Monday, May 6, 2013

Guest post : 30 years of CD players - history of in-car entertainment

Anything people can enjoy on the sofa, they want to have on the move. This desire has fuelled rapid innovation in in-car entertainment for almost 100 years! Read on for a breakdown of in-car entertainment milestones and a look to the gadgets and gizmos of the future. Is the CD player really on its way out?
A real luxury
The topic of who made the first car radio for personal use is a hot debate but it was the Galvin brothers that gave us the first commercial in-car radio in 1930. It cost a wallet-crushing $130. Not much you say? Well, you be the judge of that when you find out that a Ford Model A Deluxe Coupe only came in at $540. If you look at the kind of car finance deals on offer for top models like MINI today, can you imagine dropping a third of the total value on a radio? That’s one for real music lovers...
Music on demand
AM/FM radio appeared during the ‘50s but it was Chrysler who spotted a gap in the market. They put a 7” record player in their high-end models so people could play proprietary records. Ah the luxury of choice!
The rise and fall of the 8-track
The eight-track tape never had it easy. Both Ford and Motorola put players in their cars during 1965 and the format saw a massive boom. However, after a decade of people getting annoyed with jammed decks and dirty tape, it was discontinued and never seen again...
The magic of a mixtape
In-car entertainment exploded in the mid-70s with the humble cassette tape. Suddenly big brands like Alpine and Pioneer were making stereos for cars and it was big business indeed.
German engineering
Sony pipped Becker to the post for in-dash CD players a year before, but it was the German company that struck gold with the first model to be installed in the factory during 1985. So began the reign of the CD...and long it was...
It was the emergence of MP3 players and the mighty iPod at the turn of the millennium that started killing CDs. Plenty of cars still come with CD players as standard but this is the time when big brands will phase them out in favour of digital docks and even app-based systems.
A taste of things to come...
In-car entertainment will develop faster in the next 5 years than ever before. Smart-phones will power app-based systems so drivers can benefit from voice-activated technology, wireless chargers, infotainment tablets and much more access to the music they want.
But the real game-changer will be augmented reality windscreens that will turn your driver’s view into something that looks like it came from a computer game... Get ready.