Bluetooth On The road

Integrating Bluetooth technology into your vehicle allows for the wireless communication (data transfer) between two devices by utilizing short wavelength UHF radio bands. Generally it's used to communicate from your wireless phone to either a stand-alone bluetooth device or an in-dash receiver equipped with Bluetooth. This allows for safe (and legal if you're a trucker in some states) hands-free phone calls when driving, providing your cell phone is Bluetooth compatible).

If you make or receive a phone call, your voice is picked up through a microphone when you talk. The conversation is then played through your car system’s speakers or through a speaker in a stand-alone device. Most Bluetooth receiver’s displays can show text based information that would normally occur on your phone. In-dash stereos with touch screens can also allow you to access your contact list from your phone to make calls.


Nowadays, streaming music is the biggest reason a lot of our customers want car stereos equipped with Bluetooth. Streaming provides the easiest way to use you iPod/iPhone/Android in your car. No hook-up cables are necessary, you just get in your ride and the in-dash senses your iPhone or Android is there. Many of the Bluetooth receivers we sell are designed to work with popular music streaming apps like Pandora, iHeart Radio and Spotify. You can stream music content from your phone right through your stereo too.


If not equipped originally with Bluetooth, many receivers we carry have optional add-on modules available. We also carry add-on Bluetooth solutions for factory radios. Some manufacture’s in-dash units will work better with iPhones and iPods than others – Different screen sizes and resolutions will naturally play a role in the display and ease of use of device functions. The same is the case with controls and their options. Ask your Car-fi assistant to demo these functions and walk you through the differences.

Take it with you – Smartphone, iPod and Media Player Integration


Adding iPod, iPhone or Android smartphone compatibility to your vehicle’s audio system can be made with the simple addition of either vehicle or stereo specific adapters. Increasingly, aftermarket stereos incorporate iPod, iPhone or Android controls within, so anything more than an USB connection cable for basic audio control isn’t necessary. On the other hand, some systems require a car ipod adapter or car iphone adapter to access the more advanced features of your in-dash unit. Some vehicles require these in order to connect your iPod or Android smartphone in any fashion.


There are several methods to connect your devices:


Auxiliary Input – Many aftermarket and newr factory stereos will have an Auxiliary (AUX) input on them so you plug an audio source into them. Basically, you can take anything with a headphone jack and send the sound from it into the stereo to play it back through the speakers. Auxiliary inputs will work for iPods, iPhones or MP3 players. Sound quality is good, but all control is done from the devices, making it difficult and even unsafe to do while driving.


USB connection — In-Dashes that have USB inputs and iPod controls usually just need a standard iPod cable for basic audio functions. Sound quality is also good in this application. USB inputs are commonly found on most current aftermarket units and also in most new vehicles. Most often you can use the cable that came with your iPod to connect and control it from the stereo.

iPod adapter cables — Some in-dash units, often the ones with video capability, require a special adapter cable in order to get complete iPod integration. You might be able to get basic control of the iPod with the regular iPod cable, but in order to display video, see song titles and menus on the in-dash’s display, or to use music apps like Pandora or XM radio; you’ll need a special adapter.


Factory Stereo iPod adapters — For best results, there are vehicle-specific adapter units that connect to the back of the factory in-dash unit through an existing input or port (such as one used to add on a factory changer or satellite radio). This provides a USB connection or iPod connector specifically for your iPod.

Not all factory stereos have the connection built in to use vehicle-specific adapters. For these applications, an adapter that transmits to an FM frequency has to be used. Fidelity-wise, these don’t sound as good as direct connection interfaces can, but they provide a way to listen to your iPod. When in use, the factory stereo is tuned to a particular frequency and the audio is reproduced through the system like an FM broadcast. These can either be connected directly in-line with the vehicle’s antenna (best results) or actually transmitted through the air and received like a radio station.

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