Hype: Subaru Adds Stitcher App To Its Starlink Infotainment System

Posted on 05.14.15 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


With each passing day traditional radio is starting to suck more and more.  Each station playing the same 5 songs on rotation every 30 minutes.  Its no wonder people are moving to alternatives like satellite radio and streaming apps.  Although sometimes problems arise with those options such as finding a uncluttered way to use streaming services in your car without having to constantly look at your phone to control things.  Subaru is set to make the experience easier by announcing that they will be adding the popular streaming app Stitcher to their “Starlink” infotainment system.

If you haven’t heard of Stitcher, its a pretty popular app that gives users access to on demand news, sports, music, and pod casts in one app.  With the app added to Subaru’s Starlink system users can control the app via the dashboard display and even create custom playlists and get program recommendations.  It sounds pretty slick to me.  Anything that would help me escape the top 40 nightmare is much welcomed!

Press Release:

May 14, 2015


Cherry Hill, N.J. –  Subaru of America, Inc. announced that owners of Subaru models equipped with SUBARU STARLINK™ in-vehicle technology can now enjoy a fully integrated Stitcher experience in their vehicle. Stitcher is the leader in on-demand news, sports, and entertainment audio programming with access to more than 40,000 radio shows, live radio stations and podcasts from sources including CNN, Fox, NPR, CBS, AP, The Wall Street Journal and many more. Stitcher is powered by Deezer, the leading music streaming service with over 16 million users in over 180 countries.

Subaru owners can access Stitcher and control their listening easily and safely via their vehicle’s dashboard display, when connected to an iOS or Android based smartphone with the SUBARU STARLINK app installed. The cloud-based system allows for easy integration of Stitcher services and lets listeners create a playlist of their favorite shows, always up to date with the latest episode, and enjoy personalized recommendations based on their listening habits. SUBARU STARLINK is unique in that new partners can be integrated into the app and customers enjoy the benefits immediately, with no software updates required.

SUBARU STARLINK is the company’s in-vehicle platform that provides hands-free connectivity, entertainment and safety services to vehicle occupants. STARLINK in-vehicle technology puts news, food, weather, music, podcasts, audio books, and other multimedia content into the vehicle and at the occupant’s fingertips.

“We aim to provide the best and most relevant content for our customers and we are excited to add a great partner like Stitcher to SUBARU STARLINK,” said Alan Bethke, vice president of marketing, Subaru of America, Inc. “By downloading the free SUBARU STARLINK app, our customers can seamlessly integrate the capability of a smartphone into the vehicle so that hand-held phones may be safely stowed while driving.”

“People have been listening to radio in their car for almost a hundred years but in that time little has been done to improve upon the content,” said Tyler Goldman, Chief Executive Officer North America, Deezer. “Stitcher is focused on bringing the future of news, entertainment and music to the driving experience and super serving listeners with a personalized lean back experience with car manufacturers like Subaru, which is embracing out-of-the-box thinking.”

The SUBARU STARLINK app delivers many entertainment options by pushing content like iHeartRadio®, calendar, news, and other applications automatically. Premium multimedia content includes audiobooks and applications like iHeartRadio® and Stitcher™. These capabilities are available on 2015 Legacy, 2015 Outback, 2015 Impreza, 2015 XV Crosstrek, and 2015 XV Crosstrek Hybrid models. Various SUBARU STARLINK updates including Sirius XM Connected Vehicle Services and AT&T 4G LTE network capability, for improved connectivity, will be featured in select 2016 Subaru models.

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CES 2014: Garmin Shows Off A HUD (Heads Up Display) Nav Concept Meant To Keep Eyes On The Road

Posted on 01.07.14 | Andrew Beckford No Comments


A few years ago I bought a GPS navigation unit on black Friday.  To this day I still use it, although admittedly the experience isn’t as great as it used to be.  First of all the suction cup mount pretty much disintegrated so I have to place it in a little make-shift cradle on my dashboard.  This means sometimes when I look at it I have to glance down which has lent itself to a few “sketchy” moments while on the road!  Heck, even with the suction cup working and mounted on the windshield sometimes the GPS needed to be adjusted and while nothing horrible happened, its still a distraction from driving.

Garmin is looking to eliminate those situations with their new Heads Up Display (HUD) concept that they are currently showing off at CES 2014 out in Las Vegas.  The Garmin HUD unit will project navigation information as well as other information that can be pulled from a smart phone, on the windshield just below the driver’s line of sight.  The driver can also easily cycle through the information via steering wheel mounted controls which also incorporate a proximity sensor which will “intuitively” change the menu options to match what the driver is doing.  It will also allow for changing of radio stations and other controls all without taking hands off the wheel.

This is definitely a cool concept but for now its just that; a concept.  Hopefully Garmin’s HUD will see production soon but when it does drop, expect it to have a fat price tag.  For a better look at the HUD interface, click the thumbnail below.  You can also read the official press release below as well.


Press Release:

OLATHE, Kan./January 7, 2014/Business Wire — Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation, today announced that it will showcase a range of new infotainment technologies for automakers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014. Designed to minimize distractions behind the wheel, Garmin will present an interactive head-up display (HUD) interface as well as new developments of its K2 infotainment platform to selected industry members and the press in a private meeting room.

“Garmin’s auto OEM group utilizes the company’s extensive experience in user interface and hardware design to address one of the biggest challenges of the auto industry today: developing in-car infotainment that allows drivers to stay connected behind the wheel without diverting their attention from the road,” said Matt Munn, Garmin managing director automotive OEM. “Garmin’s K2 infotainment platform and interactive HUD interface have been developed utilizing an in-house driving simulator that uses cameras to track the driver’s eye movements. The interface design is based on the time and cognitive load required to perform a task with the goal of minimizing driver distraction.”

The interactive HUD concept provides a glimpse at how an automotive HUD interface designed by Garmin can help keep the driver’s hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Balancing functionality with simplicity, the interface includes a passive state and an interactive mode. The passive state presents customizable audio, navigation or communication content just below the driver’s line of sight. A simple and clean interface provides important information quickly and at a glance. The navigation view, for example, can show information such as junction views, lane guidance, speed limit and safety warnings.

The innovative proximity sensor on the steering wheel activates an interactive mode on the HUD that allows users to switch between the different pages. Two steering wheel buttons let users select in-menu options, such as start a route, view traffic information, change a radio station or initiate a phone call. Users can save presets in each menu for quick access while on the road and eyes facing straight ahead. The audio menu, for example, could contain saved radio stations, playlists and songs.

In addition to the new interactive HUD interface, Garmin will showcase new developments of its K2 infotainment platform. This includes production-ready hardware design, new features, and the evolution of K2’s intuitive user interface (UI), utilizing the company’s long-standing experience from its avionics, marine and consumer segments. Garmin’s K2 infotainment turns the car dashboard into a digital cockpit that provides drivers a safe and intuitive way to stay connected and access all the functions they need while on the road. Garmin is committed to safely integrating the content and connectivity that drivers want and far too often are accessing via their smartphone. The new K2 demo at this year’s CES will include the integration of third-party entertainment and navigation-related content.

Garmin will offer individual in-vehicle demonstrations to selected industry members and the press in a private meeting room at the 2014 CES in Las Vegas. In addition to K2 and the HUD concept, Garmin will show other automotive OEM developments, including insights into its driver distraction research and a fully integrated Android infotainment head unit.

Garmin’s broad range of in-vehicle electronics for the automotive industry includes full infotainment and telematics systems, navigation software, location-based services, and integrated portable navigation systems. Garmin has dedicated automotive OEM offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

About Garmin International Inc. Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. (Nasdaq: GRMN), the global leader in satellite navigation. Since 1989, this group of companies has designed, manufactured, marketed and sold navigation, communication and information devices and applications – most of which are enabled by GPS technology. Garmin’s products serve automotive, mobile, wireless, outdoor recreation, marine, aviation, and OEM applications. A component of the S&P 500 index, Garmin Ltd. is incorporated in Switzerland, and its principal subsidiaries are located in the United States, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom at www.garmin.com/pressroom or contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200. Garmin is a registered trademark of Garmin Ltd.

All other brands, product names, company names, trademarks and service marks are the properties of their respective owners. All rights reserved. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.

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Pioneer AVIC-Z120BT GPS Navigation Head Unit

Posted on 05.24.10 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Take a look at Pioneer’s newest head honcho head unit the AVIC-Z120BT.  This GPS Navigation unit has a 7 inch double-din screen, DVD playback, a 3D user interface, and Pandora functionality.  It also connects with your iPod and/or iPhone in more ways than the Karma Sutra.  You can even use Pioneer’s “MusicSphere” app to create “mood based” playlists via your iTunes account.  This is the perfect head unit for Apple fans.

Press Release:

LONG BEACH, CA – (May 24, 2010) – Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. continues to stay ahead of the curve in in-car entertainment and information technologies with the official launch of its top-of-the-line, AVIC-Z120BT in-dash navigation system. The highly sophisticated flagship unit introduced at the 2010 Pioneer Car Electronics Road Show for dealers, brings together the best route guidance features with more entertainment and convenience attributes that include PandoraLink for Pioneer App, MusicSphereTM, Pioneer’s proprietary music analysis software, a revolutionary 3D user interface and ECO Graph for eco-friendly drivers.

“In 1994, Pioneer was the first company to bring in-car GPS to the U.S. market, and today we are continuing to advance the navigation category with the launch of our highly intuitive, flagship AVIC-Z120BT.  Our team of designers and engineers devised this model to not only deliver reliable route guidance and high quality audio and video, but also to enable users to easily adapt their personal devices to their cars.  And, now with its capability to deliver Pandora’s popular Internet music service, Pioneer again redefines the navigation category,” said Ted Cardenas, director of marketing for the car electronics department, sales and marketing division of Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

Navigation and Entertainment from A to Z

The AVIC-Z120BT is the latest entry in Pioneer’s prestigious Z-series navigation systems, offering the best in in-dash navigation with compelling entertainment and sound quality features.  It features an elegant, motorized high-resolution 7-inch WVGA touch screen display, 3D graphics accelerator, onscreen iPod/iPhone control, built-in Bluetooth1 for hands-free calling and wireless music streaming, USB connectivity2, SD card slot located behind the motorized front panel, high quality CD/DVD audio/video playback, back-up camera input and is SIRIUS XM3 satellite and HD Radio4 ready.  The AVIC-Z120BT’s comprehensive map database from Tele Atlas® covers the entire United States, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii, enabling users to route to millions of destinations including more than 12 million points of interest (POIs).  Additionally, the unit features enhanced voice recognition, including the capability to input destination addresses by voice. 

Unique to the 2010 Pioneer navigation line, the AVIC-Z120BT features dual zone entertainment, which enables rear passengers to enjoy DVD video and audio on a separate rear display and headphones, while front passengers listen to AM/FM or XM or SIRIUS satellite radio sources.  Additionally, the unit also features several sound quality components, including SupertunerTM IIID, Radio Data System (RDS), dual A/V inputs, 7-band graphic EQ and 4-Volts preamp outputs (X3).


  • PandoraLink – Pandora internet radio fans using the service on an iPhone now have the same control interface directly on the AVIC-Z120BT.  When users launch the PandoraLink for Pioneer App, Pandora will be displayed as a dedicated source on the AVIC-Z120BT and provide similar functions on its onscreen display such as detailed track information and album art.  In addition to the capability of rating a track with “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” the dedicated user interface provides easy navigation on a large 7-inch touch screen display and allows users to bookmark a song or artist, skip the currently playing track, change stations and select Quickmix playback. 


  • Advanced User Interface – 3D animation utilized in the navigation maps has also been applied to the audio interface providing a completely new in-car experience.  The intuitive touch slide control capabilities of the AVIC-Z120BT feature dynamic shortcuts for source selection, expanded display of album art and improved display of audio track data.  The receptive touch slide interface is also utilized for

– more –

Pioneer Advanced Navigation System pg. 2


searching through music content with a new, improved dual-speed scroll for ABC and List Searches.  The customizable home menu allows users to drag and drop up to 15 function icons into the home page display for easy one-touch access.


  • MusicSphere – Pioneer’s new proprietary MusicSphere5 technology enables iPod and iPhone users to enjoy their library of music in a new way by creating unique, mood-based playlists that can be accessed onscreen with a distinctive 3D animated sphere. MusicSphere analyzes the user’s entire music library and creates 40 specialized playlists based on various musical attributes of the songs, such as feeling (bright, energetic, gloomy, relaxing calm), rhythm pattern, Beats Per Minute (BPM) and year of the song and/or date added to the device. The specialized playlists can be accessed on the navigation display through an animated 3D sphere that can be rotated with a touch of the screen, providing a quick and highly visual method of selecting MusicSphere generated playlists.


Additionally, the MusicSphere software allows users to create a “DJ Playlist” which will create a non-stop mix of the selected music types with the ability to blend between songs using transition effects.


  • ECO Driving – The system also features the second generation ECO Driving function which provides driving status reports as well as the driver’s impact on the environment with visual graphics onscreen.  Through Pioneer’s proprietary AVIC FEEDS®6 PC software7, the unit can estimate the fuel cost of trip as well as the vehicle’s CO2 emissions through detailed Drive Reports.  Through a proprietary fuel consumption algorithm, AVIC FEEDS can also log and archive driving data and analyze driving habits to generate various reports with suggestions to improve fuel efficiency.  The ECO Graph shown on the navigation unit visually represents the user’s environmental impact, illustrated in 2D, 3D and divided map views.  Additionally, when a route is set the system will calculate a Drive Score based on driving efficiency which factors abrupt stops, accelerations and idle time. 

The AVIC-Z120BT can be fully integrated into a large number of vehicles with a 2-DIN dash opening, and can match any vehicle’s dash lighting with its more than 30,000 customizable illumination colors. 

The AVIC-Z120BT will be available in June for a suggested retail price of $1,599. 

Pioneer’s Car Electronics Department is known for offering the kind of in-car products that make driving more enjoyable by offering high quality audio and video, seamless connectivity and ease-of-use.  Its focus is on the development of new digital technologies including audio video, navigation and satellite radio, while maintaining its strong heritage in products for car audio enthusiasts and sound competitors.

NOTE:  Do not use your Pioneer system if doing so will divert your attention in any way from the safe operation of your vehicle. Always observe safe driving rules. In some states certain operations of devices while driving may be illegal. Where such regulations apply, they must be obeyed.

1Bluetooth functionality requires a compatible Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone. Certain Bluetooth features may not be supported by all compatible Bluetooth-enabled devices, and/or the functionality of such features may be limited in certain devices or by certain wireless carriers. See more details about compatible Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones at the following webpage: “http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/BluetoothCompatibility“.

2Not every USB device is compatible with a Pioneer head unit containing an USB port. See more details at the following webpage: “http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/USBCompatibility“. Pioneer head units containing a USB port are compatible with USB MSC (Mass Storage Class) devices only, and are not compatible with DRM (Digital Rights Management) contents and MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) connection devices. For size and other limitations, please see Owner’s Manual. Unauthorized copying of music or other files is strictly prohibited. Optional USB extension cable is available for use with front USB ports.

3SIRIUS XM satellite radio is a subscription service not affiliated with Pioneer Electronics – service is available everywhere within the continental U.S. More information is available at “http://www.siriusxm.com“. The “XM” and “SIRIUS” and related marks are trademarks of SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. Ability of the Pioneer system to access the SIRIUS and/or XM satellite radio service is subject to change without notice and could be affected by any of the following (but not limited to the following): changes to the SIRIUS XM radio service; or, discontinuation of the SIRIUS XM radio service.

4HD Radio and the HD Radio logo are proprietary trademarks of iBiquity Digital Corp.

5PC systems requirements for MusicSphere software includes:

        OS – Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows7

Windows Hardware

A PC with a 1GHz Intel or faster processor

512MB of RAM or greater

Screen resolution of 1024×768 or greater

Broadband Internet connection to use MusicSphere data download


Windows Software

Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, 32-bit editions of Windows Vista, or 32-bit editions of Windows 7

64-bit editions of Windows Vista or Windows 7 doesn’t support

iTunes 9.0.3 or later

QuickTime 7.6.4 or later

Internet Explorer 7 or later

300MB of available disk space

6Functionality available via AVIC-Feeds varies by AVIC model.

7PC systems requirements for AVIC-FEEDS software includes:

OS – Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition / Professional (Service Pack 2 or later), Microsoft Windows Vista, Only supported by 32 bit version. (Not compatible with Mac OS)

CPU – Pentium III 500MHz or higher (Recommended: Pentium III 1.0GHz or higher)

Memory -256MB or more (Recommended: 512MB or more)

Hard Disk – 100MB or more of available hard disk space

Display – Display capability of 1024 x 768 resolution, 16-bit color (65536 colors) or higher

Other – Internet Explorer 6.0 or later preinstalled, USB/SD Card-accessible interface, Google Maps-capable internet environment


PIONEER, Supertuner, MusicSphere and AVIC FEEDS are registered trademarks of Pioneer Corporation.

BLUETOOTH is a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc.

IPOD, IPOD TOUCH, IPHONE and iTUNES are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.

TELE ATLAS is a registered trademark of Tele Atlas North America, Inc.


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Pioneer TS-W8102SPL

Posted on 08.20.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

Say hello to the king of thump!  The Pioneer TS-W8102SPLis the crown jewel of the SPL Championship Series.  This thing is 8000 watts of carbon fiber coned mega bump power.  This is for the people looking for the end all be all of subwoofers with no regard for anyone else’s definition of “noise pollution.”  One day when I have my ultimate luxury bomb-proof SUV I am going to install 4 of these things.  Keep in mind that championship level stuff isn’t cheap.  One of these bad boys will set you back about $1,500!

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Pioneer AVIC-F90BT In-Dash GPS Navigation Reciever

Posted on 06.10.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

A lot of newer cars come standard with an in-dash GPS these days.  This can be good and bad depending on who makes the car.  However if your car didn’t come with one stock be glad you have a variety of units to choose from!  Pioneer’s AVIC-F90BTis a pretty slick choice if you’re looking for a little bit of everything.  It plays DVDs, has bluetooth, a port to hardwire your ipod, voice command, and of course turn by turn navigation.

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Alpine Type S SWS-1043D 10″ Subwoofer

Posted on 01.15.09 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

I know I keep saying this but I don’t post enough about car audio stuff.  A lot of people will tell you that one of the best car audio brands is Alpine.  Although things like that could be debatable it is a fact that Alpine is on the top shelf.  However just because they’re high end doesn’t mean the products are super pricy.  This Type S 10 inch sub runs for only $150 bucks and it still has lots of bump. 

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Pioneer AVH-P7800DVD

Posted on 12.09.08 | Andrew Beckford No Comments

I dig performance but I’m a pretty big advocate of comfort and livability as well.  Part of that is a decent helping of I.C.E. With Blu-Ray taking over in the living room all your DVD’s need a place to go.  Why not the car?  The Pioneer AVH_P7800DVD is a nice choice if you’re in the market for a in-dash player.  It has a nice wide 7 inch screen and supports all the major formats.  It’s also satalite radio ready if you want to get rid of the old school antenna.

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