Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information. Click here to see our current Top Ten car stereos.
The Kenwood KIV-BT901 is built with a 3-inch TFT screen that can play video files and be used to display a rear-view camera if you have one installed. This unit is a mechless car audio head unit, meaning that it doesn't have a CD player or other internal mechanisms, but it is a digital media receiver and was made to play a multitude of file formats. The KIV-BT901 plays MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV files, but also plays the following video formats: MPEG-4, AVI and WMV. You can use the auxiliary and USB ports found on the rear to connect to your media devices. To play video files, however, you have to connect through the iPod video output. Only audio files can stream wirelessly using Bluetooth. For more options in regards to music, the KIV-BT901 is satellite and HD radio ready.
This head unit can accommodate expansion, so you can customize your car audio system if you choose. With three sets of RCA outputs, one set specifically designed to be a preamp subwoofer output, you can add new speakers in the front and rear, as well as an amplifier and a subwoofer should you choose. Along with these options comes high-pass and low-pass filter control. This means you have greater control over which higher or lower frequencies go to which speakers, making it easier for your speakers to produce sound with less distortion. Add a five-band equalizer to the system, and whether you expand or not, you will have greater control over the sound in your car.
The Kenwood KIV-BT901 is the model in the KIV series that includes built-in Bluetooth. When you're replacing the factory-installed head unit in your car, seriously consider a car audio system that includes Bluetooth so you can sync your Bluetooth-enabled phone to your audio system. This feature is becoming more and more prevalent and is especially useful as more states enact hands-free driving laws. A microphone is included with the KIV-BT901 and you can run the cable under the headliner to place it inconspicuously closer to your face.
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The Kenwood KIV-BT901 comes with a one year limited parts and labor warranty. Should you have any questions, comments or concerns, you can contact Kenwood through the several listed phone numbers or the email form on the website. You could even send the company a letter to the physical address. Kenwood also actively uses Facebook and Twitter, creating another venue in which customers can ask questions or post comments. If you have a basic question, the website does have a small FAQs section and hosts a copy of the user manual.
The Kenwood KIV-BT901 is a good quality digital media receiver and has the potential to be a great addition to your car. The absent CD player does limit the head unit, but the ability to play several different types of media helps to make up for the lack.