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Drive Life : February 4th 2011
1HERSA1 0008 Buckle up. AGS 2110 Whether you're buying... selling... or just out for a spin. Come and fuel up at our BBQ and find out what your wheels are REALLY worth! There'll be a free BBQ -- price evaluators -- vehicle photographers -- and loads of tips for buying and selling your next four wheeled baby. PLUS the WSFM Pit Crew will be there with a truckload of great motoring prizes to give away! The WSFM 101.7 Ettamogah Pub - Rouse Hill (Cnr Merrivile & Windsor Roads Rouse Hill): Saturday February 5th from 10am. Drive.com.au -- The best place to buy and sell cars! THIS SATURDAY from 10am 8 Friday, February 4, 2011 The Sydney Morning Herald DriveLIFE cover story Wired for sound The car stereo isn't what it used to be. Rod Easdown navigates a brave new world. 'It's all about Bluetooth and iPods or iPhones.' Juerg Nydegger, Auto Acoustics Music to move . . . Jay Ariti (left) with his 1974 Charger and its $25,000 sound system. Photo: Domino Postiglione The compact disc player is destined to disappear from the car. The latest and greatest aftermarket entertainment systems have already ditched the technology and experts predict it won't be long before vehicle manufacturers follow suit. The car product manager at Pioneer, Australia's biggest in-car entertainment brand, gives CDs just five more years, 10 at the most. "In a few years, less than half the people listening to music in their cars will have any use for CDs," Daniele Mariani says. He believes the future lies in Pioneer's Media Centre Receiver, a device that accepts inputs from SD and SDHC cards, USB drives, iPods, iPhones or any other electronic music player. It has Bluetooth. There's a radio tuner. It gives you full control over your iPod from the dash and it can also be controlled by an iPod. The name of the game is flexibility and portability, rather than storage capacity. Expensive mega-storage devices have largely flopped because buyers want their music in an affordable package. Big hard drives cost from $3500 to $5000, good media centres are available from about $400. Compatibility with iPod and iPhone is a must, and not just because these products dominate their categories -- they provide access to whiz-bang applications. Pioneer is about to launch App Mode, which will give users access to iPhone apps in the car. With their long product development lead times, car companies are struggling to keep up with the pace of change when it comes to in-car entertainment and, as a result, are making it harder to upgrade to an aftermarket unit. Many factory original audio systems these days are no longer simple boxes that slip out of the dash to be replaced by a unit of the same dimensions. They are integrated into the dash. But the aftermarket suppliers are ever-resilient and have come up with a range of dash fascia kits and electronic gizmos to get around all this. Some can even ensure that existing steering-wheel controls will operate the new system successfully. Having a popular car helps but there's far wider availability than ever. "A few years ago we had lots of problems but now there are devices available for far more cars," upmarket installer Juerg Nydegger, of Auto Acoustics in St Peters, Sydney, says. "I'm currently working on an Alfa 159. Two years ago I wouldn't have been able to touch it." But car makers are fighting back. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Toyota unveiled what it calls Entune, a multimedia centre that offers audio streaming, traffic reports, roadside assistance, weather and such delicacies as restaurant and entertainment bookings, movie tickets, maps, sports scores and stock quotes. Toyota says Entune will be available in the US market this year on some models. But in many respects it's only playing catch up with Ford's Sync, also operational with apps for smartphones, and BMW's Connected, both available in the US. More are to come from other brands and General Motors is expanding its On-Star service accordingly. Software updates can be DIGITAL RADIO Digital radio has been a slow starter in Australia. In cars it's practically non- existent. Digital transmissions started pumping in mid--2009, bringing better sound quality and flexibility. So why isn't it selling? A couple of reasons, say industry insiders. The first is that the big brands launched a swag of products in Europe to discover the buyers weren't interested. Hence their caution here. The second is reception. Digital tends to be all or nothing. When you're receiving it, it's great but when you're not it's gone entirely.
January 28th 2011
February 11th 2011