In-car entertainment has come a long way since its inception in the 1930’s. In those simple times it was an expensive luxury that most could not afford. Nowadays, car entertainment is an absolute requirement for consumers and car manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure their vehicles are equipped with the latest technology. Several elements have played a key role in making car entertainment what it is today.
In particular, car audio systems including speakers, subwoofers, stereos, and amplifiers have drastically changed over the past few decades. Factory and OEM systems have increased in quality due to the high demand of entertainment in modern vehicles. Additionally, almost all car manufacturers offer premium sound systems that include amplified speakers and subwoofers. Companies such as Bose, Pioneer, Kicker and Rockford Fosgate have let their hand and teamed up with car manufacturers to bring better sound quality to factory systems. True music enthusiasts, however, turn to aftermarket equipment to achieve greater performance than most factory systems offer. Many stock systems still offer very limited quality and as a result, there is still a huge market for aftermarket car entertainment. Due to the decreasing costs of LCD screens, sound systems in vehicles such as mini-vans include overhead monitors for enjoying movies or even playing video games.
GPS Navigation is one of the most game changing additions to vehicles since the turn of the century. Before GPS, drivers were limited to road maps and atlases to get to their destination which often resulted in frustration and getting lost. It hasn’t been until recent years that the emergence of GPS Navigation has been integrated into factory sound systems. Modern GPS navigation is only improving every year with features such as live traffic feeds, lane guidance, vocal guidance, point-of-interest locations, and much more. The proceeding years of GPS will see more intuitive and eye catching interfaces and extended features.
Internet Hot Spots
This is one of the next revolutions on the car entertainment timeline. Consumers are always looking for hotspots to connect to while on the go. Having a Wi-Fi hotspot in your vehicle will allow you to connect your laptop or cellular device while simultaneously listening to your favorite tunes (not while driving, of course). There have been many aftermarket hotspots such as AutoNet which allow you to add a hot spot to your vehicle. It has not been until very recently that car manufacturers have caught on and attempted to implement this technology. The first car manufacturer to utilize this technology is none other than BMW. Their in-car hotspot will boast LTE technology making it even easier to stream music and videos within the vehicle. Expect other luxury car companies to follow this pattern in the near future.
Smartphones have become a necessity in the modern world. They have changed the way we go about our day and given us a platform to organize essential tools. It was just a matter of time before manufacturers caught on. All car manufacturers now include 3.5 millimeter audio jacks and USB inputs for charging and using applications on smartphones. Applications such as Pandora and Aha radio allow for instant music streaming. MirrorLink is another recent smartphone-to-car technology that is becoming the global standard in app integration and allows the user to have the interface of their smartphone appear on their stereo. The next level of smartphone integration is unclear but there have been reports of Apple wanting to implement Siri integration in the near future.
Moving forward car entertainment will only become more innovative and revolutionary. Consumers will always be looking for new ways to entertain themselves while they drive and vehicle manufacturers will always strive to meet these needs.