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The Belkin TuneCast solves the seemingly age old problem of listening to your ipod in the car. Only the newest cars seem to have this compatibility built in. This device is powered by a 12v input so is compatible with any car with a cigarette lighter point. The device also charges your ipod while in use which is really handy. I have used the TuneCast with my second generation ipod touch for a while now and it works pretty much as advertised. The device broadcasts a small radio signal that your car aerial picks up. Initially there was some doubt over the legality of these devices in the UK but that has since been dismissed.
The auto scan feature really is the selling point for this device. It saves you manually tracking for the frequency your ipod is being broadcast on. It also finds a frequency that will give the optimal sound quality. This certain model only works with ipods but there is a universal one available for a similar price.
The Belkin TuneCast has been fabulous in car rides with my friends. Everyone knows that music while driving is essential(ly fun ;)) and very enjoyable, but a few of my friends, having only just past their driving tests, are using family cars, which by standard have no AUX input. I say this, because my mother purposely purchased the Honda Civic model under the one she wanted just because the one she liked had an AUX cable and she hated the idea of me having control of the music!
The Belkin TuneCast is essentially a very small radio transmitter. It plugs into the iPhone or iPod through the Apple standard port on the bottom of them. Needless to say, this is only for iPhone and iPod, because other MP3 players will not have this port. The TuneCast converts the music, audiobook, podcast or other audio file on your iPod into a radio signal on a certain frequency which you can specify by pressing the '+' and '-' buttons on the front of the TuneCast. The TuneCast operates by emitting an FM frequency - ensure that your radio can receive FM transmission before buying.
To receive this radio signal, you must have a working radio which receives FM transmission. You would preferably tune the TuneCast to a radio frequency which you know is empty and for example is not taken up by BBC radio 5 live! Naturally the BBC transmission will be stronger and your music will be fighting with it. On your working radio, you would tune it to the same frequency that is displayed on the screen by the TuneCast. This will allow you to listen to your music as if it is a radio station!
In the box, I received the actual TuneCast FM transmitter and a removable car charging port which I could unplug (not sure if this is true with all models) which will also charge your iPhone or iPod whilst driving, as well as playing your beautiful music!
My experiences with the TuneCast have been generally good - it's a hardy little thing which has survived many drops down beside the seats in the car. I believe the only issue is that if you have got a different MP3 player than an iPhone or iPod which has a song on which you want to play, you cannot as this is not a universal TuneCast model. For a model with the headphone jack (which can be used with anything with a headphone jack - be imaginitive!) you need to look for the Belkin TuneCast Auto Universal. Ensure it says universal and have a good check of the picture too. As for the sound quality - well it's really good! It sounds like a very well transmitted radio station (which it kind of is) and the only problem is if you use it in the back of a car and move it behind the seats - it seems to lose a bit of signal then. Also, you can't take this out of the car.. unless you have a car electrical socket somewhere in your house.. Although in the house you should just be able to use one of the double ended headphone jacks in hifis and so on and soforth.
Price: It generally seems to lie about the £20-£30 mark- I purchased mine for £36.99 off amazon but I was quite ok because I had vouchers to burn. I'm sure you can get them cheaper other places but mine has lasted me two years now and I don't regret my purchase one bit.
So, you might ask yourself, "Why would someone buy this product?"
Well, I don't know about everyone, but let me tell you my story.
My car is 5 years old. So this means that it's too new for a tape deck, but it's too old for it to have an auxiliary cable outlet. Furthermore, I am constantly frustrated by there not being anything good to listen to on the radio and I think satellite radio is overrated and too expensive for my budget. But I do have the cigarette lighter outlet (also known as a 12V outlet in some cars), which is something that I believe all or most cars on the road have somewhere in the vehicle.
I did a little bit of research and found this product. I paid $35 for this piece of equipment, which may seem a bit outlandish to some, but it's been one of the best investments for my car I have ever made.
I am able to hear the music I want to listen to clearly and it even charges my iPod.
I am so glad that I bought this. I have only been driving for a year and a half, and this has made driving so much more fun, less stressful, and just a general good time. I simply can't imagine going anywhere without it because it makes the journey that much better.
If you ever find yourself frustrated with radio, buy this and you won't regret it.
The Tunecast is a new product from well known manufacturers Belkin! The small and simple device allows users to to play the music of their ipod for example through their car stereo system through the radio, you have the choice of either manually chosing a radio frequency to broadcast over or select the automatic button of the device which will scan for you and choose the best frequency to broadcast over for the best quality.
The unit is compatible with the following ipods:
4th Generation 20GB,
4th Generation 30GB,
4th Generation 40GB,
5th Generation 30GB,
5th Generation 60GB,
5th Generation 80GB,
iPod mini 4GB,
iPod Mini 6GB,
Ipod Nano 1GB,
Ipod Nano 2GB,
Ipod Nano 4GB,
Ipod Nano 8GB,
Ipod Classic 80GB,
Ipod Classic 160GB
And also works perfectly on the new iphones as well.
What ive found with other designed models for this function is that the music can sound fuzzy and distorted but this unit gets rid of this problem with its 'clear scan' function which reduces all of that interferance alltogether.
The device also fits a car charger as well so you never have to worry about your power cutting out half way through your favourite song!
The device features two stored preset buttons so you dont have to keep setting it up everytime you want to go for a drive and has a high contrast backlit display which is handy if your setting it up at night in a dark car!
You cant really argue with its price especially once youve heard the quality of the sound that comes through your stereo system!
My only one problem with it what that once you have plugged one end into your ipod and the other into your charger you do have some cables which can get in the way so some time is spent moving them! but apart from that a great device!