In-car entertainment got its fair share of buzz at this year's Consumer Electronics Show and some of the systems will make it hard for you to leave the driving seat.
Consumers with big bucks to spend later this year will have an array of hi-tech options on offer including MP3 players, recordable CDs and even DVD movie and gaming consoles with monitors built into the back of seats in the same way as aircraft.
You will even be able to get your favourite radio station anywhere via satellite, not to mention in-car computerised mapping and road information systems.
Panasonic and Pioneer are demonstrating DVD players for cars at the show. Pioneer's AVMP-900R changer, due to go on sale this summer, can handle six DVD disks for those extra-long journeys. A price has yet to be set.
Technophobes will be drawn to Visteon's second generation computer built into the dashboard running Microsoft's mobile computing operating system. It can operate the vehicle's hi-fi system or check navigation routes by voice commands.
In-car MP3 systems were being touted by manufacturers such as Aiwa, Clarion and Rockford Fosgate while Multichannel Labs went a step further and introduced an in-car MP3 CD player that can play conventional CDs as well as MP3 CDs.
The system offers 12 hours of continuous playback of more than 150 MP3 tracks, and a bookmark function makes it easy to search for your favourite tracks on the move.
It isn't only in-car entertainment that is grabbing the consumers' imagination at CES. For the first time ever a car maker is teaming up with a hi-tech company to create a limited edition car. Ford has confirmed it is working with Sony to produce a small Ford Focus vehicle and according to sources is in discussions to put Playstations in other models.
Ford is also believed to be talking to Yahoo to advertise its cars through the portal.Rival General Motors is also widely rumoured at CES to be on the verge of announcing an agreement with AOL to link car-sales websites to AOL. It is also thought that AOL could be planning to add its content to CM?s Onstar communications system.
Forrester Research estimates that the number of car purchases influenced by information gleaned on the Internet will quadruple to eight million by 2003.
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