Elon Musk Says You'll Soon Be Able to Stream Video Inside Your Tesla
Careful not to skip any opportunity to build hype for his auto brand, Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday that Tesla customers would soon be able to stream YouTube and Netflix videos from the comfort of their car’s interior. While it goes without saying, the CEO added that the feature would only be available while the vehicle is stopped until “full self-driving is approved by regulators” — as if that was the singular issue holding up autonomous vehicles.
The resulting comment thread led to a gaggle of other revelations. According to Musk, Tesla’s new pickup is slated to unveil in 2 to 3 months “maybe” and software version 10 is just around the corner.
Version 10 is claimed to come out as early as next month, incorporating games, new infotainment features (like text-message reading), improved Autopilot functionalities via FSD, better traffic light and stop sign recognition, and Tesla’s Smart Summon. However, Musk noted that some of these features will require the usage of the company’s paid premium connectivity package.
The bundle essentially killed free internet inside Tesla’s vehicles, which Musk previously admitted wouldn’t last forever, late last year. While the standard package still permits internet access, it’s now limited to low-data applications. Owners wanting to get the most from their car will be required to shell out $100 per year for access to the premium pack.
Unfortunately, this puts us a bit on edge as it’s vaguely reminiscent of BMW’s recent CarPlay shenanigans. Version 10 opens up the door for new in-car features, potentially placing some behind a paywall by way of an annual subscription. You may have to buy in before you can continue buying in, so to speak. But we don’t want to default to outrage until we see what Tesla literally has in store for us. Assuming version 10 is extremely robust, offering real value for an extra 100 bucks a year, then we can’t complain too much. However, if it’s leading with an in-car marketplace and asking you to purchase features that should have come bundled in, we’re going to go mental.
Another noteworthy item, is that Tesla’s older models don’t use horizontally oriented screens. While this will be perfect for watching World Star Hip Hop fights and YouTube videos taken by small children, most media produced with a budget of more than zero dollars tends to be shot in a wider aspect ratio. That might leave a lot of Model S and X drivers kicking themselves or, more likely, content streaming video from their phone. Of course, depending on when they purchased their car, some customers will have to upgrade their media unit anyway — which Elon said they could do for an unspecified price.
Even though Musk said to expect version 10 sometime next month, with the pickup debut hot on its heels, Tesla has a long history of delaying its releases. Cross your fingers but don’t hold your breath, because a couple of months could easily turn into triple that once converted to real-world time.
[Image: Tesla Motors]
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Android Auto has this ability already. It isn't implemented for obvious reasons but I have absolutely seen it on test rigs. Incidentally the "carputer" I built a decade ago could do this. A Raspberry Pi and a cheap touchscreen would get you 90 percent there. A CAN hat on your pi to read the steering wheel buttons should get you the last 10 percent.
What is the value proposition of being able to watch movies or play games on your car's screen when it is stationary? And when most drivers probably have an iPhone in their pocket and an iPad in their briefcase? Who sits for hours in their stationary car to the point where they would want to watch videos on their car's screen? I figure if waiting for a passenger, they'd whip out their iPhone for some browsing or video watching. It just seems pointless to even offer the functionality on the vehicle's system at this point. FWIW, my '08 CTS can play DVDs on the car's screen (a result of being equipped to play the flash-in-the-pan DVD Audio format). I have never used it once, nor thought to use it. I think one guy on the forums said he used it to watch movies in his car at lunch hour...but that can be done anywhere with an iPad these days.