Trying the iPod out in the car
I had to fiddle with the settings on my monitor to get it to display the iPod. On my install, I'd buried the buttons inside the bezel and left holes to shove a paperclip through in case I needed to activate them. It took awhile to get it set up right, but I got the iPod to output video to the monitor.
I was pretty underwhelmed. The monitor is an 8" Xenarc with native 800 X 480 resolution. It looks sharp when driven by a VGA signal. Reasonably bright, although not sunlight readable, and good color range.
It has a composite video input for a backup camera. The monitor will automatically switch to the composite input when it detects a signal on that input.
The color was washed out and the text was fuzzy when I displayed it using both ScreenSplitr and TVOut. Not only that, but on the 8" screen it looks like it is stretched vertically.
When I flipped the iPod on its side the image didn't flip like it did on my desktop monitor. Rather than the whole image rolling 90 degrees, it simply displayed sideways so the iPod menu bar was along the right hand side of the monitor. I'm not sure if rolling the image over is a feature or a setting of the Xenarc or my desktop monitor but it wasn't the behavior I expected.
When I played a video out to the screen though, it played full screen and looked NICE! The colors were better and the image didn't have much, if any, noticeable stretching.
All in all, a bit of a disappointment. However, it DOES work and last night I began to fashion a way to connect the iPod onto the dash. I've got a long trip coming up on Thursday, so I'll report back on how it worked then.
First use in the car - trip report
I fashioned a mount for my iPod in the car and used it in conjunction with ScreenSplitr in the car for a 600 mile roundtrip this week.
All in all, the solution works just fine.
- Music sounds great. At least as good or better than the Mac Mini.
- Starting and stopping the car does not cause the iPod to restart
- No crashing or freezing
On the disadvantage side, there are a few problems.
- Controlling the iPod using the touchscreen is very difficult. The iPod interface appears simple and easy to use but requires you to look at it while using it and its small size is bad news for the car. I found using it in the car to be much more difficult than a PC front end. This would be better if you could use a touchscreen or rotary controller to navigate.
- xGPS doesn't display properly when you rotate the iPod sideways. Instead of rolling over, landscape style, you still get a vertical screen and the map turns sideways. You're stuck with just a vertical screen.
- Screen dimming works on the iPod but if you were dumb enough to embed the buttons in the bezel when you fabricated the screen enclosure (that would be me), you can't easily dim the screen when it gets dark.
[No time to finish this. Will post more later]