In Car Entertainment Systems or ICE systems refer to all modern multimedia devices in vehicles that function as entertainment, recreational and utility systems. These include all audio/video and navigational devices.
Although Car Audio systems fall under this category, it will be fair to say that they also have their own separate existence.
The concept of In Car Entertainment has been around ever since the first vehicles hit the road and it has been evolving ever since. Modern ICEs comprise of highly advanced technologies and host a number of hi-tech features to make our drive a pleasurable experience.
The modern day In Car Entertainment Systems are parented by the simple Car Audio system. A Cassette Player cum Car Radio was the first member of this family. The practice of listening to one’s favorite music while driving gained quick acceptance as people realized that it can turn journeys into exciting memories. Any form of entertainment kills the boredom associated with long road journeys and the first and still the foremost type of entertainment in vehicles is listening to music.
A Car Audio system qualifies as the basic and most commonly used In Car Entertainment system. Modern Car Audio systems however do much more than just play music. They can also play music stored on various devices in various formats and pair with various other devices as well.
With advanced features like Wi-fi, Bluetooth, USB, Ipod connectivity, Steering Wheel Audio Control, Phone Connectivity, Remote Device Connectivity, TV etc., the modern Car Audio system has itself evolved into a complete entertainment system.
Audio systems in cars play music from CDs, DVDs, Cassettes and Portable Storage Devices. With advanced connectivity features, you can pair any other device like Ipod, Mobile Phone etc. with your Car Audio System and enjoy combined features like using car speakers as a handsfree device for the phone.
High-end audio systems also feature LCD and TFT screens while certain audio systems support GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) and SatNav (Satellite Navigation) making them an essential car accessory. Such features comprise essential navigational equipment that aids the driver in effectively managing routes.
A decent quality head unit combined with speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers can constitute a useful Car Audio System capable of producing good music inside the car-cabin. This however is not enough for today’s vehicle.
A recent addition to the In Car Entertainment System has been video game consoles and large retractable display screens inside the cabin. A concept popularized by some TV shows about car customization, it has caught the frenzy of this nation. Usually game consoles and screens are installed in the rear of the vehicle so that it does not pose as a distraction to the driver.
Satellite TV in vehicles is another feature that is quickly gaining popularity. There certainly are people who prefer to take the back seat and catch their favorite TV programs while on the move. This is an addition to the already existing CD / DVD players in vehicles.
Since all these features require extra electrical energy to run, most vehicles come equipped with capacitors and extra energy storage devices that are utilized only to power the ICE systems. If your car sports a lot of gadgetry and features any entertainment systems but no extra power storage device, you should think about investing in one or end up with a dead battery.
Apart from that, excess equipment in your vehicle would result in excess weight as well. This will result in low fuel economy or gas mileage. You should consider this before going for heavy-duty speakers and amplifiers.
You might also want to consider the fact that all entertainment devices especially visual ones can be a distraction while driving. Unless you are comfortable with the idea of being surrounded by multimedia devices as you drive, you should not invest in one.
ICE systems are definitely the buzzword in the automobile world today and future enhancements to this concept will definitely bring more features and functionalities making our vehicles more exciting and entertaining.
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