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Upgrade your car stereo with a Double DIN receiver
You don’t have to buy a new car to feel like you’re getting the latest infotainment experience in the dash. New Double DIN receivers can replace old, outdated car stereo systems with bigger screens, better app support and hands-free controls for a truly connected setup while you drive.
What is a Double DIN Receiver
The term “Double DIN” is based on a specification called Deutsch Institut für Normung (DIN) when German automakers standardized the 2 x 8-inch size for their car stereos. It has since become an industry standard, meaning most makes and models adhere to that standard.
Double DIN receivers differ from Single DIN units in that they are twice the size in height. Manufacturers have used the extra space to build larger touchscreens, and in more recent years, made them capacitive, so they can recognize swipes and pinch-to-zoom gestures.
Microphones now come standard with newer models, and when set up properly, they can feel like they’re out of sight. Using the built-in mic connections lets you use the voice assistant integration with certain apps and platforms receivers may support.
The latest Double DIN receivers are built to work with smartphones. You can do it with a USB cable to charge and interface directly with the receiver’s features. Plug in an Aux-In cable and listen to whatever you want to play on your phone through the car’s stereo system. Connect wirelessly through Bluetooth to stream audio cord-free, and handle phone calls hands-free.
Some models include satellite communications for SiriusXM satellite radio (subscription required), or even the ability to run GPS navigation maps for turn-by-turn directions. You may even come across models with memory card slots.
That’s not all. Some receivers have connections for backup cameras, giving you a clearer view of your surroundings every time you put your car in reverse. Whether you have an existing backup camera in your vehicle, or you plan on installing one later, many Double DIN receivers can connect with them.
Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto
While some Double DIN units don’t support Apple CarPlay or Google Android Auto, there are plenty that . With both platforms onboard, connecting your iPhone or Android handset lets you use the apps you like, plus get help through their respective voice assistants.
Both CarPlay and Android Auto support several popular apps, including Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, Deezer, Tidal, Waze, Google Maps, WhatsApp and more. Use Google Assistant and Siri to make calls, send messages, launch apps, search for points of interest and change music—all hands-free. Or, if you prefer, you can do it by touch. Double DIN receivers can work with steering wheel controls to make skipping tracks or activating the voice assistant even easier.
Integrated Into Your Car Stereo
Not every car has the same dash, so once you choose a receiver, you also need the proper dash kit to fit your specific make and model vehicle. Older vehicles were not necessarily designed for Double DIN receivers, offering space only for Single DIN units. If you only have space for Single DIN—about 2-inches or so, vertically—you must replace it with another Single DIN.
If you have about 4-inches of space vertically, then you can fit a Double DIN receiver. Functionally, the two sizes may not be that different, but getting a bigger screen is where the larger size comes in handy. Good receivers have preamp outputs that connect with the vehicle’s amplifier, pushing audio through the entire car stereo system. Whether or not you’ve upgraded the speakers, you can bet that a Double DIN receiver will work just fine.
Installing it depends on your own level of expertise. You could also take the receiver to a certified car audio installer to get the job done, ensuring you get all the connections you want every time you hit the road.