Automotive Video Entertainment


The miniaturization of LCD-panel technology has made it possible to put a video screen almost anywhere. The first-class airline feature of personalized video entertainment has quickly become a cattle-class requirement. Now all savvy parents install multiple screens in their SUVs to keep the kids from fighting. It's a video world, and the number of things you can feed to a screen is vast: movies, TV shows, surveillance feeds, navigation aids, rearview cameras, video games, and video conferences, to name a few.

Computers have become the "Swiss Army knife" of video manipulation. It makes sense to have a single machine solve all your video needsstorage, playback, and editingespecially in an environment where power and space are often limited. And a computer does far more than just imitate the video appliances it replacesit usually goes beyond their capabilities. Instead of a DVD player, you can have a video jukebox. Instead of just viewing the images captured by a rear-view camera, you can have your computer record the license plate of the car tailgating you. Instead of just telling you where to go, a computer-based navigation system can tell you everywhere your car has ever gone. And instead of having to choose which video game system to install in your car, you can have your computer emulate all of them.

In this chapter, we focus on getting video displays into the car by various means, so that you'll be able to view the output of your in-car PC. I'll briefly introduce the several video-connector technologies you'll encounter in the process, and then go over a number of conventional and novel methods for mounting a screen in the car.

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