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JVC KW-V820BT Double DIN AV RECEIVER


Welcome to a slice of the 21st century. This full sized double DIN JVC car receiver is a perfect indicator of its moment in time. This is to do with Apple CarPlay, the system whereby apps on your iPhone, such as navigation and music streaming services appear safely on the graphics of your car radio. In the past we have had MirrorLink, which was the result of a consortium of companies agreeing on a way to show telephone apps on a car radio screen. The massive issue, the elephant in the room with this system, was of course data-bombardment of the driver or distraction. There was a lot of fear that a badly designed application could hinder rather than assist and end up being blamed in insurance claims. That pure fear of getting it correct resulted in very low uptake of properly designed apps.

As car electronics advanced, we saw more and more use of the lovely powerful engines within telephones. After all, each user can spend up to two years paying for this chipset. Initially, the phone was seen as an extra, an adjunct. It was not compulsory to own one in order to navigate. With this and other car radio units, the iPhone is not seen as a happy accessory but a lifeblood crucial component. You cannot navigate without an iPhone with the 820.

The very fact that you are reading this, means you are within the technical elite, you either know stuff or want to. So you may be aware that the Android system’s answer to Apple CarPlay is called Android Auto and on some products, both of these systems exist side-by-side. With JVC and Kenwood brands, there is a Kenwood unit that has Android Auto and it is not too massive a revelation to let you know that an 830 numbered JVC model is about to be released that will also include both systems. The reasons behind this are the Android Auto specifications.

This is the point where I phoned up my tech genius at JVC Kenwood. It has been more than two decades now but I still have to hang on like a moron on a technical rollercoaster whenever I talk to him. If I can keep up with more than every third word, I learn stuff. Like this: Apple CarPlay is a logical progression of the Apple ecosystem. Everything Apple talks to everything else Apple. Also they are one single company with a very large R&D department, whereas ‘Android’ means Samsung and fourteen dozen other manufacturers. As such, any ‘standard’ such as Android Auto, must take into account all the manufacturers’ weaknesses and be as easy to include as possible for said makers. Thus, unlike Apple CarPlay, which sends all of its digits through the new lightning connector, the Android system must use the wired connection plus Bluetooth to do its thing. I didn't know that before today.

Part of that width of applicability for Android Auto also meant a limit to the number of graphics standards that could be included. Have you heard of VGA and WVGA and stuff like that? ‘Yes’, means you have been reading far too many car electronics specifications down the years. If you have seen the diagrams of the sixteen different shapes and sizes of screens commonly in use on thin-film transistor LED screens, then I would award you the accolade of ‘geek’. Oddly enough, that meant that this unit didn't quite hit the Android Auto ‘screen real estate’ specification. And here's a thing that I think is technical humour. When installing this into my wonder test rig, I connected the GPS antenna the system arrived with. Apple are certain that as long as their telephones can see the sky you can have GPS. So Apple CarPlay specification does not require the host device to have its own GPS antenna. So on the JVC KW-V820BT, this quite expensive little piece of kit, included in the physical design in anticipation of being Android Auto, is more vestigial than male nipples.





The unit is well supplied with plug holes. Around the back you can connect enough amplifiers to cause a breach of the peace via the plentiful RCA connectors. These can be used as front, rear and subwoofer or you can use the on-board crossovers to output high pass, lowpass and sub woofer feeds. There is a rear audio output on a 3.5 mm headphones style socket, another video socket for a rearview camera, (which switches automatically when you select reverse gear) a rear video output, yet another video input for your iPod on a 3.5 mm plug, a microphone plughole for the Bluetooth telephone connection and a single tiny Molex socket with a plug in it that is wired to two cords finishing in solid USB sockets. Unusually, these have little plastic stoppers in them, to keep the dust out until you use them. Cute. You can hang MP3 players or iPhones/ iPods on these, two at a time. There is a neat trim ring for the fascia, a brace of removal keys, and an inch thick pack of paperwork in the box. The instruction manual is not absurdly huge but you do get seven European languages’ worth of of them.

To start with, this is primarily a touchscreen unit. One nice wrinkle is that on the source control screen, there is a feature JVC call Gesture Control. Sliding a finger left or right gives you ‘track up’ or ‘track down’, slither a digit up or down and you get ‘plus’ or ‘minus’. Finally, describe a circle up on the screen with your fingertip and you can increase or decrease the volume with an imaginary knob. How clever is that? I used these and found them fast and effective. A really quick system, better than any I have tried before, that feel ‘mushy’ in operation. The sources and stuff you can play with this unit include DVD and USB storage devices. It can also run two zones, sending music and movies off to a rear seat headrest system. These will usually involve headphones and little transmitters in the screens, so the rear seaters, usually the offspring, can enjoy their stuff while you listen to dad music in the front, underneath navigation from your iPhone. That's quite a lot of shizzle in the bizzle.

With this unit, unless I can bully a chum with an iPhone to come over for tea, I am a little stuffed, as my Samsung Galaxy S7 ain't no iPhone. In any case, we would have to let the phone see the sky a bit in order to show us mapping on the unit, which would not be coming through the GPS antenna.

I zipped an old favourite sound quality test CD into the slot at the top of the fascia and I admit that even after all these years, I was impressed. It snatched the CD out of my fingers and music was playing in less than two seconds. It is fast, the processor in here. It may be relying on iPhone’s chipset to dance with the satellites of the global positioning system but she ain't no slouch. I popped in DVD only to see the ‘forbidden’ message.

Here's a quick bit of politics. When a car manufacturer includes a television tuner in the goodies they sell you with the car, there is no way on Earth that they can permit to you to watch moving images while you're driving. It is that driver distraction issue again. Likewise JVC and any other manufacturer must cover themselves legally. No supplier can be seen to sell a product, ready-to-distract, be it in a whole car or a car radio. If the customer chooses to modify, alter, adjust or otherwise change the product’s use, it is down to the customer. There is even one company, a massively profitable one, that sells devices specifically made so that the TV tuner in your car will then work while you're driving along, if it is fitted. (As long as you have a lot of television signal.) It is also about DVD of course, playing in the front of the car.

The legal situation is clear, the responsibility of the driver to pay due care and attention is paramount. It is you the motorist that is liable. If you have made sufficient clever decisions in your life to be able to afford a lovely car, you can also decide to pay attention to the road instead of a DVD. At which point I can tell you, that in over two decades of dealing with product managers, demo cars and company cars of all of the big Japanese companies, not a single one was wired so that you could not watch moving images while the car was driving.

OK, so if you buy and use one of these you must take care, as it is truly sumptuous to look at. (Quick pause while I find the right wire to earth to watch a DVD…ahh that’d be the light green parking sensor wire shown on page 59 going to the Earth side of the parking brake detection light switch harness, marked “PRK SW”.) Now here is where the optional remote control, called RM-RK258 would be useful. In fact, I would go so far as to say that NOT including it at this level is a bit of a cost saving too far. For MY fingers are a bit fat-ended to tickle JUST the tiny few pixels that the full size TV screen menus end up showing for say, each track choice. Just highlighting the track is one thing but the gesture control versus the hitting-the-screen option, can get a bit confused. This may just be me, but I wanted the remote. After all, it has twenty-six buttons on it, including the five crucial move-and-stab buttons.

DVD looked crisp and clean and my SQ test CD sounded delicious through the B&W LM1 monitors I was given at the Jaguar XF audio system launch all those years back. Then I tried some different USB sticks I have made up. One was just not liked. The instructions say that there are certain limitations to the files that can be read and their sizes and so forth. This is the case with all car units, as they are not full power computers. However, to my utter delight, I slapped the pretty rubberised KENWOOD USB on one of the wires and discovered that as well as sounding really clean and detailed for the file resolution, the music files had been transcribed with metadata I had no idea was on there! So, I found myself looking at album art that had been in the file all the time but I had never seen. I dug out the drop down screen, routed the DVD video to it, then struggled for a bit trying to pair the phone. Manual said it couldn’t be done while an iPod was attached and I was playing USB tunes. So I stopped it, and connected in a trice, made a phone call to myself and recorded a message….

That means that in the video, the device is playing a DVD, running fully graphic meta-data supported music from a USB stick, showing off the demo sequence on the front screen when I stop tickling it…aaand all the time able to interrupt the front music for a phone call. Let’s see if I can get a mate to phone me up….


Product Details
Manufacturer: JVC
Web Link to the KW-V820BT: http://uk.jvc.com/car-entertainment/apple-carplay/KW-V820BTE/
Typical Selling price: £380.00 (SRP £499.99)


A Talk Audio BEST BUY.







And here is my video test and review. In the event, I called myself up, without the wit to withhold my own number…





SCORES

Overall 9.4
Sound Quality 9
Appearance/Display 10
Ease Of Use/HMI 10
Features 9
Value For Money 9







FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS

Apple CarPlay (iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c or iPhone 5 with iOS 7.1 or newer)
(Hands-Free Call (HFP 1.6 wideband speech), 2 Phones Full-Time Connection, Audio Streaming & Control (A2DP, AVRCP), Text Message Display/SMS (Receipt notification only), Voice Recognition Dialling, Siri Eyes Free, Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP), Alphabetical Search for Phone Book, Auto Pairing for iPhone,HID(Android 4.1 or later))
Bluetooth® Wireless Technology*1 (Built-in)
Media Playback: MP3 / WMA / WAV / AAC / FLAC / VORBIS / H.264 / WMV / MPEG1&2 / MPEG4 / AVI / MKV / JPEG / PNG / BMP
Customisable GUI
13-Band Graphic EQ
8-Preset EQ
MOS-FET 50W x 4
4.0V Line and Subwoofer Pre-Out Level
3 Pre-Output Terminals (Front + Rear + Subwoofer)
Rear-View Camera Ready (Dedicated Terminal)
K2 Technology
Space Enhancement
Sound Response
Sound Lift
Volume Link EQ
Time Alignment
Wireless Remote Ready
Steering Wheel Remote Ready
*1 Available functions depend on cell phone. Wideband Audio depends on mobile device and cell phone carrier.
*2 Android (Ver 4.1 and above) AUTO MODE requires JVC Music Play Application.





Monitor
Screen Size 6.8in Clear Resistive Touch Panel
Number of Pixels 1,152,000 (800 x 480 x RGB)
Colour System PAL/NTSC
Touch Panel Yes
Monitor Touch Control Yes
Customisable GUI Yes
Variable Colour Illumination Yes
Dimmer Yes
Multilingual Display Yes
Wallpaper Capture Yes


Media Playback
MP3/WMA Compatible with ID3 Tag/WMA Tag CD / DVD / USB
WAV Compatible with Tag CD / DVD / USB
AAC Compatible with Tag CD / DVD / USB
FLAC Compatible with Tag CD / DVD / USB
VORBIS Compatible DVD
H.264 Compatible DVD / USB
WMV Compatible DVD / USB
MPEG 1/2 Compatible CD / DVD / USB
MPEG 4 Compatible DVD / USB
AVI/MKV Compatible DVD / USB (SD Video Level)
JPEG File Playback CD / DVD / USB
PNG File Playback USB
BMP File Playback USB


CD Player
CD-R/RW Compatible Yes
CD Text Yes
Random/Repeat Play Yes


DVD Player
DVD-R/-RW, +R/+RW Compatible Yes
Video Format NTSC/PAL
Dolby Digita 2ch
Video CD Playback Yes
Frequency Response 96kHz Sampling: 20 - 22,000Hz, 48kHz Sampling: 20 - 22,000Hz, 44.1kHz Sampling: 20 - 20,000Hz
Dynamic Range 91dB (DVD-Video 96k)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio 94dB (DVD-Video 96k)
Wow & Flutter Below measurable limit


Bluetooth Control
Bluetooth Control Yes (Built-in, Wired-Mic included)
Audio Streaming & Control (A2DP, AVRCP) Yes
Text Message/SMS (Short Message Service) Yes (Receipt notification only)
Voice Recognition Dialling (voice recognition compatible mobile phone required) Yes
Siri Eyes Free Mode for iPod/iPhone Yes
2 Phones Full-Time Connection Yes
Phone Book Access Profile (PBAP) Yes
Alphabetical Search for Phone Book Yes
Auto Pairing for iPhone/Android Yes (iPhone only)
Android Control
Battery Charge Yes (USB: 1.5A High Current Charging)
iPod/iPhone Control
iPod/iPhone Music Playback Yes (USB)
Random/Repeat Play Yes (USB)
Text Yes (USB)
Battery Charge Yes (USB: 1.5A High Current Charging)
CarPlay (iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c or iPhone 5 with iOS 7.1 or newer) Yes (USB)
iPod/iPhone Video File Playback
Smartphone Control for iPod/iPhone
USB
USB Port x2 (High Speed)
Position Rear (Cable Detachable)
Random/Repeat Play Yes
USB Mass Storage Class (for music/video/picture files) Yes
Drive Change Mode for Mass Storage Class (selectable from internal/external memory) Yes
Radio Tuner
Radio Data System Yes
Digital Processing Tuner Yes
Preset Stations 20 (5ch x 4band)
Automatic Presetting (Strong Station Sequential Memory) Yes
FM
Frequency Range 87.5 - 108.0MHz
Usable Sensitivity 6.2dBf (0.56uV/75 ohms)
Quieting Sensitivity (46dB) 15.2dBf (1.6uV/75 ohms)
Stereo Separation 40dB
AM
Frequency Range (MW) 531 - 1,611kHz, (LW) 153 - 279kHz
Sensitivity (MW) 28.5uV, (LW) 45uV)


Audio
Maximum Power Output (Front & Rear) 50W x 4
Full Bandwidth Power (Front & Rear) 22W x 4 (Full Bandwidth Power, at less than 1% THD)
MOS-FET Amplifier Yes
EQ
13-Band Graphic EQ Yes
Preset EQ Yes (8-Preset)
Bass Boost (Hyper Bass System) Yes
High-Pass Filter/Low-Pass Filter Yes/Yes
K2 Technology Yes
Space Enhancement Yes
Sound Response Yes
Sound Lift Yes
Volume Link EQ Yes
Time Alignment Yes

Inputs and Outputs
Pre-output Level/Impedance 4.0V / 10k ohms
External video input level (RCA/mini jack) 1.0Vp-p / 75 ohms
Video Output level (RCA jacks) 1.0Vp-p / 75 ohms
Audio Output level (mini jacks) 1.2V / 10k ohms
AV Input Terminals (Video + L/R) Yes
Rear view camera Input Yes
Line Output Terminals (pair) 3 Pairs (Front + Rear + Subwoofer)
Subwoofer Output with Level/Frequency Control Yes
Dual-Zone Function Yes
Second Audio Output Terminals Yes
Composite Video Output Yes
General
Wireless Remote Control Type Ready (RM-RK258 required)
Steering Remote Control Ready Yes
Rear-View Camera Ready Yes
ISO Connector
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Installation Size 182 x 112 x 153 (mm)
Weight 2.0kg


2 Comments

Thanks for the extensive review. Not buying JVC though. I had their NX5000 system ten years ago. The translation inside the GUI was done by the same guy who now does the translations on Aliexpress. For an A-brand like JVC just not acceptible. Their policy at the time was to not provide updated maps for the satnav systems. When I went by the JVC office in our country (it's only a 10min drive) the guy in charge of this devision said "oh yes, we will resolve these issues!" Ah that's great, when? "When we introduce a new system, we cannot change the menu items, because then we'd have to change the manual too." Now that's customer service and quality on a level you should only expect from the Chinese suppliers. In that case you only pay 1/4, but in my experience JVC doesn't do better.

Oh dear, that was a decade ago, and I think they are very proactive these days. They are medium-early to market with the phone emulation tech.