free calling, music search, setting reminders, text-messaging, audible navigation, and more can be done through the DDX8901HD and its microphone. The head unit's LCD touchscreen will only display hands-free calling and Bluetooth audio information (all other functions of Siri are only audible through the Kenwood DDX8901HD; visual data will still need to be viewed from your iPhone device).

    Note: You can ask Siri to get directions to a destination and the turn-by-turn instructions will heard through your vehicle's speakers, while the on-screen map still displays on your iPhone 4S/5/5C/5S. The head unit's audio is attenuated while Siri provides audible directions.

    Disc & USB Playback

    Compatible Discs: The Kenwood DDX8901HD's touchscreen monitor electronically slides down for loading and ejecting discs. The Kenwood DDX8901HD supports playback of DVD-Video, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-Audio, CD-R/RW, and VCD discs. The unit supports MPEG-1/MPEG-2 video & JPEG files recorded on to CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW discs. It also supports playback of MP3, WMA, and AAC music files loaded onto a CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, or DVD+R/RW disc.

    USB Port: The Kenwood DDX8901HD features a rear-panel Full-Speed 2.0 USB type-A port (attached to the unit's rear-chassis by a 39" cable) for connection and control of a portable USB mass-storage class (MSC) device; such as select Android smartphones (Froyo/Gingerbread OS only), portable digital audio players, or USB thumbdrives. The USB port enables playback of MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, and FLAC audio files; as well as JPEG still-picture files stored on a compatible USB memory device. The DDX8901HD also supports video playback of MPEG1/2/4, H.264, and MKV, WMV video files from a connected portable USB MSC device. USB portable audio devices that can be charged via USB will be charged when plugged into the DVD receiver's USB port (5V/1A), and the vehicle's ignition switch is set to ACC or On.

    File Compatibility: The Kenwood DDX8901HD supports the following types of audio, video, and photo files recorded onto a disc or loaded onto a USB mass storage class device.

    Media Type Disc (CD-R/RW or DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW) USB (MSC compatible)
    File System ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, Romeo, Long File Name FAT 16/32
    Playable File Types Audio MP3: bit rate of 8-320kbps w/ sampling frequencies of 8-48kHz
    WMA: bit rate of 48-192kbps w/ sampling frequencies of 32-48kHz
    AAC:
    bit rate of 16-320kbps w/ sampling frequencies of 16-48kHz
    MP3: bit rate of 8-320kbps w/ sampling frequencies of 8-48kHz
    WMA: bit rate of 4-192kbps w/ sampling frequencies of 8-48kHz
    AAC:
    bit rate of 32-320kbps w/ sampling frequencies of 16-48kHz
    WAV: bit rate of 16-bit w/ sampling frequencies of 44.1kHz
    FLAC: bit rate of 16-bit w/ sampling frequencies of 8-48 kHz
    Video MPEG-1: 352x240 to 720x480 or 352x280 to720x576 (4.0Mbps)
    MPEG-2: 352x240 to 720x480 or 352x280 to 720x576 (4.0Mbps)
    MPEG-1/2/4: 352x240 to 720x480 or 352x280 to720x576 (4.0Mbps)
    H.264: 352 x 240, 352 x 288, 720 x 480, 720 x 576 (8.0Mbps)
    WMV/MKV: 640 x 480 (2. Mbps)
    Photo N/A JPEG: 32x32 to 8192x7680 pixels
    Maximum # of Folders/Files 250 folders/5,000 files (999 files per folder)
    Tags MP3 ID3-tags (ver. 1.0/1.1/2.2/2.3/2.4), WMA-tags, AAC-tags, and WAV-tags

    Folder/Track List: The Folder/Track List allows you to search folders and audio/video/picture files stored on a disc or USB device.

    Highlight Control (DVD Playback): During DVD playback, you can control certain operations simply by touching an area of the screen. The touchscreen has 4 functions areas. You can touch the left of the screen to start the current chapter over, or the right of the screen to skip to the next chapter. Pressing the top center of the screen activates the DVD disc menu control buttons, while pressing the bottom center activates the source control screen.

    Search Functions (USB only): The Kenwood DDX8901HD offers unique search functions for USB playback.

    • Category Search: You can navigate music stored on your USB memory device by Playlist, Artist, Song, or Album. Once a category is selected, you can search the contents alphabetically. 
    • Link Search: Link Search allows you to play songs related to the currently playing song. The head unit can create an album list of the currently playing artist, a song list of the currently playing album, a artist list of the currently playing genre, or a album list of currently playing composer.
    • Picture Search: The unit will display up to eight thumbnails of still-images to choose from. The selected thumbnail will become a full screen image.
    • Album Artwork: You can search music files by selecting the Album Artwork. You can even create an original playlist of your favorite 10 albums by selecting album artwork.

    Parental Control (DVD only): Parental Control allows you to restrict DVD playback according to a predetermined level. You can select a parental control rating from 0-8, which is protected by a 4-digit password.

    Disc Auto Reload: The unit will automatically reinsert a disc if it's ejected, but not removed for 20 seconds or more.

    Firmware Updates (via USB): The unit's operating system is updateable via free downloadable software from Kenwood's support site. Firmware downloads assist in maintaining system performance when using external devices and emerging technologies. Firmware/software updates can be downloaded onto a USB thumbdrive from your computer and then inserted into the head unit's USB port and uploaded. Go to Kenwood's Support Site for the latest firmware/software updates.

    iPhone/Android Integration

    iPod/iPhone AV Playback: The Kenwood DDX8901HD supports direct connection of your 30-pin or Lightning-connector iPod/iPhone through its rear-panel USB port and 3.5mm input or HDMI input. The DDX8901HD offers audio/video playback of connected Apple iPod/iPhone models (video can only be displayed while the vehicle is in park).

    • 30-Pin Dock Connector: If you own an older iPod/iPhone with the 30-pin dock connector, you can enjoy audio and video files on your Apple device through the Kenwood DDX8901HD. Using Kenwood's KCA-IP202 iPod video cable (113KCIP202, sold separately), you can enjoy audio playback of your stored music and music apps on your iPod/iPhone; plus video playback of your stored movies and video apps (like Netflix) on your iPod/iPhone through the Kenwood DDX8901HD. If you only desire audio playback, you can use Kenwood's KCA-IP102 iPod cable (113KCIP102, sold separately) or the dock connector-to-USB cable that comes with your Apple device to connect your iPod/iPhone to the DDX8901HD.
    • Lightning Connector: If you have a newer iPod/iPhone with the Lightning-connector, you can use the Lightning-to-USB cable that came with your Apple device to connect your iPod/iPhone to the Kenwood DDX8901HD for audio playback only. You'll be able to listen to stored music and music apps on your Lightning-connector Apple device through the Kenwood DVD receiver. To watch stored video and video apps (like Netflix) in addition to music from your Lightning-connector Apple device on the Kenwood DDX8901HD, you'll need Apple's Lightning-to-Digital AV adapter, a Lightning-to-USB cable, and a mobile-grade HDMI cable; such as the Kenwood KCA-HD100 (all sold separately) - this type of connection also requires Bluetooth pairing.
    Note: You will need to select which type of connection method you are using in the head unit's setup menu.

    iPod/iPhone Control: In addition to audio/video playback, the Kenwood DDX8901HD supports control, song/artist information display, and battery charging of your compatible Apple device.

    • Head Unit Control: The Kenwood head unit allows you to navigate your iPod's music library by Playlist, Artists, Album, Song, Genre, Song, Podcast, or Audiobook. Your iPod's video library can be searched by Video Playlist, Movie, Music Video, TV Show, Video Podcast, Rented Movie, or iTunesU. You can then search each of these categories using the head unit's touchscreen slider function (categories will be listed in alphabetical order). You can even search your iPod's music library by Album Art and create a Favorite List, which contains an original playlist of your favorite 10 albums. In addition, the head unit offers Link Search, which allows you to play songs related to the currently playing song. Link Search lets the head unit create an album list of the currently playing artist, a song list of the currently playing album, a artist list of the currently playing genre, or a album list of currently playing composer. The head unit also supports basic playback functions such as Play/Pause, Fast Forward/Rewind, Previous/Next Track and  Repeat/Random of your connected iPod/iPhone. Newer iPod/iPhones with iOS 6.0+ will still allow you to navigate stored music and movies from the Apple device's touchscreen, as well access music and video apps; older iPod/iPhone devices will be locked during connection.
    • Song/Artist Info & Album Art: The DDX8901HD will display your iPod/iPhone's stored music information including Track number, Elapsed playing time, Song/Album title, Artist name, and Album art. Pandora and iHeart Radio will also display metadata information. Other music apps will only display song/artist information in Apps mode.
    • Battery Charging: The head unit's USB connection provides 1A of current to power and charge your connected iPod/iPhone when your vehicle's ignition switch is set to the 'ACC' or 'On' position. This unit does not charge the iPad. If your iPod/iPhone has no initial battery charge, then the unit will not recognize it.

    Apps Mode for iPhone & Android (via HDMI): You can listen to audio from stored music and music apps, watch video from stored movies and movie apps, and view navigation apps on your Lightning-connector iPhone (iOS 7+) or Android (OS 4.1+) smartphone, using the head unit's HDMI input and its Apps Mode. The head unit will mirror the display of your mobile device (not always full-screen) when in Apps Mode. Apps Mode also provides basic playback control for your iPhone from the receiver's touchscreen; basic playback functions include Play/Pause, Fast Forward/Rewind, and Previous/Next Track. You can even control your Android device from the head unit's touchscreen just like you would from the smartphone; this requires that your vehicle's parking brake be engaged (all other Apps mode functionality does not require the parking brake be engaged). Using either a compatible iPhone or Android smartphone, you can also exit App Mode and access Pandora, and iHeartRadio directly from the head unit's touchscreen with advance music navigation and control. In addition, the iPhone lets you access its stored music and video library from the head unit's touchscreen with advance search and playback control when connected via HDMI. While navigation maps from your smartphone can be displayed on the Kenwood head unit's touchscreen, the navigation app will still need to be controlled from your iPhone or Android device (unless you have the vehicle's parking brake engaged; in this case you can control Android maps from the head unit's touchscreen).

    • iPhone Connectivity: If you have an iPhone 5/5C/5S with the Lightning connector, you will need Apple's Lightning Digital AV adapter, Lightning-to-USB cable, and a a mobile-grade HDMI cable; such as the Kenwood KCA-HD100 (sold separately). This type of connection also requires Bluetooth pairing. The HDMI connector provides the audio/video playback, while the USB connection charges your iPhone device. The Bluetooth connection allows you to control basic playback functions from the head unit.
    • Android Connectivity: The head unit's HDMI port is MHL compatible; this means you can simply connect select MHL-compatible Android smartphones to the  receiver via a MHL-to-HDMI cable; such as Kenwood's KCA-MH100 cable (sold separately). This type of connection also requires Bluetooth pairing and installation of the Kenwood Smartphone Control App from Google Play (may also require firmware update).  The HDMI connector provides audio/video playback and charging of your Android smartphone's battery, while the Bluetooth connection is also needed for touchscreen control. Compatible Android smartphones include Samsung Galaxy *S3/S4/S5/Note II/Note III, Sony Xperia Z/Z1/ZR/ZL, and HTC One (all with OS 4.1+). *The Samsung Galaxy S3/4/5 and Note II/III requires an additional 3rd party MHL microUSB 5-pin to 11-pin adapter (sold separately).
    Note: Access to your iPhone and Android smartphone 's downloaded applications will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone or Android smartphone to connect to the Internet. Not all Android and Apple iOS apps are guaranteed to be compatible.

    Waze App: The DDX8901HD also supports the Waze navigation app (from iTunes & GooglePlay) for Apple iPhone 5/5C/5S and Android via HDMI/MHL through the head unit's Apps Mode. You'll be able to view and control the Waze app from the Kenwood head unit's touchscreen. However, if you are using an Android smartphone, the parking brake must be engaged for touchscreen control.

    Garmin App (for iPhone 5+): In addition, Apple's Lightning Digital AV adapter, Lightning-to-USB cable, and a a mobile-grade HDMI cable; such as the Kenwood KCA-HD100 (sold separately) allows you to view navigation maps and get audible/visual directions on the DDX8901HD's touchscreen, when the Garmin StreetPilot Onboard USA app ($49.99), and the Vehicle Display Integration in-app option ($49.99) are both downloaded to your connected iPhone (5/5C/5S). The Garmin StreetPilot Onboard USA app contains NAVTEQ map data for the United States (lower 49 states); with over a million POIs, turn-by turn directions, lane assist with junction view, traffic updates, and speed limit alerts. Because the map data is downloaded onto your iPhone and does not live on the network, wireless coverage is not required to navigate. Once you have selected your destination on your connected iPhone, your map route will be visible on the DDX8901HD's touchscreen (even with parking brake disengaged) and turn-by-turn directions can be heard through your car stereo speakers. You will continue to use your iPhone's touchscreen to control the Garmin StreetPilot USA app. The screen of your iPhone and the screen of the Kenwood DDX8901HD may not be identical.

    Note: KThe Garmin App is no longer compatible with the iPhone 4/4S through Kenwood's KCA-IP202 iPod video cable.

    iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Kenwood DDX8901HD is "Made for iPod/iPhone" compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model features (as of 4/8/2014):

    Apple Device Generation Tested Version Media Type Control Type Specific Apps Display Type Bluetooth Charge
    Audio Video Head Unit iPod/iPhone Apps Mode Pandora iHeart Radio Garmin StreetPilot Album Art Song/Artist Text Track Info Phone Audio Siri
    iPhone 2G 3.1.3 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y Y N N Y
    3G 4.2.1 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y Y Y N Y
    3GS 5.1.1 Y Y Y N N Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y N Y
    4 7.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y N Y
    4S 7.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5 7.1 Y Y* Y Y Y* Y Y Y** Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5C 7.1 Y Y* Y Y Y* Y Y Y** Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    5S 7.1 Y Y* Y Y Y* Y Y Y** Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
    touch 1st 2.2.1 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    2nd 4.2.1 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N Y N Y
    3rd 5.1.1 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N Y N Y
    4th 6.1.3 Y Y Y Y N N N N Y Y Y N Y N Y
    5th 7.1 Y Y* Y Y Y* N N N Y Y Y N Y Y Y
    nano
    2nd 1.1.3 Y N Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    3rd 1.1.3 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    4th 1.0.4 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    5th 1.0.2 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    6th 1.2 PC Y N Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    7th 1.02 PC Y N Y N N N N N Y Y Y N Y N Y
    classic 80GB 1.1.2 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    120GB 2.0.1 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    160GB 2.0.4 Y Y Y N N N N N Y Y Y N N N Y
    iPad 1 5.1.1 Y Y Y N N Y Y N Y Y Y N Y N N
    2 7.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y N
    3 7.1 Y Y Y Y N Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y N
    4 7.1 Y Y* Y Y Y* Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y N
    mini 7.1 Y Y* Y Y Y* Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y Y
    air 7.1 Y Y* Y Y Y* Y Y N Y Y Y N Y Y N
    Note:

    HD + Internet + SiriusXM Radio

    Built-In HD Tuner: With its built-in HD Radio tuner, you can receive digital AM/FM broadcasts from local stations where available. HD Radio significantly improves AM/FM audio quality and reception, as well as includes information such as artist name and song titles or traffic news, viewable on the receiver's display. HD Radio Technology will deliver high-quality digital sound. AM digital will have FM-like quality in stereo (70dB SN @ 40-15kHz), while FM digital will have CD-like quality (70 dB SN @ 20-20kHz) with static free and clear reception. The unit's built-in HD Radio tuner allows analog AM/FM tuning as well.

    • Seek Modes + Direct Access Tuning: You can choose one of three seek modes: Auto 1 (seek tuning), Auto 2 (cycles through and tunes the selected band's preset stations only with each button press), or Manual. You can also setup the DDX8901HD to search only HD Radio stations. In addition, you can directly access an AM/FM station by entering in the frequency number using the unit's LCD touchscreen.
    • Tuner Presets: The DDX8901HD's tuner features 3 FM banks (1, 2, 3) and 1 AM bank for storing presets. You can store 6 presets for each AM/FM bank giving you a total of 18 FM presets and 6 AM presets (total of 24). Not only does the DVD receiver's tuner allow you manually enter your desired presets you can choose to have the unit automatically put stations with good reception in the memory banks automatically; this is a handy feature when traveling.
    • Station Info & Multicasting: AM/FM digital stations can offer text and data such as artist names and song titles; as well as Album Art. In addition to conventional broadcasts, with HD Radio broadcasting it is possible to choose from up to 8 multicast programs (HD1 to HD8).
    Note: HD Radio is the system for digital AM and FM broadcasting in the U.S. More than 2,000 radio stations are broadcasting their primary signals in digital HD Radio technology, as a free service. Go to HDRadio.com to check for HD Radio stations in your area.

    Internet Radio Apps (for iPhone & Android): The Kenwood DDX8901HD allows you to access Pandora and  iHeartRadio online music services through your USB-connected, Bluetooth-paired, or HDMI+Bluetooth-connected iPhone (5.0+); as well as your Bluetooth-paired or HDMI+Blueooth-connected Android smartphone. Your Apple iPhone can be connected to the DDX8901HD via the Kenwood KCA-iP102 cable (sold separately), the cable supplied with your iPhone, Bluetooth, or HDMI+Bluetooth. Your Android smartphone must support be paired via Bluetooth or connected via HDMI+Bluetooth to the Kenwood DDX8901HD. Your iPhone or Android smartphone will need an active Data Plan account with connection to the Internet via 3G, EDGE, or WiFi.

    • Pandora App (for iPhone/Android): The free Pandora App (either from iTunes Apps or Google Play) lets you play music from the Pandora music service through the Kenwood DDX8901HD using your USB-connected, Bluetooth-paired, or HDMI+Bluetooth-connected Apple iPhone (iOS 5.0+); as well as your Bluetooth-paired or HDMI+Bluetooth-connected Android smartphone. The Kenwood DDX8901HD provides control over the Pandora music service and displays Artist, Album, and Song information. You can select Pandora stations from your station or genre list and sort them by date or alphabetically (A-Z). New stations can be created based on the current songs or artists playing. You can also skip song tracks within a station. You can even give songs a thumbs up or thumbs down. An active Pandora account is required.
    • iHeartRadio Auto (for iPhone/Android): The free iHeartRadio Auto app for Kenwood (either from iTunes Apps or Google Play) lets you play music from the iHeartRadio music service through the Kenwood DDX8901HD using your USB-connected, Bluetooth-paired, or HDMI+Bluetooth-connected Apple iPhone (iOS 5.0+); as well as your Bluetooth-paired or HDMI+Bluetooth-connected Android smartphone (2.2+). The iHeartRadio music service provides access to more than 1,500 live radio stations from coast-to-coast (including pop, country, urban, rock, talk, and sports). The DDX8901HD will provide control over the iHeartRadio Auto app, as well as display station identification and song/artist information. From the head unit's front-panel controls, iHeartRadio stations can be searched by the following categories (Local, Genre, City, or My Stations). The Local selection provides a list of radio stations in your local listening area. The unit also provides over 22 Genres to choose from (including pop, country, hip-hop, jazz, etc.) to help you find the right radio station for you. In addition, you can search for radio stations by City. Cities can be searched alphabetically (A-Z). You can even store your favorite stations (My Stations) for easier, quicker access. An active iHeartRadio account is required.
    Note: Access to these Internet Radio services will depend on the availability of a cellular and/or WiFi network for purposes of allowing your iPhone or Android smartphone to connect to the Internet. Not supported in Canada and only available in the United States.

    SiriusXM Ready: The Kenwood DDX8901HD comes ready for SiriusXM programming with access to XM and Sirius Satellite Radio stations. Thanks to its proprietary SiriusXM Connect port, you can add the optional SXV200V1 SiriusXM Connect tuner and receive more than 150 channels of exclusive programming directly from SiriusXM, via the "SiriusXM All Access" package (subscription required). Visit SiriusXM.com for a complete list of subscription options and channel guide. Additional features of the SXV200V1 SiriusXM Connect tuner include:

    • Channel List w/ Category Search: A channel list displays a list of all available channels. The Category Search function searches for channels in a certain category.
    • Song/Artist Info: Displayed Information such as Channel Name, Channel Logo, Artist Name, & Song Title can be viewed on the head unit's LCD
    • Presets + Smart Favorites: Up to 24 SiriusXM Satellite Radio station presets can be saved. Up to 6 of your SiriusXM presets can be identified as Smart Favorites for advanced features such as TuneStart & TuneScan.
    • Instant Replay: You can pause, rewind, and replay up to 60 minutes of current channel. You'll also be able to rewind and replay the last 30 minutes of content from your six Smart Favorite channels.
    • TuneStart & TuneScan: TuneStart allows you to choose whether to start a song from the beginning or from its live point when tuning to a Smart Favorite channel. TuneScan plays the first 10 seconds of each song that has not been listened to from each of the channels which you have saved as Smart Favorites.
    • Alerts: Song/Artist Alert notifies when your favorite songs or artists are being broadcast on any SiriusXM station. GameAlert will display an on-screen message if your favorite teams' games are being broadcast. You can also be alerted to information pertaining to your local weather and traffic.
    • Parental Control: Channels containing unsuitable content for children can be blocked.
    Note: A separate SiriusXM Satellite Radio subscription is required (operates on the XM Network). However, you can easily add this SiriusXM tuner to an existing Sirius or XM account for a Multi-Radio Discount Plan.

    Audio Section

    Excelon Series: The DDX8901HD DVD receiver is part of Kenwood's Excelon series line-up. It incorporates the latest technologies and delivers the highest sonic performance. From advanced audio tuning capabilities, crossover and equalizer system, high-voltage 5V preouts, plus a two-year warranty - Kenwood Excelon represents exceptional audio quality with long-lasting dependability.

    24 Bit D/A Converter: The Kenwood DDX8901HD utilizes a 24-bit digital to analog converter for superior sound quality with a Signal-to-Noise ratio up to 98dB.

    MOSFET Amplifier: The Kenwood DDX8901HD is equipped with a MOSFET amplifier. Compared to conventional power supplies, the MOSFET amplification circuit is smaller and more efficient, and it delivers increased power with less distortion and absolutely zero on/off switching noise. More power means louder and cleaner music at higher volumes because you're not pushing the limits of the amplification circuit. The power output specs for the DDX8901HD are as follows:

    • Full Bandwidth Power: 22 watts RMS x 4 channels (at 4 ohms, 20-20kHz, 1% THD)
    • Maximum Output Power: 50 watts x 4 channels

    6ch/5V Preamp Outputs + Sub Control: The DDX8901HD features front, rear and subwoofer 5-volt preamp outputs. The front and rear speaker preamp outputs are balance and fade adjustable. The subwoofer preamp output is non-fading. You can adjust the subwoofer output's Phase (0° or 180°) and Level (-50to +10dB).

    Digital Signal Processing (DSP): In order to optimize the sound quality, you can use the unit's DSP to set the type of vehicle, speaker sizes & locations, listening distances, and x-over points.

    • Car Type: Select your car type to automatically set the Delay Time of each speaker for timing adjustment of sound output of each channel to have the highest surround effect. Choose from Compact, Full Size Car, Wagon, Mini Van, SUV, or Off
    • Listening Position + Digital Time Alignment: For a better sound-stage you can select your optimal listening position. You can choose from All, Front Left, Front Right or Front. You can also select to manually fine tune the sound stage, using Digital Time Alignment (DTA) by selecting the distance (0-20') for each individual speaker in the vehicle compared to your listening position.
    • Speaker Location: You can set the location of your vehicle's Front and Rear speakers. The Front speakers can be set to Door, On Dash, or Under Dash. The Rear speakers can be set to Door, Rear Deck, 2nd Row, or 3rd Row.
    • Speaker Size: You can select the speaker size for your Front and Rear speakers (including tweeter), as well as your subwoofer. The Front and Rear speakers can be set to OEM, 3.5", 4", 4.75", 5", 6.5", 6.75", 7", 4x6", 5x7", 6x8", 6x9", or 7x10". The tweeter can be set to Small, Middle, Large, or None. The Subwoofer can be set to 6.5", 8", 10", 12", or 15"+. Select None if you have no Rear speaker or sub.
    • X'Over: The head unit features independent Front & Rear high-pass crossovers, as well as a subwoofer low-pass crossover. The Front & Rear high-pass crossovers and Subwoofer low-pass crossover can be set to 50, 60, 80, 100, 120, 150, 180, or 220Hz; slope of -6, -12, -18, or -24 dB per octave (or select Full-Range).
    Note: You can also choose to bypass the head unit's DSP feature.

    Equalizer: The DDX8901HD offers 10 preset EQs for easy adjustment and a 7-band parametric EQ for fine-tuning. You can select from Flat, Natural, Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Powerful, iPod (you can select from 22 EQ curve types within your iPod), or User (customized 7-band EQ). The 7-band equalizer consists of 62.5Hz, 160Hz, 400Hz, 1kHz, 2.5kHz, 6.3khz, & 16kHz frequencies which can be adjusted from -9 to +9dB.

    Note: Separate EQ settings and EQ preset are stored for each source (Disc, Tuner, USB, iPod, Bluetooth, and Pandora/iHeart Radio).

    Bass Management: The DDX8901HD offers Bass Boost, Bass DC Extension, and Loudness.

    • Bass Boost: The DDX8901HD features a four-step Bass Boost (Off/1/2/3) to enhance your music's lower frequencies.
    • Bass DC Extension: When turned on, frequencies lower than 6.25 Hz are set the same gain level as the unit's 7-Band EQ 62.5 Hz gain setting.
    • Loudness: This function enhances low and high frequencies to make the sound clearer lower volumes.

    Volume Level Adjustment: The navigation receiver offers several volume level adjustment to tailor the audio output of your sources.

    • Volume Offset: The level of each source may be independently adjusted to prevent radical leaps in output volume when switching from one source to another. The available settings range from -8 to +6.
    • Drive EQ: Drive EQ setting automatically optimizes the sound quality to meet the current volume level.
    • Dynamic Range: The dynamic range can be adjusted by selecting either Normal, Wide or Dialog. Dialog makes the total sound volume become larger as compared with Wide and Normal, allowing you to listen to the movie's dialogue more clearly. This is effective only on Dolby Digital software.

    Key Beep: The in-dash navigation head unit provides an audible beep to confirm button operation. This function can be turned On or Off.

    AV Connection

    Dual A/V Inputs: The Kenwood DDX8901HD DVD receiver is fitted with two rear-panel audio/video inputs. The both AV inputs consist of a 3.5mm jack for connection of an external AV source; such as TV tuner, Blu-ray player, or game system. The AV-2 input also serves as the A/V input for your USB-connected iPod (using proprietary Kenwood cable).

    HDMI/MHL Input: The In addition to Apps mode for iPhone and Android, the head unit's HDMI/MHL input can be used to connect almost any external mobile AV source with an HDMI output; such as a TV tuner, Blu-ray player, or game system. The HDMI input will provide video and audio playback. Your vehicle's parking brake will need to be engaged to view video on the receiver's screen. Playback functions will need to be controlled from your HDMI-connected device.

    A/V Output (with Dual Zone): The unit features a composite video jack and 3.5mm audio jack to output A/V signals to an optional monitor and headphone system. The unit's A/V output can be set to Disc, AV-1, USB, iPod, or Off. You can adjust the volume of the 2nd Zone independently from 0 to 35. You can select between a 16:9, 4:3 LB, or 4:3 PS Aspect Ratio for the unit's video output to match your connected monitor.

    Note: Different sources from iPod/iPhone cannot be set as front and rear sources independently. Only one iPod/iPhone source can be set as front and rear sources. Apps mode and the HDMI/MHL input are not available to the second zone.

    Camera Input: The unit features a composite video input for connecting an optional rear view camera, such as the Kenwood CMOS-220 (113CMOS220, sold separately). The video from this connection can be set to display when switched to this input, or display the rear view camera video automatically when the vehicle is shifted into Reverse gear. The purple/white wire (attached to rear-chassis) must be connected to the vehicle's reverse lamp circuit for automatic video switching. Automatic video switching takes approximately 1.5 seconds.

    OEM/Remote Control

    OEM Integration: This Kenwood DVD receiver is compatible with the iDatalink Maestro RR (794ADSMRR, sold separately); a web programmable module that will permit the aftermarket Kenwood head unit to work with select Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles that feature the factory SYNC system; as well as select GM vehicles with factory OnStar; and  select Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles with U-Connect. The iDatalink Maestro RR lets Ford/Lincoln/Mercury, GM. and Dodge/Chrysler owners swap out their factory radio for this aftermarket Kenwood head unit; while retaining the Ford Sync system, GM OnStar system, Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep U-Connect system, steering wheel controls, Bluetooth, USB interface, Satellite Radio, and 911 assist. You also get to keep the hands-free mic that comes with the car (which is specially tuned to that particular vehicle). In some installations, the iDatalink Maestero RR lets you configure the head unit to operate interior climate controls and provides extra visual data; such as User Selectable Gauges, Vehicle Info (Tire Pressure/Battery Voltage/Check Engine Codes/Door Ajar Warning), and Visual Park Assist.

    • Ford/Lincoln/Mercury: When installed in a compatible Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicle, the iDatalink Maestro RR requires the use of the iDatalink Maestro ADS-HRN(SR)-FOR01 installation harness (794HRNSRF1, sold separately) and must also be connected to your Windows PC so it can be flashed with the  SR-FOR01-DS2 firmware update.
    • GM: When installed in a compatible GM vehicle, the iDatalink Maestro RR requires the use of the iDatalink Maestro ADS-HRN(SR)-GMS05 installation harness (794HRNGMS5, sold separately) and must also be connected to your Windows PC so it can be flashed with the SR-GMS05-DS firmware update.
    • Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep: When installed in a compatible Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicle, the iDatalink Maestro RR requires the use of the iDatalink Maestro installation harness (794HRNSRC1, sold separately) and must also be connected to your Windows PC and flashed so it can be flashed with the SR-CHR01-DS firmware update.
    Note: The Kenwood head unit features an OEM Setup menu that must be configured with your compatible vehicle's factory system before initial operation.

    Steering Wheel Remote Compatibility: The head unit features an OEM steering wheel remote control input wire (blue/yellow) within the included wiring harness that lets you keep your vehicle's factory radio steering wheel remote controls when used with an optional steering wheel audio control adapter (sold separately). Please consult Crutchfield's Outfit My Car to see if your vehicle is compatible.

    Optional Remote Control: The optional Kenwood KNA-RCDV331 IR wireless remote control (113RCDV331, sold separately) unit is designed to operate this Kenwood navigation head unit. The wireless remote controller operates off of two supplied "AAA" batteries. The remote operates off of IR transmission so the KNA-RCDV331 must be pointed at the front-panel of the Kenwood head unit within direct line of sight.

     
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    Kenwood Excelon DDX8901HD Reviews

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    2 out of 5

    Not quite what I hoped

    Written By CurtR, Lynnwood, WA on Monday, July 14, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    This is the second Kenwood I tried for my 13 Mustang - I tried a refurbished 990 that had all the bells & whistles I wanted, but never worked in my car. To their credit the techs at Crutchfield worked with me tirelessly to get it to work but we never could. Then I decided to return it for a full refund.

    The CSR at Crutchfield then talked me into ordering this unit...stating it would work with my Galaxy S5 and all the bells and whistles that I wanted would function.

    The primary features I wanted beyond a stereo was navigation, Bluetooth and the backup camera- and it was supposed to work with my S5. Only the Bluetooth and backup camera work. The navigation feature on my S5 works fine, but the connection between the Kenwood and the phone does not work. I tried a variety of connections - the recommended cable and cables with adapters and I still do not get a connection with my smartphone. So I'm still using my phone in a mount.

    There are other little problems - one of small front buttons keeps popping off, the clock does not keep time (!?!?!) - either in manual or RDS mode - it does not keep time (that's when I can find it on the screen - it is in different positions depending on what is displayed - I'm buying a 2.99 clock and sticking it to my dash so i have a reliable clock). Another little thing is fit - with the required adapter (Factory Integration Dash Adapter) the fit is close but it is clearly aftermarket and does not look right (gaps a little wide, color slightly off)
    Pros:
    it is cool the car data it displays is interesting, slightly useful
    Cons:
    no connection to my Galaxy S5 despite the documents indicating compatibility fit in my dash with the dash adapter clock does not keep time (huh!) app mode doesnt work pandora worked once bluetooth to my phone sometimes works probably not buying from here anymore
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    2 out of 5

    Don't buy it for the App Mode

    Written By Sean G, Orlando, FL on Thursday, July 10, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I bought this unit to replace a Pioneer NEX-4000, thinking that Kenwood's App Mode would be better since I didn't need a special app on my phone to control it. That assumption turned out to be incorrect.

    Waze worked fairly well, but there were issues with the screen display resolution. The Waze app was displaying larger than the unit's screen. This means you have to touch the very absolute corners of the screen right by the bezel to use the reporting and navigation features of Waze. Sort of a pain when you are driving.

    Just like the person a few reviews below, I also had the issue of the app screen going black after each song on the iPod. This necessitates a re-start of the app on the phone to reset the unit's screen. It's fine of you are listening to hour-long podcasts, but not so cute when you are listening to songs. This is unacceptable in a unit costing this much. Did they actually test the App Mode before manufacturing the radio?

    Some good stuff: I did like the screen and menus generally. The unit seemed fast and responsive. The sound quality was great, and the Bluetooth speakerphone worked great as well.

    I really believe that if I was simply buying this unit to be an in-car DVD player with a great iPod interface, I would be perfectly happy. Sadly, this is not the case. If you advertise App Mode as a feature, test it fully and work out the bugs, before bringing it to market.
    Pros:
    Screen, menus, very responsive and fast. Sound quality was good.
    Cons:
    App mode, app mode, app mode.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    2 out of 5

    Mirror mode useless

    Written By Magman, Missouri on Monday, June 16, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I have Galaxy S4 and tried with S5. I got the Mustang dash kit. Phone connects perfectly via Ford Sync. But when connected via Ford Sync you can't use the mirror mode with your phone. So when I connect via Kenwood Blue tooth so I can use mirror mode, phone doesn't automatically connect when you turn your car on so have to go into settings and connect everytime you turn your car on. Kenwood had no answer for me. So mirror mode is useless.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    2 out of 5

    Not as good as it seems!

    Written By TechnoGeek4Life, Griswold, CT on Thursday, June 12, 2014
     
    When I first saw this unit I was super excited! It had Waze integration AND it would work with my iphone 5S!! there couldn't be anything better right? WRONG! After hooking everything up I realized you can only use one "app mode" app at a time. So using Waze and Spotify wasn't going to happen, fine i'll use Pandora and deal with commercials and limited skips. Then I decided that i would just use the music on my iphone instead of streaming the music. This was going all well and good until the iphone went to the next song. I was on the "app mode" screen at this point looking at my directions on WAZE. The screen went black and wouldn't come back unless I went to my home screen on my phone and then back into Waze. This happens EVERY TIME my phone changes song, But ONLY if I play music off the iphone instead of streaming. If I stream it works fine.

    So at this point I'm not even using the stereo to show waze on it anymore which was the entire purpose of me buying this head unit. I should have skipped seeing waze on the head unit and just bought a Sony that would work with Spotify just by plugging the phone in. I am truly disappointed in this head unit and regret spending this much on it and not just getting a Sony.
    Pros:
    Sound quality Has App Mode
    Cons:
    App Mode doesn't work as well as you would think. Also when playing songs off the iphone and using app mode at the same time the screen will go black every time the song moves to the next one.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon DDX8901HD

    Written By Anonymous, West Palm Beach, FL on Friday, June 06, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    I have had this unit for about 30 days now. So far everything has been great the only thing that I would say I don't like is when I have the radio in App Mode with the phone. I have a samsung galaxy s4. When in this mode the aspect ratio, when set to full and the phone sideways, does not fit the full screen. You will have to set the aspect ratio to Zoom 1 then it fills the screen. It just seems that full would be the correct setting.
    Pros:
    Big screen, connects to phone no problem, automatically connects to Pandora,
    Cons:
    Appmode seems to need a little work as fast mirroring the phone.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    4 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon DDX8901HD

    Written By Anonymous, New York on Sunday, May 25, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Great deck all the bell and whistles. Only one issue display not too vividly clear in daylite . Otherwise Good Product. Sel.
    Pros:
    MHL need I say more.
    Cons:
    Better Clarity in Daylite.
    1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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    3 out of 5

    DDX8901HD

    Written By Robert, Honolulu, HI on Saturday, May 17, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    Amazing options does more then I will ever know how to do. I AM STILL WAITING ON MY MHL to really integrate my Galaxy phone like the YouTube video. The screen itself washes out way too easily
    Pros:
    Does everything Sounds amazing
    Cons:
    Screen washes out in almost any light Screen angle only allows upward tilt Wish the screen was nearly as bright as my cell phone or tablet
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    "Coolness Factor"
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
    Sound Quality
    Value
     
    4 out of 5

    Kenwood Excelon DDX8901HD

    Written By don w, center harbor,nh on Saturday, May 17, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    install fits at about 95%,it should look stock when done it almost makes it. The instructions should be made more simple to follow to use the units fm radio
    Pros:
    blue tooth,pandora
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    "Coolness Factor"
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
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    5 out of 5

    Great deck in 2013 Scion FRS

    Written By Lucas, Grants Pass on Monday, April 28, 2014
     
    Sounds and looks amazing. Great interface, custom menus and wallpapers, HDMI input, it's great. Sound amazing just using the deck as the amp, but when you hook up an amp for the speakers and an amp for you sub, too...then you really get the true potential of this deck.
    Pros:
    Lossless bluetooth unlike most decks. Connects fairly quickly, too. Not quite as fast as my stock deck, but only about 15 seconds from the push of the push button start in my car. Very clean look, and easy to install. Long USB cord in the back for hooking up the stock USB in your car (like I did with this, and yes it works on the FRS even though CF says it doesn't.
    Cons:
    IPOD USB FIX. Note, your ipod/iPhone will NOT work through USB until you do this. It took me forever to figure this out, eventually I just called Crutchfield and they walked me through it. Step 1. Put your deck into standby mode by finding it under "All Apps". Step 2. Go to settings, then system, then iPod Setup (iPod set up will be locked unless your deck is in standby mode) Step 3. Click change (this will open the connection type options) Step 4. Change the connection type to "USB
    7 out of 7 people found this helpful
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    "Coolness Factor"
    Build Quality
    Ease of Use
    Sound Quality
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    4 out of 5

    Reciever Review

    Written By RWO, Lake Jackson, Tx on Thursday, April 24, 2014
    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
     
    First of all, I had this installed professionally as I'm too old to do it. After being installed and learning the different ways it works, I am able to receive and send out text messages hands free. I dictate a message and Siri sends them out. Pandora, Iheart radio, and Sirus work well and are great for long trips. The HD Radio is Ok, but I'm still trying to figure out how to effectively find HD stations when in different areas. On a trip, I played Pandora radio, while using google maps and had the map displayed at the same time on the Kenwood screen. The radio would auto lower the sound and the map directions would come over nice and clear. I did have to increase the app volume to hear it over the road noise. The Sun does wash out the screen a little, but it's manageable. I also added speakers and the overall effect for me is outstanding. Music really pops when I want it to and it's crystal clear. Now I'm a bit older so getting to understand this new electronic device was a challenge. I expect the younger generation will have no problems. If they do, the Crutchfield Tech support was there for me when needed. The Kenwood manual is kind of confusing, but take your time it works out fine.
    Pros:
    Ability to hands free texting while behind the wheel (texting against the law in most states now), ability to use radio, and another app at the same time, Sound, cool factor
    Cons:
    Manual is a bit confusing, sun seems to wash out the screen a wee bit.
    2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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    "Coolness Factor"
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    4 questions already asked Show all answers

    Is this compatible with ipad? I see iPod and iPhone, I'm assuming it is the same thing. [ Ted  Aug 24, 2014 ]
    6 answers
    • I have an ipad mini, and yes it does work...you need the Lightning Digital AV Adapter [ ADRIAN   Aug 26, 2014 ]
    • I don't use Apple products so I don't know if the IPad works. I can however tell you that my Note 2 does do the MHL although plugging in the HDMI is cumbersome unless you're going on a long trip (not exactly relevant. ) The sound output is outstanding. Controls are easy driving down the road, looks great in the dash. I bought this unit because of the 5v preamp output. It's the only unit I saw in this price range that's comparable. Hope this helps! [ JONATHAN   Aug 24, 2014 ]
    • I have ipod works great with ipad you may need adapter. MHL is super. [ SELWYN T   Aug 24, 2014 ]
    • I have only used my Android Samsung Note 3 and 5s Both work fine thru the MHL cable. But Bluetooth only works on the phone everything else is buggy. I wouldn't buy this thing again the quality and software is poor for the price! [ Bradley   Aug 24, 2014 ]
    • It works with my ipad [ ROBERT   Aug 24, 2014 ]
    • I don't use Apple products so I don't know if the IPad works. I can however tell you that my Note 2 does do the MHL although plugging in the HDMI is cumbersome unless you're going on a long trip (not exactly relevant. ) The sound output is outstanding. Controls are easy driving down the road, looks great in the dash. I bought this unit because of the 5v preamp output. It's the only unit I saw in this price range that's comparable. Hope this helps! [ JONATHAN   Aug 24, 2014 ]
    Does the app mirroring mode only work for MHL adapters? Would SlimPort HDMI adapter work for my phone (LG G2)? Also, would I be able to connect my car's factory USB/AUX connection to the unit? [ George  Jun 15, 2014 ]
    1 answer
    • I forwarded your question to an Advisor and they responded with the following: I do not show your phone listed under Pioneer's compatible phone list. That does not necessarily mean that it won't work, it just means that I am not sure whether or not it has MHL. There is an APP you can download called Meet MHL. As long as their phone is MHL capable they will be able to view video content on the screen. If you would like to discuss further you can contact an Advisor directly by phone (1-800-324-9695) or online chat. [ Krissy Staff  Jun 16, 2014 ]
    Has anyone experience glare with this head unit or sunlight washing out the screen? I'm looking to replace my current aftermarket head unit and my main complaint with it is the glare. In sunlight conditions, I can barely see the screen. Anybody have this problem with this unit or is it a safe bet to solve my problem? [ ItaiG  Jun 03, 2014 ]
    3 answers
    • Hi Itai G, I just purchased and installed the DDX8901HD in my 2014 Nissan Frontier. The sunlight washes out the screen badly due to the location and the angle in my truck. During my morning drive into work I cannot see the screen at all for most of my trip. Not happy at all. Unfortunately I have yet to find a system that doesn't have this issue so I'm stuck with it for now [ Jason   Jun 06, 2014 ]
    • This unit has the same problem. I have it set to the brightest setting and still can not see the screen if there is sun or glare on it. Otherwise the screen is very good under normal conditions. [ James   Jun 04, 2014 ]
    • This unit is affected by sunlight, but for me its still easily readable. I think it also depends on the angle that its installed. In my Jetta it is tilled back a bit so that hurts it in the sun, but it isn't terrible. If your installation is more vertical then that should help I think. I have only had this installed for a few days and I don't have a problem reading it in my car. [ Gregory   Jun 04, 2014 ]
    Can the screen be turned off at night without turning the unit off? And if so will the hard keys for volume still work with the display off? Thanks. [ Andrew  May 23, 2014 ]
    4 answers
    • Yes you can turn off the screen. You can actually set a hard key to do so. If I remember correctly I think as soon as you touch a button the screen turns back on. [ Michael   May 26, 2014 ]
    • Yes this can be done. It's a press and hold of the AUD button but you first must change the default behavior of this action in setup. The default behavior is show the rear camera image. The volume up/down buttons are still illuminated and work as expected. [ Janet   May 25, 2014 ]
    • I don't think so, I hooked it up to the dimmer wire though so when my lights turn on, the screen dims. And that's actually fine with me, it works great. I'm actually returning this and getting the Pioneer NEX 8000, this Kenwood one doesn't work with iPhone that well, it seems more geared towards androids. [ Luke   May 24, 2014 ]
    • I'm no expert by far, however there does not seem to be a way to completely turn off the screen while leaving the head unit on. [ DENNIS R.   May 24, 2014 ]

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