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iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, Fourth 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.

    The AirPort Express (top) plugs into a wall outlet and has jacks on the bottom to connect an Ethernet cable, a stereo cable, and even a USB printer cable, so you can beam your documents to a connected printer. Once the AirPort Express is connected, select its name in the iTunes pop-up menu (bottom) to stream music from your Mac or PC to the connected stereo or speakers.

    Figure 10-4. The AirPort Express (top) plugs into a wall outlet and has jacks on the bottom to connect an Ethernet cable, a stereo cable, and even a USB printer cable, so you can beam your documents to a connected printer. Once the AirPort Express is connected, select its name in the iTunes pop-up menu (bottom) to stream music from your Mac or PC to the connected stereo or speakers.

  • 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 ...

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