As the number of cars with built-in 3.5mm Aux Audio jacks increases, one has to wonder whether those fancy in-car systems are really needed? Here you can see how I added HD Radio, and Remote control support with either a Zune HD AV Dock or Zune HD Sync Dock (which is cheaper but doesn’t include an HDMI cable). The MINI Cooper S has a built-in USB port and despite the scary warnings from the manufacturer (BMW) regarding unapproved USB devices, it worked perfectly to provide power and charging while the car was on. Even if you don’t have a USB plug, there are a number of affordable solutions in-market.
The only thing I didn’t do was permanently mount the dock. Either way, the AV dock is just the right size to mount to a cupholder/organizer/insert, something I intend to add later. FM reception may vary as well depending on where you put the FM/HD Radio antenna – (the smurf-blue item you see in the still shot above was used to tuck the FM antenna under the carpet).
My only real complaint is needing to control the top-level UI via touch instead of completely from the remote. This is because the AV dock is designed to be driven from a TV via the HDMI port. I didn’t have a sync dock to determine if this is also the case I’m following up with the Zune team to see if this could be a user-option in the future.
(Shot on a Canon HV20 HDV Camera w/ Wide Angle lens, edited in Windows Live Movie Maker on Windows 7 RTM) Dust courtesy summer in Seattle, WA.)