Friday, August 21, 2009

Radios and classic cars

Listening to music in an oldtimer car is not on top of people's wish list. However if there is a radio in an old car, it better be correct for the period. This is what most "connaisseurs" would say. Radios have developed quite a bit since the 60ies or 70ies. We have seen various stages of development: From being purely mechanical, to being computer controlled and supported sophisticated radio systems, to computers that also replay music in modern cars. Besides radio wave based music, we have seen the eight track cassettes coming in the 60ies, the compact cassettes in the 70ies, the compact disk in the 80ies and finally digital MP3 formatted storage devices and USB sticks in the late 90ies and the current century. Sound quality improved, assistance systems made the radio look for the best signal, detect news or traffic control messages and adapting the sound volume to the noise in the car. Today's radios as said are not really radios, but rather advanced computer systems that can help with navigation, phone calls and music entertainment. They do many things in parallel and sometimes you can feel this! At least I never had to "reboot" my old Philips radio in the TVR 3000S and it never rejected me taking over control, i.e. tuning up sound volume. Different to this modern computer controlled radio systems can basically show a "blue screen" (if they are MS Windows driven), can refuse any interference of the driver or delay execution of orders, because they are busy with something else. Brave new world.
Last but not least, the more than 30 years old radio in the TVR mentioned beforestill works, I am not convinced that the one in my today's car will be able to do the same in 2040.

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