In-Car HDTV Entertainment -Truck Tronics

HDTV Coming To A Vehicle Near You

Natasha ThorsonDec 1, 2007
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Picture Color
The image quality of HD monitors should deliver the widest range of contrast between dark and light areas with slight transitions to bring all the details to life. The picture quality of high definition LCDs should allow one to view the textures of objects, while the materials should appear natural. The dark range in your monitor should be able to reach a deep black to add richness and depth to an image. In fact, a monitor with good black-level performance should be able to distinguish details in deep blacks along with an excellent shadow detail. The range of colors should be rich without overwhelming the picture. People should appear natural, not have red or blotchy skin tones. An HDTV should be able to display realistic textures, bringing the impressive picture alive.
Home Versus Automotive
While Icon-TV has added a protective layer to its HD screens, it should not effect the resolution and brightness of the monitor. The in-vehicle TFT LCD displays produce an output, which is almost twice the brightness of equivalent home panels. This was accomplished by using "back lights" that are twice as powerful for better view-ability in the brighter, sunlit vehicle environment. The black level suffers slightly around 5-percent. However, in order to view the display during the day in the vehicle, it is worth the small loss for a nearly 100-percent gain in overall light output from the panel.
High-Def Sources
In order to take full advantage of high-definition screens, you need high-definition devices such as Play Station 3, which is BluRay compatible; an Xbox 360, which uses HD DVDs, or DVD player. Satellite TV with an HD tuner is not currently available, unless you are willing to mount up one of the RV satellite antennas that measure nearly 12 inches high and 28 inches in diameter. In addition to the antenna, which is twice as tall as the vehicle antenna, you must have a satellite HDTV receiver, and HDTV Tri-Sat AutoSwitch.
Icon-TV will be offering HD DVD players for vehicle use ranging in price from $1,999 to $2,999. If you do not want to shell out the steep price tag, you can use an in-car PC or an HD DVD player, BluRay player, or a game console not designed for the vehicle. However, this means also purchasing an inverter to convert the vehicle's power signal from 12 volts DC to a usable 110 volts AC.
One other item to consider-since initial resolution will be limited to 720p, HD sources must have a composite output to display high-def video. Also, Icon-TV will have digital TV tuners as an available option to allow you to watch television, but you will not be able to watch HD programming.
What will we see down the road? We hope mobile HDTV technology will become mainstream, and HD monitors will be offered in a variety of sizes, through several brands, with components like high-definition mobile DVD players supporting these systems. With the home HDTV market still developing rapidly, it's almost certain that the mobile side will try to take advantage of these technological advancements and apply them to the vehicle environment, so we don't have to be without the high-def video we've become accustomed. Our fingers are crossed that the likes of Icon-TV and others will adhere to the future sooner than later. We can't wait until the high definition in-truck experience is here!
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