Autotrader: Tap into your car’s entertainment technology during coronavirus shutdown

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads all over the world, including here at home in the U.S., businesses and public services are responding accordingly. Movie theaters and libraries are temporarily shutting down, you may have been asked to work remotely from home, and your kids may be getting a long break from school that you didn’t plan for. Depending on where you live, you might not even be able to go out to dinner for a while.

One place that can’t shut down without your permission is your car, and we live in a golden age of in-car entertainment tech that makes it pretty much impossible to get bored in a car. Everyone with a car knows the power of a good drive to get out of the house and clear your head. Here are some modern car entertainment technologies that can help keep you and your family sane.

Blu-ray

Making your kids quiet and still in the back of your minivan or SUV for two hours sounds like an impossible feat, but rear-seat entertainment systems with Blu-ray and DVD players can make this miracle a reality. Lots of family haulers with three rows of seats offer an entertainment system as an option, and they usually come with wireless headphones, meaning that getting audio to the ears of passengers who want to hear the movie is a breeze. If you want to make a long drive to a friend or relative’s house to get away from boredom at home, a movie playing on the way there makes the road trip more pleasant for everyone.

Wi-Fi hot spot

Having a Wi-Fi hot spot in your car means everyone’s smartphones will have internet access without eating up your data plan. It also means your passengers can use tablets in the car without needing to get an expensive data plan for the tablet. Since we have so many devices and gadgets that need Wi-Fi, having it in the car is extremely useful — especially for families trying to fight boredom. A lot of new cars in 2020 have a Wi-Fi hot spot as an available option, but General Motors

GM, -17.32%

  is particularly generous with offering Wi-Fi as standard in a lot of their vehicles from the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac brands.

Apps and games

We know you may not want to hear it, but we’re going to keep saying over and over again that there is no better vehicle for family transportation than a minivan. This is especially true when it comes to in-car entertainment tech. Two of our favorite examples in 2020 are the Chrysler Pacifica and the Honda Odyssey, both of which are available with their own special back-seat entertainment system that includes much more than just a Blu-ray player.

Read: 8 great 3-row SUVs priced under $40k

Related: Does your new car have more tech than you know what to do with?

In the Chrysler Pacifica, you can get the Uconnect Theater, which puts a touchscreen behind both of the front headrests. This allows both of your second-row passengers to do their own thing without fighting over which movie they’re both going to watch. On top of Blu-ray and DVD capabilities, Uconnect Theater is packed with apps and games, some of which are educational, meaning your kids might actually learn something while you’re on your road trip. There’s also an “Are We There Yet?” app that gives your passengers an ETA for your destination, so you won’t have to answer that burning question every five minutes.

Also see: Looking for a minivan? Here are 5 great ones for under $40k

In the Honda Odyssey, you only get one overhead screen with the rear-seat entertainment system, but that’s a good thing for third-row passengers because it makes it easier for the way-back to see. Aside from the Odyssey’s Blu-ray and DVD capabilities, it also offers kid-friendly streaming apps such as PBS Kids and “How Much Farther?” which does the same thing as the Pacifica’s available “Are We There Yet?” app.

Of course, if you’re not feeling well, you should stay home. But, if you need to get your family out of the house in the next few weeks, these in-car entertainment technologies can make the breaks from school or work go by a little faster. 

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