In-Car Entertainment Comes of Age

In-Car Entertainment Comes of Age

Are you maximizing your vehicle’s entertainment and car audio options?

Entertainment at home is absolutely awesome: 8K video, surround sound, context-sensitive rumble chairs, and lighting options that would make Spielberg drool. It’s a better experience (and way more advanced) than we had going to the movies and the arcade back in the day.

And the workplace is being re-imagined for full comfort and maximum production, with ergonomic desks and keyboards, quiet pods, ambient noise, massage chairs, on-site meals and snacks and more.

So what about transportation? Lyft, Uber and taxi drivers do what they can to make your travel experience pleasant (and to get more stars!), but if you enjoy driving and you’re not quite ready to give up the open road, what can you do to get the most out of that precious space and time?

From the 1930s until the late 1970s, “in-vehicle entertainment” usually meant AM radio through a speaker you could have made from stuff in your junk drawer. Air conditioning came later, with power windows, 8-track, and cassette players, and maybe cruise control for true comfort.

Thankfully, today’s offerings are even better. There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right car audio package. Let's review some of the top car audio questions.

Q: How many speakers, tweeters, subwoofers, and amplifiers do you really need?

A: As many as a good installer can fit in there.

Come on… Does anyone really need 2,000 watts of amplification power, making it sound like the Spice Girls are singing from your back seat? Maybe you don’t. But…

MAYBE.

YOU.

DO.

(And isn’t it nice to know you could give it a shot if you wanted to?)

In-vehicle entertainment is a monster category in 2020, and auto manufacturers are driving full-speed into the amazing future that’s coming. Industry leaders like Chevrolet, GM, Audi, and others are partnering with Apple and Google to make The Jetsons look less like a cartoon and more like a foregone conclusion: Vehicles introduced over the past 5-10 years generally include a touchscreen, surround sound, heated and cooled seats, integrated cell-phone functionality, temperature control, streaming music and more.

The same features that have led to dynamic growth in mobile phones are coming to your car. Google Assistant is all kinds of magical, helping with things like finding an address, reading texts and emails, helping to secure restaurant reservations, setting and announcing calendar reminders and beyond.

And it’s not just the drivers who are getting all the attention: Passengers, especially back-seat human cargo (“children,” per industry jargon), are finding the road to be pretty inviting for them as well. For years we’ve seen headrest screens connected to DVD players, video-game consoles, laptops, and iPads. Kids could set a high score, listen to the Wiggles (but only if you brought headphones), watch a TED talk or do homework; the activity really just depended on the length of the drive.

But that’s child’s play compared to what’s coming next:

The German company Holoride, who has partnered with Disney, say they’re “turning vehicles into moving theme parks.” This means a drive to the grocery store additionally can turn your passengers’ trip into an immersive video game, taking full advantage of the car’s acceleration, turning, stopping and starting to deliver not just the milk and eggs but also some pretty amazing VR experiences.

Dream your dreams, say your prayers and eat your veggies — then brace yourself for the glorious reality that’s heading our way. Whether you love to drive your car yourself or you’re ready for a self-driver, you’re going to get more out of your vehicle than you ever thought possible. When the right tech works for you and your passengers, getting from point A to point B will seem quaint, and you’ll probably want to go ahead and see what is going on over in points X, Y, and Z.


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