Buying a Media Adapter Made Easy
A media adapter or adaptor isn't usually a car part that comes with the car in question. Instead, it's a car accessory that's sold separately. It can be a wired USB port you can connect to your smartphone, tablet, CD player, digital radio, or MP3 player with. It can even work as a charger for your laptop and other mobile devices. You can buy them in auto shops and computer stores alike. But if you decide to buy online instead, you need to specify the type, make, model, year, and engine of your vehicle.
What to Look for in Media Adapters
What sort of media adapter should you get? It depends on you.
- Branded or Universal Adaptor Options: There are specialist adapters that specifically allow you to plug in only a certain brand of smartphone or MP3 music player to your car (Android or iOS). They're less expensive but also less flexible than generic universal adapter models that, for a few extra bucks, allow you to plug in both your MP3 and your smartphone to your car along with various other media.
- Media Adapters versus Mobile Device Chargers: Watch out for the mobile device chargers. You might confuse them for the media adapters. To wit, a media adapter is supposed to connect your mobile device to your car so that it can serve as your new radio or even TV set while you're driving. A digital music charger only connects your iPod or Android MP3 Player for the sake of recharging its batteries instead of hooking it up to your speakers to allow you to play music.
- Wireless or Wired Media Adaptor Types: Wired media adapters are basically USB cables that your mobile device can accept and connect with or entire metal boxes full of plugs and receptors that allow you to connect pretty much anything to your car. There even exist wireless Bluetooth adapters that have dual USB charging and in-car FM transmitters to boot.
- Warning Labels and Disclaimers: Certain sites or product packaging will have warnings you should know about before buying them. For example, there are media adaptors out there that temporarily don't support the iOS9 operating system and requires a manual USB firmware update to enable support. There are also disclaimers that keep media adapter providers from being liable to any damages to said firmware update. Read the fine print as much as possible.
- Extra Media Adapter Features: A good adapter allows you to enjoy a variety of features like the ability to connect all your mobile devices to the car by wire or by Bluetooth wireless tech, enjoy clear music, hands-free calls, GPS voice navigation right onto your speakers, and the ability to charge your device all at the same time. These adapters can be as multipurpose as the smartphones you connect them to.
In a Nutshell
These media adaptors typically connect to your car through the cigarette lighter receptacle or lighter socket outlet of your car. This socket used to power an electrically powered cigarette lighter, but later on it was used more as the de facto DC connector of your car, powering all sorts of devices from electric fans to flashlights. With a media adapter, you can connect your speakers to your phone or MP3 players to watch movies, play music, or call people with them.