Mobile video

Entertainment on the road

Done with audio? Video is great for shows and a delight for passengers. Several manufacturers have mobile video screens and sources. The screen can be integrated into the head unit (i.e. Clarion) or can be sold separate. Most important is the kind of screen, which can be LCD or TTF. TTF is is better but more expensive. The video source can be a VCR, DVD or TV tuner. In general TV tuners won't perform very well. Some people here in The Netherlands almost have to drive to the television station itself to receive a little. Another problem with TV tuners is the need of antennas on the car. This can be a boomerang shaped antenna as seen on stretched limos or a set of antennas on the roof and rear window. A better source is DVD. Perfect picture and small boxes to install. While shopping for a mobile DVD player I found out a couple of things:

  • Mobile DVD is very expensive
  • The first generation Sony mobile DVD cannot handle shocks like experienced in a car. For example the rumble of a subwoofer or bad road conditions. Basically with the Sony DVD you have a superb system as long is the car isn't moving. Panasonic DVD is said to be more shock proof.
  • DVD is divided up into regions forcing one to buy own region. This makes buying DVDs online harder and limits the choice for European buyers significantly
  • There's very little DVD titles as of yet

So the mobile video buyer is left with good old conservative crappy VHS video. Both JVC and Sony make VCRs especially made for in car use, meaning they can stand extreme high and low temperatures and humidity. Both play HiFi stereo, only the JVC deck can also record.

To link the sound to an existing audio system there's a couple of options:

  • Head unit has AUX in
  • Extra switch box in the system making the head unit switch between CD and video
  • Expand the VCR with a little FM broadcast box so one can receive the video audio signal via the existing tuner

Lightwave video

I choose a no-name 4 inch screen (see top picture). It was fitted in the mid console by removing the audio tape storage and a little storage compartment. The console was painted the same colour as the dash and a magnetic cover was made to hide the screen. As far as I know JVC is the only brand to sell a special VCR for car use that also does hifi stereo. The VCR is installed in the glove compartment. The remote sensor is in the roof so I only have to open the glove box to change tapes. The monitor has two inputs, one for the VCR and one for a camera. As soon as the input on the front is used the system automatically switches.

A friend built a Lightwave model of my car. This will be turned into an animation and presentation of the car. This way install judges can take place in my car and it will present itself. And of course it will do very nicely for spectators.

Before: console with tape storage After: console with monitor

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