Everybody wants some form of entertainment in the car, and having a car stereo just does it. However, the stereo receivers we have nowadays have much more to offer than simply being able to play music. Whether you are buying one to replace your old deck or just to add some entertainment on your ride, here are some things that you can look for in a car stereo receiver.
Car Stereo Features
It all comes down to what the receiver has to offer. The old ones can play audio CDs, cassette tapes and radio stations but there are more forms of media supported by the latest car stereos. MP3 and WMA files are also now supported. You just insert a disk with these files and most receivers can read and play the content. Even other multimedia formats are now supported such as JPEG for photos and AVI or DVD files for videos. Many portable and mass storage devices such as MP3 players and iPods are also now compatible with car stereos, thanks to the USB ports that are now available. One plug and your music library suddenly expands it can last you days, even weeks, to finish your entire playlist.
With the latest car stereo decks, AM/FM radios are a thing of the past. The latest receivers now offer satellite and high-definition radio. These two are an upgrade to the traditional analog radio signals we used to listen to. Satellite radio is a subscription service just like a cable television where you can choose from a wide range of radio programming of individual music genres, news, sports and talk shows. All of these are free of commercials so it is also like a huge music library. HD radio is a new technology that transmits digital sound instead of analog so there are no more static or bad reception problems. This also gives a huge improvement to the quality of the sound transmitted by the radio station, whether FM or AM station.
With HD radio on enabled decks, there is also another neat feature called iTunes tagging. Digital sounds are not the only things transmitted by HD radio but other information as well such as song data including artist and song title. When you press the tag button on the receiver, the song data gets saved in the memory and when you later plug in your iPod, the information is transferred. When you sync the iPod with your computer, you can buy the song through iTunes then you will be able to download the song. This is very useful when you hear something that you like but do not know the title or artist. You will no longer have to search the Internet for some lines from the lyrics that you barely remember. How about if it is in an instrumental piece?
The latest car stereo decks are also concerned about the skyrocketing car accidents due to cell phone use while driving. You can now use your cell phones hands free via Bluetooth technology with just a press on your stereo. It also automatically stops anything that is playing such as the radio or your portable music player. On the little screen, the number of the person calling you will appear so you can decide whether you want to take the call or not.
To make it even more impressive, especially for anyone riding with you, some car stereo receivers also have remote control using infrared technology. Persons in the backseat can also control what is playing on the stereo without having to reach all the way to the front.
Of course, you want your car stereo to be user-friendly as well. When you buy a new receiver, look for something that has a neat graphical user interface and organized, labeled buttons and knobs so you know what you are doing. Let us face it, we are not really fond of reading user manuals that much. Having one look and understanding the layout and set up of the stereo is important for you to maximize its use.
Great sound is the most important aspect of the stereo since it is what you meant to have in the first place. Some stereo receivers now have technology to reverse the compression of audio files for a better sound. Built-in amplifiers are also improved and equalizer presets and adjustability enables you to control the output of the sound.
Car Stereo Pricing
About half of your decision to buy a car stereo deck is probably influenced by the price of the receiver. When you weigh the price and the features and see that you get your bang for a buck, you will definitely buy it. Car stereo decks are priced differently depending on the manufacturer and the features included in it. Normally, the more features there are, the more expensive it gets, although some would throw in some features for free. Wouldn’t you like to control your gate, garage door or even your front yard lights with your stereo as well? For the basic features, the price of car stereo receivers can be as low as $300. More sophisticated and feature-rich ones can go up to $1,000.
A Tip Before Buying your new Car Stereo
You cannot base your decision to buy a car stereo solely on what the salesman has told you. Yes, the product may indeed have all the features mentioned but will it last long? How is their customer service for technical support? These and other things can only be learned from others who bought it. Scout the Internet for reviews and feedbacks and if it is majorly positive, then by all means, get yourself that new car stereo deck.