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>> Hey folks, Brian Cooley here from the CNET Car Tech Live show, and we get email from you guys every week, it seems, asking, "How can I change the factory audio and navigation system in my car when it's not a normal shape? It's not like those typical single DIN or double DIN units I see down at Best Buy or whatever. How do I make something like that fit?" Two part answer. It starts with what these are, called "dash kits." These are new pieces of your dashboard that are molded to match the way the factory originally made it, but it gives you a more standardized hole to put a single or double DIN unit in there. And then you go buy whichever one you like, and it pops right in. Notice, a lot of these go beyond just being the actual plastic faceplate. A lot of them also integrate factory look-alike controls because is part of the whole same faceplate, right on down to the displays. We hear from folks who have some General Motors cars saying, "Wait a minute. I don't want to lose my driver information center information, which goes on this specialized little display. How do I hang on to that?" So you could look for dash kits that have displays, buttons, just about any part of your OEM set up, except they leave a standardized hole for whatever kind of nav or AV rig you want to put in there, the head units of your choice. Now, you see these can vary a lot from being a simple plastic faceplate to being one that has electronics. Pricing ranges from about 30 to 60 bucks for the ones that aren't just faceplates to $150.00 or $200.00 on the high and for the ones that have got some electronics built in. Now, the other part of this is truly electronic; adapters that allow the electronics to connect. Let's check that out. Now, once you get the radio in the dash, physically, with one of those dash kits, you've got to make it all work. That's where this huge industry of interface adapters has cropped up. Let me show you the three major categories. First of all, everybody wants an iPod in their car, right? This device here will connect to your factory radio and give you a true iPod connector, you know, the real one that gives you control of the playback, searching a play list, charging, and of course, playback of the audio over your factory unit. The next major category is what they call a "radio replacement interface." You see, cars have gotten too smart. When you replace the radio on an extremely modern car, it's gonna start throwing out error codes, and your dealer's going to see that, and they might give you static about your warranty, although they are supposed to, by the way. So these modules here connect to an aftermarket radio that you've put into your factory slot with that dash kit and make the car think oh, okay, everything's cool. The I've still got the proper radio installed, and I'm not gonna throw out in the error codes. The last key one we get a lot of questions about is how do I keep the usage of my steering wheel buttons for the audio system? We've got that here. This is a typical example of the steering wheel control interface. This will go in and connects to your car's data BUS, where the steering wheel ties in and to whenever aftermarket radio you use, any of the major brands, and let the original buttons for volume, media type, track up and down, or tuning still work the way they used to. Now, the pricing on these modules will vary pretty widely by what model car you have and which models that you're talking about. But let's say 50 bucks for some of these on the low side up to maybe $300.00 for some of the more elaborate ones in certain applications, but we're not talking about thousands of dollars in any instance.
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