Entertainment and communication are within easy reach with today’s technology
By Nick Krewen
That’s why CBs were once such a big hit and why mobile phones are such a huge boon to drivers today. When talking is not an option, the right satellite radio station program or compact disc fit the bill to fill the silence while you’re navigating states and interstates.
Spending downtime in your cab away from the wheel is a different matter altogether. It’s a place where you can wind down and maybe watch a movie or Skype with your favorite someone before grabbing some shut-eye.
The good news about your home away from home is that technology and customizing have made nearly any choice possible, from top-of-the-line stereo systems to flat plasma-screen televisions. Everything and anything can be installed, whether your budget is $500 or $5,000.
Steven Pesce, president of Elizabeth, N.J.’s Elizabeth Truck Center, says that any setup you desire for watching TV or movies, or listening to music is doable, but truck customizers need to see what they are dealing with before they can make recommendations.
“A lot depends on the space you have to work with. With your stand-in plasma TVs — some guys are doing 42-inch models on the back wall, but for the most part they’re putting them on the side, so drivers can watch it from their bunk, which would probably be somewhere around the low 30s or high 20s in terms of the inch of TV,” says Pesce.
A lot of drivers put a satellite dish on the truck, with amplifiers, speakers and sub-woofers installed to enhance the sound.
If you’re listening to music while driving or idling, a sound system like Kicker — a frequency-range speaker box specifically designed for cars and trucks — can drown out the sound of your engine.
Bruce DeDona of DeDona Tint and Sound in Greensboro, N.C., notes that there are few obstacles or barriers when it comes to installation. Now that devices are more compact and mobile, everything can be tucked away in a corner or under a panel or floorboard to allow for plenty of arm and legroom.
“We can pretty much do anything,” says DeDona. “We can put in a navigation radio with Bluetooth and iPod integration. We can give you Pandora off your iPhone or your Droid. We can give you satellite radio.”
It’s that type of integration — being able to interchange and plug in different devices using USB ports — that is so appealing to drivers today. During drive time, the radio and mobile phone play a big part in giving drivers a smorgasbord of options for getting entertainment or information.
Many radios allow you to easily plug in your phone or mp3 player. There’s even an app radio with a display screen that takes information from your iPhone or Android. You can use it to pull up maps, traffic updates, contact information and more on the display.
Drivers as a group took a while to embrace all of the benefits of the computer age. Now it’s turning out to be music to the ears of those looking to maximize their limited cab space.