Apple TV + iPhone = Ultimate geeky car audio system

by editor @ on August 30, 2008

If you ever wanted to prove your geek-cred to your friends what could be better than using your iPhone as a graphical remote for your car stereo.

Nels Johnson has done exactly that, and has posted the details for how to do it yourself at his site

We’d point out that you should probably have someone else controlling the tunes, whilst you pay attention to the road!

  • rjhd3

    This is sweet….

    My question:
    * Wouldn’t it be possible to have the AppleTV sync when in range of the home wifi network so all your latest music was automatically brought over to the device (and thus your car)?

    The hard part to me is figuring out how to safely power up the Apple TV in the car for a while (call it an hour) and then safely shut it down on a regular basis. For example I’d want the system to turn on, run a sync and then shut itself off at a specific time (say 3am) every night.

    The brute force method would be to stick the Apple TV plugin into a timer device; but I imagine hard-crashes by severing power on a nightly basis wouldn’t be all that good for the device.

  • Sorry for the delay – didn’t know how soon appletvhacks would publish this.

    30 gigs of my favorite music has been enough so far so I’ve put off this issue but still need to address it. Plus I live in an apartment building with underground parking so my home wifi signal is not reliable down there.

    Working solution is to make the AppleTV unit as modular as possible. Unplug it from the inverter and the Airport Express, put it next to the Mac (running iTunes), re-synch, re-plug in the trunk, all on a weekly basis. Doable, but labor intensive.

    If only the USB port on the ATV would support an external drive (or a 128-gig memory stick with an iTunes library)…

  • Jason Belec

    rjhd3 : Totally doable. Several small devices exist that can be turned on/off remotely or on a timer. I would suggest the timer. Or you could simply set a script on power up/shutdown of the car to sync if possible, sorta like a turbo timer for some street machines. You don’t need anything that elaborate.

    A current solution I enjoy is running the ATV on a secondary smaller/lighter battery (also augmented by solar) so as not to drain your main car battery.

    If you have a hybrid (electric) car, this starts to get really interesting.

    You could also use your ‘jailbroken’ iPhone to control all this…

  • Larry

    I don’t want to be a hater or anything, but you can accomplish the same thing by… wait for it… buying an iPod Touch and plugging it directly into your system. Plus you get the bonus of being able to take it with you. It’s even quicker and not “dirty” at all.

  • Angel

    i must agree Larry. while its a cool idea. its cheaper and less hassle to just hookup an ipod to your car. in addition you lose the video functionality of the apple tv and the usb printer capabilty of the airport base. plus how about when you want to add new music? are you going to rip it all out of you car to add those 3 songs you bought the day before to your apple tv.

    apple tv 30 gig=$229
    apple base= $99
    time messing with it to make it work= ???


    Buy new 120 gig ipod classic $250 that…. BEHOLD!, its completely portable

  • DKLA

    But what if you want to control some video in your car? Might be a good idea if you have a video screen (in the back of your minivan of course…).

  • FYI, for the folks that suggest just using an IPOD Touch.

    The key advantage to using the apple TV in a car for audio is the hardware ditigal to anolog converter that exist in the Apple TV. The DAC is a more robust and the CPU in the APPLE TV is superior.

    Using an ipod results in the internal ipod dac being used which is an inferior DAC compared to whats in the Apple TV.

    The DAC chip in the apply TV is hardware capable of [email protected] whereas the IPOD internal dac is a 16 bit one operating at 44.1 khz.

    The internal ipod dac runs the anolog thru the headphone jack which results in a pretty marginal signal to run into an amplifier.

    This would be of interest for folks with upscale car audio systems and not so much the folks who have oem audios systems.

  • QuarterSwede

    Who cares about the DAC when you can’t tell the difference because of road noise? Seriously. It’s hard enough for me to tell the difference between my Pioneer playing a CD and my iPhone hooked up to it via dock connector. I’m missing maybe a few dB. I can tell if the car is off but as soon as I’m driving it really doesn’t matter because they sound the same.

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  • Bob Parish

    Apple needs replace the Toslink digital output by a COAXIAL for stereo high quality AIFF files.
    A bigger HD, maybe the newest WD 1TB scorpio blue, will transform the ATV in the best audio player, and with a iPhone/iTouch, nobody needs a TV/Monitor for listen to the music.
    About video, mkv 1080p support is enough.

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