Did I miss the memo that went around saying that driving would need to become increasingly dangerous in the next decade to make sure we can prune the population and generally make sure that only the fittest and toughest drivers survive? I mean, isn’t it enough distraction that people chat on their little cellphones with one hand while driving, eat, drink, shave, put on makeup and generally do as much as possible to deny that they’re driving a ton of metal at high speed?
According to the consumer electronics industry bible TWICE, in-dash DVD players are one of the hottest segments in the car audio right now. Unlike the kind of entertainment system you see built in to new SUVs and minivans (and I admit, our new Toyota Sienna has a DVD player) these will let the driver also watch whatever movie is playing.
TWICE doesn’t touch on the safety issues or implications, just reporting dryly that:
“Sales of in-dash DVD are on the rise due to falling prices and a broadening selection, said industry members…Although still a small niche compared with CD players, DVD/monitors are a welcome breath of fresh air in a market where CD player sales have declined by 30 percent.
“According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), in-dash DVD/monitor shipments to retailers are up by 60 percent this year through May (single and double DIN), but on a relatively small base of 141,000 units. This compares with year-to-date sales of CD players of 3.2 million units. Price tags on DVD/monitors, however, are a hefty $1,000 for top brand models (compared with low-end CD at under $150), helping to generate $87 million in sales, compared with CD players’ $356 million.”
Being rather curious about this and in denial that these would let the driver watch a movie and are legal to sell in the United States, I dug around a bit…
I searched for the Pioneer AVH-P6800DVD, the one product specifically mentioned in the TWICE article and found that it indeed plays commercial DVDs and even home-made DVDs so you can watch that cute video of your kids playing while driving 80mph on the highway.
Here’s a picture of how Pioneer Electronics envisions this 6-DVD player would be installed in a car, so you can get a sense of what we’re talking about:
Maybe I’m just not plugged into the hip new generation of super-multitasking auto drivers, but I’m just aghast that someday I’ll be sharing the road with drivers who will be more interested in watching something like To Live and Die in LA than in watching the road.
How do you feel about the rise of this auto accessory?