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iPod and iTunes: The Missing Manual, Third Edition by J.D. Biersdorfer

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Connecting the iPod to a Car Stereo

Since the glorious days of crackly AM radio, music and driving have gone hand in hand. These days, a stereo system with AM/FM radio and a cassette deck is the bare minimum for most cars, and late-model vehicles now cruise around with all sorts of high-end equipment tucked inside, from MP3–compatible CD players to satellite radio. (Whether the music you can play on them has improved over the years is the subject of debate.)

If having your playlists with you is your idea of paradise by the dashboard light, there are several inexpensive ways to get your iPod nestled right in with your car’s stereo system.

You have to consider two factors when taking the iPod along to play in the car:

  • How to wire it to your existing auto audio system. You have your pick of using either a cable or wireless connection.

  • How to power it. Of course, your iPod can run fine on its battery for short trips. If you’re retracing historic Route 66 or barreling down I-95 from Maine to Miami, however, you’ll probably want to invest in an adapter that can power your iPod from the car’s electrical system.

The Wireless Way

Gadgets that transmit a personal signal over an existing FM frequency have been around for decades. Today, you can hook up an FM transmitter that connects to an MP3 player’s headphone port and broadcasts its sound through an unoccupied FM channel on the car radio—and out through the speakers.

This method offers several advantages. For one thing, you don’t have to deal ...

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