Despite the fact that over 80 percent of Americans drive to work every day and millions have MP3 players, auto manufacturers and car stereo makers have done a rather dismal job of bringing digital downloads to the (non-information) superhighway.
If you want to take your music collection on the road, you have three basic options, and none of them is particularly good. Either you must connect your portable MP3 player to your car stereo (which inevitably requires wires, gadgets, and a fair amount of fuss) or you have to buy one of the MP3-friendly car stereo systems that installs a hard drive into the vehicle itself (which requires a considerable amount of cash). The low-tech alternative—burning a bunch of CDs—takes loads of time. Every option entails some sort of compromise, whether it’s inconvenience, price, or audio fidelity, so choosing the right system becomes a matter of picking the appropriate poison. Here’s a rundown of the possibilities.