I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey "Touring." With 3 kids (<=5), we do a lot of traveling by van, since it would be obscene to fly to the places that we go to (mostly Boston and Green Bay from DC). Currently I use a laptop with a GPS antenna and an audio iPod with a FM transmitter, and an old DVD player with 2 screens (that are dying). I am not fond of the FM transmitter for the iPod, the sound quality is often not that good, and I often have to change the stations, which is a PITA.
I would like to install equipment with the following features: I want to end up with GPS and MP3 up front, as well as AM/FM and CD. In the back, I would like to have video (with potential to move to games.) I plan to have a video screen on the ceiling as well as a smaller screen on one of the headrests.
One solution that I am investigating is a carputer, this takes care of GPS and MP3 for the front as well as video for the rear. (See below for questions related to this)
Plan #2 is to just buy a "portable" GPS and a video iPod to play video on a ceiling screen.
Plan #3 is to have a dash-mounted system that controls front and rear audio/video and GPS. I am not a huge fan of the in-dash mounted GPS devices, since they don't seem to allow for updates to the map software as easily and as often as other GPS map software (Correct me if I am wrong, please!!) I think this would bethe most expensive.
My questions for the carputer are as follows...
1) I want to have two separate a/v items going at the same time. Regular PC up front (GPS/mp3 mostly) and movie to the rear. I would like to have the rear be it's own audio, so that I don't have to listen to kids movies to much while driving. I think that I can do this with one PC, but I think I need two Audio and Video Cards (would USB items work?)
2) Would Xp Media Center help?
3) How do I deal with Plain Old Ordinary AM/FM Radio? Am I best off leaving in a receiver, or do they make antennae for a PC? I have not seen many AM Antennae. Part of me thinks that I may want to do this because if I am doing a short drive, or if the PC is not working for cold or other reasons, I may just want to use the regular radio.
Check out this installation of a
Carputer in a 1978 Buick Riviera...Awesome.
1) You need dual monitor video capabilities. Many times this means an add on video card.
2) Search Term: Front End. We have an entire sub-forum dedicated to front ends that blow media center away.
3) Search a bit for FM, you'll find that there simply isn't a good solution for it.
I'd also recommend that you spend some time searching through the Work log forum for some ideas. Also, I'd read the FAQs and stickies all over this place as they are invaluable.