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Pioneer Car Video - Gridlock Just Got Entertaining

audio units support playback

There was a time, before the advent of DVDs, Bluetooth, touchscreen devices, and seven-inch television screens, when getting stuck in a traffic jam was an unbearable experience for the whole family. But that time has come to an end, and Pioneer helped put the final nail in its coffin with a line of extraordinary in-dash audio/video players.

Pioneer car video players are the highest of the high end, building on an already solid reputation for audio quality and wide-ranging audio format support. Pioneer’s audio/video units, which retail for between $600 and $800, support DVD and VCD (video CD) playback; they also support DivX playback and interface with Apple’s iPod music players.

Pioneer’s 7" car video units come in two models, with both supporting DVD, VCD, and DivX playback. The highest-end model, however, also adds Bluetooth support for wireless connectivity. This allows you to pair your phone with the device for a hands-free solution while driving. It also interfaces nicely with music and video playback, pausing whatever you may be watching or listening to as soon as the call comes in. The caller’s voice comes over the car’s speaker system; once the call has ended, music playback fades back in and resumes where it left off beofore the call.

Both of the seven inch models come with a USB port on the front of the unit that connects with an iPod or any USB-enabled device. When an iPod is connected, however, the Pioneer system pulls iTunes tags, song titles, and album art; it also supports a textual search of the iPod’s media content, making it much easier to find and play specific songs or videos.

Traditional radio features are also handled by the Pioneer car video units, which support HD Radio for a static-free FM listening experience. GPS navigation controls are present, but this will require an additional GPS receiver unit installation. The units also contain an SD card reader, which is particularly useful for those without iPods or iPhones, who may have a music-playing phone that supports the SD format. And for the space-conscious, Pioneer produces a similar unit in a 5.8-inch model. This is great for vehicles with a smaller central audio/video space or drivers who do not want the interference that a 7" screen may entail.

Pioneer has been a strong contender in car audio for quite some time. Its traditional audio units have always provided excellent sound, which was reinforced (and, in fact, enhanced) by its line of car speakers and subwoofers. These audio/video combination units are the next logical steps in Pioneers quest to be a dominant force in entertainment while on the road.

And you owe it to yourself to see the unit in person and get a feel for just how this transforms the road experience. Road trips take on a whole new life when there’s no more of that infamous question: “are we there yet?” With the ability to play everyone’s favorite songs, whether via iPod, SD card, or CD, as well as their favorite movies and television shows, you’ll wonder how you ever survived those long trips without entertainment.

And if you happen to get stuck in 8am traffic on the freeway, there’s a new way to pass the time: load up last night’s television shows and relax for a few minutes while you wait. Or take a call over the Bluetooth connection and complain without losing your ability to drive (quickly) when the speed picks up again.

Pioneer’s car video players tap into our need to entertain ourselves while doing one of life’s most un-entertaining daily chores, and they do it very well.

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