Introduction: Car Podcast Downloader and Player

I'm tired of listening to  the radio in the car...
The lousy music, the endless commercials... Instead, I like to listen to podcasts on the drive to work.

Nobody makes the car stereo that I want
I have not found a car stereo designed for handling podcasts.The closest thing that I have found is a car stereo that plays MP3 files from a USB thumb drive. It works, but it's not ideal for podcasts.  If you have more than a few podcasts it is difficult to navigate through the list - and it doesn't keep track of podcasts that you have already listened to. Then there is the matter of manually deleting MP3 files from the thumb drive and adding new files when the new podcast is available.

The "A Hah" moment
Why not have the car stereo download podcasts when its sitting in my garage! The car is easily within WiFi range of my router. It should check for and download the latest podcasts at night. Then I wouldn't have to do all the running around.

Why don't car stereo manufacturers make something like this...
When I look at car stereos in stores or on the web they are obviously appealing to a younger audience with useless and even annoying blinking light shows on the display.  I want a big display with useful information and simple buttons that allow operation one handed - without taking your eyes off the road. I don't want an overkill design with an Android like interface - simple is better.

My Design
My podcast downloader/player would not replace the car stereo, but would connect to the existing car stereo's audio input port. I'll leave the radio design and CD player hardware to the pros. This ad-on would be a relatively simple bit of hardware. The recently released Raspberry Pi would have more than enough CPU and memory. Just add on enough SD memory, and a WiFi adapter, some buttons and an appropriate backlit LCD screen, and of course the software to run it all. I'm definitely thinking C++.



Configuration
The only configuration from the car would be the WiFi access point and password.
Selecting desired podcasts could be done from a web browser. Once selected, the rest is automatic.
The device wakes up briefly at night, downloads new podcasts. In the morning it's ready to go.

Goals
I would like to develop the device and give it a professional look with a custom case that would look attractive in a car - something like the mock-up shown in the video. I'll have to find a fabrication house that can take this on. If  there is sufficient interest, I would like to sell them online.


Comments

chuckegg (author)2015-04-15

You're essentially looking for TIVO for your car. This device doesn't have the big screen, but some car audio players can at least display the USB track and keep your place in it when your car is turned off. Have a look at the cloud-syncing smart-USB dongle for the car from Automatica: https://automaticaweb.com/

BrianH (author)chuckegg2015-05-28

Very interesting device - it looks like it might do most of what I want. It would plug into my current stereo's USB port, and I would see the new content appear after it re-syncs when in wifi range. One concern is that my stereo might get confused when it sees new content, and might 'forget' where it was playing in the most recent podcast (it's not very smart in that respect). The web site you linked to made mention of a 'last played' directory, but my stereo does not allow selection of directory, it just plays through the entire drive as if it was 'flattened'.

I like that it can delete podcasts that I've listened to since too many files on the device makes for difficulty in finding what I want.

entrepreneur7 (author)2013-07-07

I thought about doing this as well and figured an old iPod touch with wifi syncing enabled would work. Then all you need is a receiver that has a USB input so the ipod is constantly charging when in the car, and can feed the podcast info through it to the receiver.

akcook (author)2012-11-26

I wanted this exact same idea for my car. Ideally it would sync with itunes after I get home and open my computer, that way my iPhone, car and computer are up to date with current position on each podcast. If I could, I would replace my car stereo with an iPad.

Lighthouse (author)2012-08-28

great description of a device that LOTS of consumers would want. I want one. Hopefully, the right persons will see this and start a project that results in the perfect car stereo player.

pepehdez (author)2012-08-27

I'll love to have one, I think a Raspberry Pi will be perfect for this project.

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