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Car Stereo Buying Guide

A comprehensive car stereo guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy new car stereos


Getting Started

A good car stereo will be the mainframe or entertainment and navigation in your car. Depending on the features you want, and the money you want to spend, you will be able to narrow down the search. Just what kind of features will you find in a car stereo? Check out below and see the numerous options from Abt Electronics.

Features

Bluetooth Hands-Free Calling
Safety is the number one priority on the road. This is why more and more cars come equipped with Bluetooth technology. If you have an older car and Bluetooth isn't factory installed, you can get a new car stereo with Bluetooth capabilities. Most Bluetooth applications require the purchase of add-on Bluetooth receiver modules, which enable calls to be routed from a connected cell phone through the stereo to the car's speakers. Add-on Bluetooth kits often include an external microphone, which can be attached to the car's dashboard or sun visor. Some systems do come with Bluetooth calling capabilities built in.


GPS Navigation

As this is primarily a guide on car stereos, we won't go into too much detail on the technical details of GPS: those looking for an in-depth analysis of GPS can check out our GPS buying guide. However, navigation does deserve a mention as many double-DIN aftermarket car stereos (and some single-DIN ones) come with navigation as an optional or standard, integrated feature. Most touch screen and LCD in-dash audio/ video players come with navigation as a standard feature or offer it as an option via an add-on GPS module.

HD Radio
HD Radio offers incredible clarity in audio by offering digital boradcasting technology. Stereos with built-in HD receivers work by sorting out the multiple signals and reporduce it all to present the listener the original broadcast. If listening to the radio in ultimate clarity is your number one priority, look for a car stereo featuring HD radio capabilities.


Satellite Radio

Satellite radio, much like cable or satellite TV in your home, offers listeners a wide variety of additional programming. There are hundreds of stations to listen to, all require a subscription that gives you a whole host of entertainment.

Auxiliary-input jacks
The most basic solution for in-car iPod playback is a generic line-in jack and patch cord, which enables drivers to stream music from their players via the stereo to the car's speakers.


Power Rating

Always use the RMS rating (measured in watts) rather than the peak power rating. RMS is an indication of a system's continuous power used for consistent output rather than its maximum capability.

DVD playback
If your stereo has DVD playback, you can listen to movies through the system. If you want video playback, you must make sure you have a monitor or pop-out screen attached to the unit. 

 

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