A quick guide for beginners to the common abbreviations associated with car monitors or auto electronics entertainment systems.
The so called car DVD monitor system has gained incredible popularity mainly due to enthusiasts of “car modding” or “suped cars” – so as you might expect with anything that combines hobbyist enthusiasts with cool gadgets, there’s a fair bit of jargon to sort through especially if you are a car audio monitor newbie.
* Changer – a CD changer; a device which holds several CDs and plays them on demand without having to eject or manually sort discs. Needless to say you can now get DVD changers too.
* Crossover – a device that limits the range of frequencies sent to different speakers.
* DIN – it basically stands for “Deutsches Institutar Normung” (DIN, the German Institute for Standardization), similar to ISO. The relevance for car DVD systems is that DIN means a standard sized dashboard slot, so 1 DIN means the device takes up one slot, and 2 DIN means the unit is ‘double-decker’ and uses the space of two slots.
Examples of a 1 DIN and 2 DIN Car Monitors
* DTS – “Digital Theater Systems” multichannel audio – simply another surround-sound standard like Dolby Digital 5.1 – Pretty pointless in your car but it’s another thing to show-off.
* DVD-A – DVD audio – Similar to a music CD with the exception of more features and higher quality.
* RF – Radio Frequency – Refers to things such as wireless headphones. RF is generally better than Infra Red because you do not have to be in the clear unobstructed transmission or line of sight wireless transmitter.
* Inverter – A power supply device that you can plug into your car dashboard cigarette lighter to supply AC to energy-demanding devices.
* In-dash – A device such as a in car DVD player installed in your dashboard, usually in the same slot of your old car radio.
* GPS – Global Positioning System – this essentially means navigation / map display software linking to a signal receiver and a readout on your car monitor or screen.
* GUI – Graphical User Interface – ie: you can control the device using on-screen menus, often with a touch screen monitor.
* Headliner – The coverings that make up the ceiling / roof inside your car.
* Modulator – A FM transmitter that turns an audio input source, for example an MP3 player or audio line-in, into a radio signal for you to tune into using your car stereo.
* Monitor – A display screen that receives a signal from a car DVD player or car TV tuner – if a product is described as simply a “Monitor” it typically means it does NOT include the actual player such as a car DVD player unit. This is fine if you are buying each unit separately or you are building a full in-car entertainment system piece by piece.
* Motorized – Where the TFT LCD screen of the display, usually in a car in dash unit, neatly folds and slides inside its housing when it is not in use.
Motorized 1 DIN Touch Screen Car Monitor ~ Open & Closed
* Power port – A “powerful” name for the little dashboard cigarette lighter socket
* RCA – A red and white (for audio) and yellow (for video) connector used for connecting your car DVD player to your car monitor or your home media center to your widescreen TV.
* RDS – Radio Display (Data) System – The cool function with the ability for your car radio to display detailed data such as the name of the station or the track name from FM radio signals.
* Receiver – The device that “transmits” your video signal to a screen such as a car DVD player. Confusing? Yeah, we know.
* S-Video – Is a high quality cable for analog video signals that carries the video data as two separate signals, both brightness and color.
* Sub – Commonly known as a subwoofer. Refers to either a driver or a complete loudspeaker dedicated to the reproduction of bass audio frequencies, typically from 150 Hz down to 20 Hz.
* Toslink – A standardized optical fiber connection system. Its most common use is in consumer audio equipment where it carries a digital audio stream between components such as MiniDisc and CD players and DAT recorders.
* Versatile – a vague term that generally just means “feature rich”, e.g. a car DVD player that also has a built-in radio and connects with external storage devices.