Looks like another innovation is about to change our listening habits. I just noticed the following info re changes to in car entertainment (Note the prices are in Aussie dollars so halve for the USD):
The quote below is from
"Stackers are at last on the downhill route to extinction, helped along by technology that most people use daily, the hard disk drive. Why didn't someone think of this years ago?
In January, a couple of manufacturers gave notice of audio decks with built-in 10-gigabyte hard disk drives and, later this month, Pioneer will be first to the market in Australia with one. It's delightfully clever and user friendly and it gives the equivalent of a 200-disc stacker right there in the dash.
Copying a CD onto the hard drive, so it can be called up at any time in the future, is as simple as playing it with the record command activated. From that point the CD itself stays at home; the recording will be available in the car forever.
And if the prospect of keeping track of a couple of hundred hours of music is off-putting, Pioneer has made it easy. You can organise up to six custom play lists or select play lists that the machine generates automatically. That's not the best bit. The best bit is the automatic titling.
The deck is loaded with the Gracenote CDDB database of more than 13 million songs. If the CD you play is on the database (and it probably will be), the album, artist and track titles come up automatically. This makes it dead easy to find in the deck's memory – you can call it up by artist, title or genre.
Update the database at any time by going to the Gracenote Web site (www.cddb.com) and loading the update onto a memory stick, which in turn you load in the deck. The memory stick also can transfer music files from computer to car and even from car to portable player.
The DEHP900HDD deck also will play MP3-encoded CD-ROMs.
The price – $4999 – could be a sticking point. When I expressed sticker shock to a Pioneer manager, he shrugged and said the only time technology companies ever make money is when the technology is new, indicating that prices will drop dramatically when other makers get in on the act.
That won't take long. There are similar Sony and Blaupunkt decks in the wings. The latter uses an IBM MicroDrive with one gigabyte of memory (but IBM makes MicroDrives of up to 10 GB and Blaupunkt, in time, will have memory upgrades). It is delightfully compact – at 8.5cm by 13.5cm it fits in the palm of your hand.
Called the MDP01, it's a lot cheaper than the Pioneer at $1499, but you'll need a compatible Blaupunkt deck in the dash – add $350.
It has a significant weakness; you can't load music in the car. You do that from your computer either by downloads or by ripping CDs through the computer's CD-ROM drive. The MDP01 will come with all the necessary hardware and software.
It may take a few years for hard-disk deck prices of to become competitive enough for the general market – but in the next 12 months, screens will explode in popularity.
Screens have always been expensive, but if January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was anything to go by, screen prices will be coming down radically in the coming year.
At Las Vegas, there were screens that slid out of the dash, folded from the roof or flipped from the door. Some were mounted in the rear of the front seats or conventionally on the console.
They came in a range of sizes to suit just about any nook or cranny of the interior, and could be set up to accept video, DVD, television, games, navigation and even the Net. Most were cheaper than last year (but some were cheap and nasty).
For some years, 12-volt video players have been available for cars. The next evolution, the 12-volt DVD player, is still expensive but is increasing in popularity.
In-car entertainment installer StageCo in Sydney's Castle Hill is fitting audio-visual systems at the rate of one a day.
"Our most popular system," says StageCo's Bruno Bercari, "is a video and a PlayStation 2 games console, which also runs DVD movies, hooked up to a folding roof-mounted screen and infra-red headphones. People get them for the kids and they cost about $5000."
Further down the market at the Las Vegas show were a number of stand-alone video and DVD players that operate from the cigarette lighter. One, about the size of a six-pack drink cooler, was supplied with two Velcro straps to secure it to the console. Safety implications apart, it didn't cost much.
Mobile music buffs should investigate Alpine's new premium system, F1 Status. Packing astonishing technology, the company has set out to regain its place as the world's premier car audio brand.
The heart of the system is the PXAH900 multimedia manager, about the smartest box in mobile media with automatic time correction and an equaliser that automatically customises the vehicle's sound field for optimum performance.
Pick up passengers or even throw a rug in the back and the acoustics change – so the unit's parameters change. You can play around with it yourself with the remote, listening for the sweetest sound and tracking changes on the real-time analyser that's built in to the system.
That kind of tuning formerly was the province of really clever installers. Now anyone can do it and all it takes is money – $6999.
What will be the next big thing? Communication. Both car makers and after-market manufacturers are finding a wealth of opportunities in telemetry systems.
Nissan has unveiled a voice synthesiser which is accurate enough to read emails and take dictation for the replies. Expect it in upmarket models soon.
Navigation aids will include downloadable street directories and integrated address books – just say "the Joneses" and the navigation will take you there.
A prototype system can monitor your windscreen wipers and, if it's raining on your car, it will issue weather alerts to motorists heading in your direction."
Peace at AA
First of all, thanks for the info.
A couple of things strike me about this.
1. It always amazes me that Hardware manufacturers keep on making stuff like this while the "software" manufacturers are doing precisely the opposite and trying to STOP us copying their precious product.
The idea of a hard disc player is incredible but if the Record companies insist on using copy protection, who's going to be able to use it? Unless of course, we pay (again) to download the official mp3's
I am aware that there is a "workaround" for the copy protection that has been posted here in recent weeks but, unless "joe public" learns of this "workaround", how many are going to enjoy the convenience of an in-car HD player. They will never get past the fact that their shiny new CD wont even play on their PC.
2. The companies whine about losing money to pirates. I think that what they need to realise is that they are not losing money, they are just making less money than they would in a world without the pirates.
Ah well, that's capitalism for you!
I realise that there are ways around the copy protection but this is hardly the point. Why don't record companies just face up to the fact that pirating will not stop, and allow users to make limited copies for personal use, or, if they really can't do without that extra "squillion dollars", put a levy on blank discs.
Alternatively, make the CD's dirt cheap so that people won't have to think twice about spending up $20 for s couple of songs that they like.
Putting a levy on blank discs is probably the better alternative because it will bring in extra revenue for the record companies and it will make them feel that they are "hurting" the pirates and those "naughty" home copiers.
Okay, it's up to the Record companies now, If they don't heed my well constructed and reasoned arguments :-), We'll all just see Staedtler, TDK and 3M stock go through the roof while people empty the local stationers shelves of Black markers Blank CD's and postit's.
Sorry, went off at a tangent a bit there, but that's what happens when I rant.
Gee, that feels better
Smoke me a kipper...I'll be Back for Breakfast.
The copyright issue is discussed at
On reading this all a bit more carefully I see it is an initiative of Pioneer Europe. There is more detail on this product at their site at -
Peace at AA
... it appears it is about to be released in the UK. Unusual.
A Google search revealed another article at
and some European links but zilch for the USA! Maybe it is a European development which is yet to be shared with the US but is getting Aussie release. Strange marketing!!
Peace at AA
Interesting info. Thanks! By the way, Yamaha has a hard disc based recorder / player for the home. It sold for $999 only a few months ago but I see that the local electronics chain store has dropped the price to $499 U.S.
Smoke me a kipper...I'll be Back for Breakfast.
Most fun I've had with an audio toy in a long time.
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: