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Transportation Apple Entertainment

The iPad As In-Car Entertainment System Killer 415

theodp writes "'s David Thomas speculates that the iPad could prove to be a serious problem for automakers that charge a ransom for rear entertainment systems. The base iPad, Thomas notes, costs far less than most DVD options offered by automakers. Ford charges $1,995 for a dual-headrest-mounted DVD system in its Flex crossover. In the Acura MDX, its single-screen system, with three wireless headsets and a 9-inch screen, costs $1,900. At $500 a pop, giving two kids their own iPads would cost far less than what the automakers charge for an ICE system. The article mentions some of the advantages of ICE, including being weather-tested to work from -5 to 160 degrees F (-20 to 71 C), and being far less prone to breakage."
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The iPad As In-Car Entertainment System Killer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:20AM (#31921052)

    Best use is for long journeys.

    Granted, if you're not driving far they're pretty needless, but I've got portable 2 screen system that I hook up when we're going long ways.

    Just a few weeks ago we drove about 12 hours, 3 times. Kids would have gone nuts without being able to watch some stuff now and again.

  • Re:Sick and tired (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:28AM (#31921136)

    To be trolled, it is you who needs to be responding to the troll, not the other way around.

    No, you were not being trolled. Sorry.

  • Re:Sick and tired (Score:5, Informative)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:33AM (#31921196)

    Well, the stories that appear on slashdot are submitted by slashdot readers, so clearly some people are interested.

    They're obviously news for someone. Might I suggest submitting stories that *are* news for nerds if you think the iPad is not worth it to you.

    Or just turn off the "Apple" section in your preferences, which is much more effective than moaning about it on the actual story, as many people seem to do.

  • Re:hmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @08:55AM (#31921404)

    It doesn't matter, as sometime in the future they will probably be able to re-buy their Disney DVDs for the iPad.

    Subject to DRM, preventing them from taking the content anywhere other than their iPad (without buying again), of course.

  • by sharkey ( 16670 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:01AM (#31921472)
    You're forgetting the semis! Anyone who could make an unsuspecting dad shit his pants by getting a trucker to blow their horn at the right moment was the clear winner.
  • by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:02AM (#31921500)

    As any parent with a kid will (or should!) tell you, giving them access to things like that is all part of a managed activity schedule, much like access to TV or the computer. You can set aside times when your children can use these things, and for how long, and various other rules. In car entertainment is just another medium where this occurs.

    in the same way that multiple TV sets in homes added more flexibility for families where someone wants to watch channel A while others watch channel B, the in car systems mean not everyone has to listen to the radio, which can be a total blessing if your kids really want to listen to the high school musical soundtrack *again*, or the Bob the Builder greatest hits.

    Like anything involving parenting though, not everyone makes good parents, but allowing kids access to things like this doesn't automatically put people into that category.

  • Re:And, guess what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by netsharc ( 195805 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @09:39AM (#31922038)

    There's a cool app on the App Store called "Air Video", it requires a server app on your normal PC (Windows/Mac), and a client App on the phone, the server reads your videos from its disk, converts it on the fly to an iPhone-compatible format, and streams it over WiFi (or 3G if your 3G is good enough) to the phone.

    I suppose for the ultimate in-car entertainment hackery, one could store an SSD-disked PC in the trunk, with WiFi that can connect to the "MyGarage" SSID, as well as offering in-car WiFi (or would that have to go the other way around, the home PC/server connecting to the "MyCar" SSID?), and with a network drive so you can just drag&drop stuff from your home PC "into" your "car". Maybe cron-job too for TV episodes. Add Wake-on-Bluetooth too so you can just click a button to turn on the in-car PC from the comfort of your own desk.

    Would surely save a lot of time compared to doing an offline conversion/USB sync...

  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @10:10AM (#31922432)
    Actually, it's more appropriate to say that it can WITHSTAND those temperature extremes. While your kids may not be in the car when it's 120+F, those players still are. Try leaving a iPad out on the seat for about a year in Arizona and see if it still works (direct sunlight at the height of summer here can melt most common plastics outright). That "ridiculously expensive" DVD system is so priced because it's built to last and survive over the long-term in an environment with extreme temperature variations and to handle daily jarring movement/vibration.
  • Re:Sick and tired (Score:2, Informative)

    by e3m4n ( 947977 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:00AM (#31923310)

    Who is going to carry around 100 of their original, expensive dvd's in their car?

    this was my thought too. My wife has a dodge grand caravan with a dvd system in it with a 5 disc changer. Personally I think it was worth every penny and has kept our road trips less stressful. Having the controls up front lets us manage playback which was great when my daughter was too young to operate the controls and once my son gets old enough to face forward in a vehicle I am sure I will re-appreciate the parent operated controls.

    The system in the minivan uses a 5-disc changer. Usually thats the maximum number of movies we have at any given time unless we're going on vacation and the kids want to pack a few extra. Aside from the fact that 5 kid movies is approximately 7hrs anyway... I cant express the fact enough the replay value a single movie seems to have with children. Watching a show 2, 3, even 4 times in a row has and will likely happen again. I can quote, in sync, just about every line to shrek (1 and 2), madagascar 1 and 2, all the pixar movies, and shark tales.

    I couldnt fathom a selection of 100 movies, I think the kids would still watch the same one 3 times in a row.

  • Re:And, guess what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by lowrydr310 ( 830514 ) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:24AM (#31923742)
    XBMC is one awesome approach that provides movies and gaming. I too have a friend who did this.

    Another friend of mine had an interesting setup with a custom touchscreen in the center of the dash and two more in the headrests for the rear passengers that were connected to a microATX PC in the trunk. provides a ton of resources for the project. In this friend's case, he had a media center, GPS receiver with navigation software, an OBDII diagnostics utility, and a few other neat utilities. It was a cool setup, but as with any 'custom' solution it can be a chore to troubleshoot any problems that may arise. In my experience, the manufacturer-provided ICE systems usually 'just work' without much trouble.
  • Re:Sick and tired (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @11:43AM (#31924040)

    I think most people would rather keep their cheap, rather small, perfectly portable DVD wallets and not end up with abysmal quality,

    You've clearly never mixed kids with DVDs, particularly in a car where they're even less likely to stay in their nice wallets when not in the player.

    I don't think my three (aged 4, 6 & 8) are unrepresentative; CDs/DVDs go from new to unplayable in about 2 months in the car.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.