Zune HD Car Pack
Includes a Zune HD FM Transmitter and a Zune HD Car Charger
The Zune HD Car Pack is a complete car audio solution for your Zune HD including an FM transmitter, car charger and a couple of other cool extras.
How FM Transmitters Work
An FM transmitter is still your best option if you want to listen to your Zune HD in your car, unless your car stereo has a aux input.
FM transmitters in general have a really bad reputation. So before we get into more details about this product it's worth taking some time to understand just how FM transmitters work.
An FM transmitter basically converts the audio from your MP3 player into an FM radio signal which is then broadcast and received by your car stereo. This is just like receiving the broadcast of an FM radio station, only the broadcast is originating from within your car.
The FCC regulates the signal strength of FM transmitters and as a result the signal they generate is really weak. The purpose of this is to prevent broadcasts from your car overriding the radio station in the car next to you.
In reality what this means is that even the weakest broadcast FM radio station will cause interference with the signal broadcast from your FM transmitter, if they are on the same frequency. The problem is magnified in major metropolitan areas where pretty much every FM radio frequency is already in use.
There are two factors that dictate the quality of reception from your FM transmitter.
- The presence of a clear frequency that your FM transmitter can use for broadcasting.
- The strength of your car FM radio antenna.
We've found most people tend to obsess over the first factor. However, it's really the second factor which is problematic for most people.
The exact same Zune (or MP3 player of choice) using the same FM transmitter, in the same city, driving the exact same route will have different results in different cars based on the strength of the FM radio antennas in those cars.
So in reality it has very little to do with the quality of the FM transmitter but a lot more to do with the car stereo. It seems strange but the weaker your car stereo, the better results you'll get with an FM transmitter.
The Zune HD FM transmitter is probably the highest quality FM transmitter you'll find on the market. But it's still no match for a powerful FM radio antenna due to the FCC constraints.
So now you know how FM transmitters work, you can decide if this product will work for you. A quick way to check is by testing the FM radio in your car. If you get crystal clear reception of existing radio stations on every single frequency then you can expect to get some interference when using this or any other FM transmitter. If you struggle to get good reception then you know this product is going to work well for you.
Here's a trick you can try to improve reception. If you receive a lot of interference when using an FM transmitter you should try and see if there is any way to remove or disable your car stereo FM radio antenna. You'll see a massive difference in reception if you are able to do this.
Zune HD Car Charger
In addition to the FM transmitter, the Zune HD car pack includes an integrated car charger. It will keep your Zune HD charged while you play your favorite tunes through your car stereo.
Third Generation Car Pack
The Zune HD Car Pack is the third generation of this Zune product. As such it contains some improvements from the previous generation car packs.
One problem with the previous generation Zune car packs was that the car charger occupied the power outlet of your car. Most cars have only a single power outlet, so if you're using this product you have no way of charging any additional portable electronic devices like a cellphone or GPS at the same time.
The v3 car pack solves this problem by providing a USB port on the charger. You can use this port to charge an additional Zune or any other device you might be carrying along with you.
There is also an aux output on the transmitter. You can use an aux cable to listen to your Zune HD if you have an aux input on your car stereo. In general you'll get better music quality if you use the aux output over the FM transmitter since it's a direct connection. But if you have an aux input in your car stereo you'll get far better results, for far less money, with a simple aux cable rather than by investing in an FM transmitter.
Auto-scan functionality allows you to quickly zone in on unused frequencies. There are also two FM presets you can use to save the frequencies you found for easy retrieval later.
In addition, you can now listen to HD radio through your car stereo using this product.
The Zune HD car pack is backwards compatible and works with older generation Zune players too.
You can find an excellent video review of this product here.
Unless your car stereo already has an aux input, the Zune HD car pack, while expensive, is still the cheapest way to enjoy your Zune HD in your car.
The Zune HD FM transmitter is the best you'll find on the market but it's still subject to the general constraints of any FM transmitter. The third generation car pack keeps some of the great features of previous generations like auto-scan and presets while improving on some of the flaws.
If you notice poor quality reception from this transmitter, it is not due to the quality of the FM transmitter but due to the superior strength of your car FM radio antenna. The only way to really know if this product will work for you is to try it.
Best price on the Zune HD Premium Car Pack
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