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In-Car Entertainment Systems

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 26 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
In-car Entertainment Systems

In-car entertainment systems can be a godsend when it comes to keeping passengers (especially children) occupied during a car journey. As with all driving gadgets though, there are some safety issues that you need to be aware of being having one fitted in your car.

What is an In-Car Entertainment System?

The types of in-car entertainment systems that are available at the moment differ from car to car. For example, Toyota cars now offer in-car systems that allow passengers to play DVDs and computer games. As with almost all in-car entertainment systems, they feature two small screens fitted to the back of the front headrests, meaning that only back seat passengers can use them. In some cases, these can operate independently, with one screen showing a DVD, while the other is being used for a computer game or for showing a different DVD. Some in-car entertainment systems can also play tracks from MP3 and MP4 players and iPods.

How Much Do In-Car Entertainment Systems Cost?

You can expect to pay several hundred (as the bare minimum) for an in-car entertainment system. For the more sophisticated and hi-tech systems, this can rise into the thousands. Much will depend on the kind of in-car entertainment system that you want to have. An in-car DVD player will work out a lot cheaper than a system that also allows computer games to be played.

As with most things, shopping around to find the best deal is always a good idea. The first in-car entertainment system that you come across might seem like a great deal, but you will kick yourself if you later find a more sophisticated system (or one that is better suited to your personal needs) for the same price, or less. Be aware that you will usually have to pay a fitting fee on top of the price of the entertainment system.

Safety Considerations

They may be being used behind you (and out of your sight), but in-car entertainment systems can still be rather distracting for drivers. Thankfully, most in-car entertainment systems have headphones, so passengers can be entertained with the minimum of distraction to the driver. However, there is still the potential for the driver to be accidentally bumped or jolted, particularly during a frantic computer game is being played. To minimise the chances of this, make sure that the computer games on offer are relatively sedate and unlikely to inadvertently pose problems.

Some in-car entertainment systems fold down from the roof to let the driver watch television, but safety features do not allow them to work whilst the car is in motion.

For keeping passengers out of mischief, many stressed out parents consider in-car entertainment systems to be worth the expense. They usually come with headphones, so they shouldn't pose many problems for the driver, although it can be distracting if passengers are making quick movements in the back seat whilst playing computer games. Because of this, it's a good idea to only allow them to play computer games that don't require much (if any) full body movement.

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