Mobile Video Systems
See what you've been missing in Mobile Video
Modern technology has made full color, full motion, and 3-D display devices possible in miniature. Liquid Crystal Digital (LCD) displays can be comprised entirely of a tiny chip or small wafer thin panel with very low voltage and current requirements. A transflective display (TFT) means that light passes through the bottom. This allows ambient lighting to contribute to the brightness of the display offering more efficiency in very small LCD panels.
Tiny LCD transflective display devices are stuffed into a car stereo head unit these days to give it a personal look and feel. Check out JVC and Alpine head units to see the very latest use of 1 din sized decks with colorful displays. JVC even goes so far as making a fully functional DVD player into a small 3" panel that fits onto a 1 DIN slot in your dash.
The potential for some personal artistic input into your car deck is limitless with custom images and animations that will be rendered on a high resolution LCD TFT display. Many manufacturers have pre-made files available for download on their website. You take these graphical files, whether from your head unit's manufacturer or custom made, load them onto a burned CD and then load them into the deck using its interface. The dream of your very own car named Kit that says "Hello" when you start it up is now a reality.
More practical use of mobile video is for GPS navigation systems that occupy a 2 din slot in your dash or an overhead display up to 7". Voice activated GPS systems can give you detailed directions to your destination. The display will show you an accurate map with your current location, heading and notification of the next street you'll encounter. With a graphical GPS in your car, you pretty much guarantee that you won't be that guy who has to ask for directions.
Overhead displays can entertain passengers with DVD playback or AVI, raw MPEG or any variety of encoded video material loaded from your PC depending on the head unit or external processing connected to your head unit. Potentially, you could play back a recording of your favorite TV show on the road. Headrest displays are perfect for entertaining kids on long trips. The headrest display is front and center for children riding in car seats.
Mobile video is about to take on a whole new dimension. If Sirius satellite radio has their way, soon they'll make satellite TV another service. They plan on releasing mostly children's programming to subscribers of their satellite radio service. It's too early to tell if they'll simply rebroadcast existing television networks, but it does look like they plan on broadcasting their own commercial free content.