My recent new music kick got me to thinking about just how far car stereos have come in the 14 years that I have legally been allowed to drive. My new (and supposedly "decontented") Jetta has a ridiculous number of audio options (AM/FM/SAT Radio, CD changer, Aux input, iPod connector, Bluetooth and SD Card slot). When I first bought the car, I thought it was totally needless and duplicative to have all of those options and thought that all I needed was the Aux input. Much to my surprise, I actually use almost all of them on a regular basis:
- iPod input (connected in glovebox, controlled through stereo) - I probably use this the most. In older cars, the interface to control the iPod through the stereo was clunky and difficult to use, so I preferred to use an AUX input and just control the music through the iPod, but the touchscreen in the new VWs is extremely well designed and easy to use, so I find myself using this the most.
- Bluetooth - I use it to listen to Pandora and sometimes to listen to music that is on my phone but not on my iPod (typically if I have new music on my phone that I haven't updated yet onto the iPod in my glovebox).
- AM/FM/SAT Radio - I don't really listen to music on the radio at all, but I do like NPR. Satellite radio was nice (I never had it in a car before) because I started listening to BBC News. Recently however, I discovered that BBC News is actually broadcast over FM here, so I decided not to pay for satellite radio once the free trial ended. Once in a blue moon I will also listen to sports games (I'm not much of a sports guy, but I do get into our local college basketball team, so if a game is on and I am in my car, I will usually listen to it).
- CD Changer - I don't own many CDs anymore, but some of the few that I do own somehow managed to find their way into my car. The car usually starts up using whatever audio source it used last, but for the bluetooth, since it takes a couple seconds to establish a connection when you first turn the car on, for some reason it reverts to the CD player on the next start up. So, many times, without really noticing it, I wind up listening to the CDs that are in the changer. The same two CDs (Washed Out and Sea Wolf) have been in the car basically since I bought it, and I have now listened to them all the way though approximately 1,342 times; surprisingly, I am not sick of them yet.
- AUX input - This gets used when my wife is in the car with me and wants to play music that is on her phone.
- SD Card - basically the only input I have not used.
How about you guys, what do you use to listen to music in the car? I am interested to see what the predominant format is.