NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Powered In-Car Infotainment System DIY Project Guide
Rear Seat Entertainment And The Quirks
Rear Seat EntertainmentI didn't stop at just one Shield Tablet in the Jeep. The Jeep compliments our Nissan Leaf, but the range-limited Leaf isn't exactly ideal for road trips. I opted for two Shield Tablet K1's for rear seat entertainment because I have two kids.
The tablets are mounted with headrest post mounts from RAM Mounts, a local Seattle, Wash. Company. A pair of Tab-Tite Cradles for 7-8-inch tablets keep the Shield Tablet K1s secure with the official tablet cover installed.
While the RAM Mounts are costly, the peace of mind of having crash-tested mounts is worth it to me. I might be overly paranoid, but a potential 12.6 oz. projectile to the face isn't something I want my children to ever experience.
Both tablets are loaded with family-friendly kid movies and games. The Shield Tablet K1s have plenty of power to run ScummVM, which is loaded with Humongous Entertainment Games from my 90s childhood, like Putt Putt, Fatty Bear, Freddi Fish and Pajama Sam. Modern takes on classics like Crossy Road, Disney Crossy Road, Chuck's Challenge and Geometry Wars are available for them to play, too.
The rear seat tablets are wired up the same way as the dash-mounted tablet, except I opted for a 4-port Aukey charger without Quick Charge technology (CC-01). I ran the micro USB cables under the leather seat covers and out through the headrest post area.
Audio is provided by a pair of Creative Labs Outlier Bluetooth headphones that charge via micro USB cables in the center console.
It Isn't PerfectWhile the Shield Tablet install works well enough for my driving needs, it’s not perfect. Internet connectivity is an issue. I can’t activate it with LTE data since I'm running the Wi-Fi firmware on my Shield Tablet LTE. I must use my Samsung Galaxy S7 for tethering, which requires manually turning it on every time I get into the car.
I'll pick up an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot dongle that plugs into the car's OBD II port eventually, but the ZTE Mobley on AT&T is sold out or discontinued, unfortunately. AT&T announced the Samsung Mobile Connect dongle in August, but that’s not available anywhere yet and there’s no longer any mention of it on the AT&T website.
Using HDMI for audio provides better sound quality with less popping, but it doesn’t always work on the first try. HDMI doesn’t get detected every 3 or 4 starts and defaults back to the tablet speakers. My solution to solve it was to root the tablet and use a reboot manager app to manually restart the tablet when that happens.
It usually starts working again after a restart. I don’t consider this to be too big of a hassle since the tablet shuts off completely after 6 hours and does a clean boot and detects HDMI anyways.
There’s no Bluetooth hands-free for my phone to connect to either, but I rarely make calls in the car, so it doesn’t bother me. I’ll get an Aukey Wireless Audio Receiver Kit and run that into the Clarion EQS-755’s aux input down the road. It will require manually pressing the aux button, but that's a non-issue in my opinion.