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Car PC Hacks by Damien Stolarz

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Hack #32. Connect a Car PC to Your Factory Screen

Almost any factory screen can be connected to your in-car computer with the right adapter.

Usually, in the U.S. market at least, auto manufacturers are too cautious to enable DVD features on a dash-mounted monitor, even if the car is not in motion. Thus, one of the most popular aftermarket hacks is to connect DVD players and video games to these screens with a video AUX-input adapter. Some of the vendors listed in "Get Computer Audio into Your Head Unit" [Hack #14] also make adapters for factory screens, but as new vehicles and screen configurations are coming out all the time, it's difficult for the manufacturers of these adapters to keep up.

The factory rear-seat entertainment screens in most vehicles are easier to hook up to play DVDs. There are fewer product-liability concerns with these screens, and because they don't have to integrate with a navigation computer, they use the more conventional composite video signaling and readily connect to DVD players, video games, and car computers.

The navigation and control screen in the front-seat area is designed to work with its own special embedded car computer via an RGB connection. Outside of the U.S., where liability lawsuits are less prevalent, the manufacturer usually includes DVD playback and navigation capabilities, as well as auxiliary input for video game or other devices. In the U.S., there are laws that prohibit most front-seat video except for navigation, and the NAV systems ...

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