These days, technology
watches the road for you, and with all the gizmos available to divert you from
the primary activitydrivingits a wonder anyones hands are on the wheel at
all they are probably preoccupied with CDs, DVDs and who knows what else.
Remember the hoopla when
the eight-track went the way of the Edsel and cassettes became all the rage? Ok,
so you dont remember. Ask your mom and dad... or maybe even your grandparents.
At any rate, from what the
Gadget Inspector has been reading lately, it looks like the CD is ready for
automobile obsolescence, with the iPod prepared to corner the market.
Blaupunkt, Alpine and
Clarion are among those who have taken the leap into mobile iPod technology,
with Blaupunkt and Clarion keeping things under $200, and Clarion stepping it
up into a somewhat higher-end range, topping out at $400.
You can now plug in your
iPod, MP3 player, USB drive or SD memory cards and drive away. But CD fans,
rest easy: the technology isnt gone yet, and probably wont be for a while.
Road trips arent what they
used to be. Thanks to state-of-the-art audio systems and satellite radio, no
longer do you have to constantly punch the dial, looking for stations and
hoping youre in an area that picks up frequency. Getting all tangled up in a
map and trying to decipher microscopic print to figure out where youre going?
Forget that! Todays vehicles come equipped with navigation systems. Audio
books? Please. Now you can cruise around with a DVD player.
And those childhood days
spent asking, Are we there yet? while parents kept a nonstop supply of books,
games and snacks going? Not anymore. Hook up a backseat DVD player and enjoy
some peace and quiet while the ankle-biters watch Spongebob for the thousandth
out what Dual has to offer: a headrest-mount portable DVD player with
TFT/LCD monitor that mounts to any headrest in any vehicle by simply slipping
the straps over the headrest, sliding the player into the vest, and plugging in
the DC adapter. DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW compatible, it comes with an AC adapter for
system has monitor and remote controls and, best of all, comes with two pairs of
earbuds for the option of private listening. Keep the crumb-catchers happy, and
youll never have to hear the big purple monster singing that god-awful I
love you, you love me song ever again!
For those of you who are
driving to the poorhouse in a Ferrari, Bose offers the Media System, complete
with 30-gigabyte hard drive that can store 200 CDs, navigation, hands-free
phone use, control knob proximity detectors, satellite radio and voice
When it comes to multimedia
entertainment systems for your car, Jensen offers many options that include
Bluetooth, iPod music downloads, and touch-screens to play CDs, DVDs, MP3s or
WMA files. Their VM9022 multimedia receiver ($699 list), for example, has a 6.5-inch
motorized touch screen and integrated center channel amp. It supports DVDR,
DVDRW single and dual layer, CDR, CDRW, CDDA, MP3, WMA, SVCD, VCD, MPEG1, 2 and
JPEG, has a high-performance 'A' grade TFT screen, picture in picture, and
reads up to 1000 songs on a single DVD, compatible with single and dual layer
Navigation ready, the VM9022 also has has
an AM/FM tuner, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free and A2DP headset
profiles, 7 band EQ with spectrum analyzer, 8 preset EQ curves, Dolby digital
and pro-logic II, plus 5.1 with time delay. Theres more! Two A/V inputs for
external media connectivity, game consoles, additional screens, iPod and iPhone
connectivity through 8 pin DIN, front, rear, subwoofer and center outputs,
anti-theft password protection, integrated center channel amp, SD card
interface that supports up to a 4GB card, a USB that supports thumb drives and
hard drives, and multi-zone remote. All this while youre trying to drive?
The Kenwood DNX5120
All-in-One Navigation/DVD Entertainment System ($999) features a 6.1 Touchscreen and
USB/iPod. With built-in Garmin navigation technology, the DNX5120 has maps of
the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and includes over six million points
of interestbecause we all have the time and money to travel to exotic places
in our cars, no less!
The touchscreen has a
user-programmable startup, variable-color illumination of the front panel
controls, and two RCA 2V Preouts for system expansion. Its also satellite
radio ready, HD radio ready and Bluetooth ready.
A longtime favorite is the
Necvox 7" Widescreen LCD with 10-Disk DVD Changer and true DIN InDash
Mounting. The DA-7169 dual or single DIN system ($399) fits in any 2" or 4"
x 7" dash. The wide-screen motorized in-dash LCD monitor has wireless
remote control and a user-adjustable viewing angle, dual A/V inputs and one A/V
output. The changer features electronic shock protection circuit and three
mounting positions. Integrate it with the Necvox AM/FM Stereo VHF/UHF Tuner
with 40W x 4-channel amplifier.
Pioneer has wowed the
automotive multimedia arena with their AVH-P4000DVD (6.1-inch screen) and
AVH-P5000DVD (7-inch screen). Both systems offer audio and video, iPod
connectivity, hands-free Bluetooth compatibility, and much more.
The in-dash double-DIN DVD
Multimedia AV Receivers have DVD Video, DivX, and MP3/WMA/iTunes AAC playback.
The iPod Direct Control feature (CD-I200 required) provides audio and video
menus, and functions and selections via the on-screen touch panel. Pioneers Link Search enables you to hold the list
button while listening to your favorite artist and get pop-up folders containing
that specific artist, and the
Passenger Control Mode allows
use of the iPod directly to browse and select music, while connected to the
head unit for playback. And with USB Direct Control you can connect two devices
at once, allowing for great expandability. You also get two RCA Hi-Volt preouts
for adding external amps and speakers, the built-in MOSFET 50 W x 4 amplifier
for excellent sound quality, and the Supertuner IIID for advanced analog and digital processing.
Any man with good taste
will tell you that its all about checking out the rear view. Pioneer knows
this, which is why they also offer the optional Rear View Camera
rear-view camera can be in full screen, adding another level of safety while
driving. Just keep that thing off of my wide angle, will ya?
Pioneer also adds a
disclaimer to their website: "Do not use your Pioneer system if doing so will
divert your attention in any way from the safe operation of your vehicle.
Ironic, considering all the bells, whistles, buttons, slots and video screens
Next time, cool gear for
your ride. Until then, let it roll, baby, roll ... all night long.