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      03-13-2011, 07:01 PM   #1
BMWrules7
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2011 750Li Xdrive Rear Seat Entertainment iPod Installation

Well, since BMW refuses to tell us anything useful or reliable about the people that bought 2011 cars post September build as to how we can exactly upgrade to the iPod out system, I took matters into my own hands.

Please see the attached pictures. I had to create this iPod device... I used the Apple A/V cable. Since it was white I had to take a few steps to make it not stand out so much!

I used an iPOD flex stand that plugs into the lighter. Next, I do not use the stand for the connection excepting for support. I ran the white iPod cable into a radio shack flex tube. I shoved the extra cable length under the back seat.

Surprisingly, none of these steps requires taking apart the car. I did try a black A/V cable but the shielding was horrible and the display had wavy lines when you plugged in the power while the car was running. The white Apple cable (white) works the best, but it also stands out on the black carpet.

The system is fast! It is ten times faster than DVD to select a program. Also, you can easily select your video from the location of the ipod. And it works just fine in a fixed location.

I am glad that BMW gave us the composite video and audio inputs; however, I wish they were in the trunk or rear seat armrest! Since it was out in the open this is the best I could come up with so far without actually having to take the car apart.

Let me know what you think.
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      03-13-2011, 11:02 PM   #2
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Cool!

AFAIK for the new iPod/iPhone video integration feature, you will need the cradle that goes into the center console compartment and it will only work with cars that have been manufactured since 09/2010.

The A/V inputs you used to hooked up your iPod has been in the rear seat entertainment system since the introduction of the F01/F02 series. Speed of selecting different videos only depend on the iPods speed of changing it as the entertainment system in the car has nothing to do with that, but selecting a new video on the iPod would most definitely be faster then selecting a new DVD from the changer as the changer takes it's sweet time to perform a disc change...

I never hooked any external device up to the rear entertainment system, but I think I should give the iPod touches my kids use a try next time we go on a longer trip... and let each one of them decide what they want to watch...

I assume you use the remote control to select the A/V input?
Can you select different inputs for the left and right screens via the remote?
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      03-14-2011, 09:29 AM   #3
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Another Picture of Rear Entertainment iPod Install

When it comes to speed of selecting videos I was not just referring to the mechanical load of the DVD. It can take an eternity for the DVD to load mechanically then start the "menu" program after playing the "FBI Warning" and ten advertisements.

None of this wasted time exists with the iPod! In two seconds you can find your video and play it!

You are correct, you can use the remore control to have the iPod display on either rear screen or both. The right input can be assigned to play on the left screen while the left input can be assigned to play on the right screen (or whatever combination you like).

There is a slider on the remote control that determine the screen you are referencing. Even more importantly, with a few adjustments here and there you could install two iPods, one for each screen!!!

Here is a closeup picture of the install:
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      03-14-2011, 09:46 AM   #4
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I was thinking of ripping a bunch of (kids) movies and burn them to a single DVD, that way I could strip all the unnecessary fluff from the original discs and give the kids a basic menu to select their movies from. But I will give the iPod touch a try and see if they like that better since they already use them all the time anyway...

I don't have a remote control for the rear, there is a separate iDrive controller in the center arm rest in the back that the kids use to select their movies with or watch the navigation maps, etc... There are also separate volume control buttons for the left and right headphones in the arm rest.
I was just wondering how this works with the remote. With the iDrive controller, you can select the DVD changer, front DVD player, rear DVD player or auxiliary inputs for each screen independently.

Thanks for the pictures.
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      03-14-2011, 11:02 AM   #5
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I have to tell you how mad I was at BMW when I found out that I did not get the rear iDrive controller. So, I buy this new car and all I wanted was the rear entertainment system. I start reading the manual and I discover that I did not get the rear iDrive controller. BMW does not care that I am upset.

My previous three (3) 750Lis all had the rear entertainment with rear iDrive. However, the 2011 did not come with rear idrive. I would have been "okay" with it had there been no other option; however, the bloody manual fully discloses that a rear iDrive system exists; yet, BMW never told me about it during the sales process.

So, I ended up with the remote instead of the iDrive.

The problem of course, is that BMW advertised "all sources" available for the rear entertainment system. This was not true. The navigation map is not available and clearly that is a "source." The nav system was on the three E65's that I had. But, now I cant get the nav on the rear screens. What a bunch of crap. The BMW brochures show the map on the rear screens for goodness sakes!

How did you get your rear iDrive controller? Was it a special option?
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      03-15-2011, 07:44 PM   #6
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I live in Canada hence the little Canada flag to the left . We don't get the remote option but do have the iDrive controller in the back.

You mentioned that you had interference issues with a different cable, were you powering the iPod via that cable at the same time?
I'm just curious if you are creating ground loops...
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      03-15-2011, 08:34 PM   #7
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The iPhone version of bimmerpost does not seem to display the flag. Canada seems to get all the cool stuff!

So, the iPhone cable has three (3) RCA connectors and a USB for power and data. The three RCA connectors represent line level audio (left and right), plus a composite video.

The apple cable while beautiful on it's own happens to be white. Not a good color for concealment. So, I tried a black cable with the same properties.

The apple cable and the black cable worked just fine with the motor not running. However, once the car was started I got mega interference with just the black cable. I don't think it is a ground loop as the interference wouldn't be dependent on the motor running in that case, right?

Rather, I suspect the interference was due to a noisy power bus once the car starts. The BMW power bus seems to be unfiltered to a large degree.

Of course, exacerbating the problem would be the fact that the sensitive line level cables are parallel to the USB power cable. Not to mention the fact the the USB terminates in a small multi purpose connector on the iPod. This connector on the iPod is something of a digital noise "wh.ore" if you ask me.

Do you agree or am I missing something basic?

Cheers!
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      03-15-2011, 09:06 PM   #8
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The DC power outlet would definitely have less noise on it while the engine is not running so you should see less interference (or the possibility of interference) when the engine is off. You could try the black cable plugged into the iPod and the A/V connections for the screen but leave the USB part unplugged (disconnected) from the power adapter and see if you still get interference issues (with and without the engine running). It is possible that the apple cable (the white one) is of better quality (has better shielding) than the black one. I assume the black one is a cheaper aftermarket version?!?
If the black cable works without interference even when the engine is running but disconnected from the power adapter, you may need an isolated type power adapter. I assume that the one you currently use is most likely just a buck converter style regulator (meaning it is non-isolated).
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      03-16-2011, 08:36 AM   #9
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BMW Apps have video playback from an iPhone/iPod, wondering if they will work with the rear entertainment system ?

BTW great idea and setup.
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      05-09-2011, 01:36 AM   #10
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You all are lucky. I have an 08 750Li with the Rear Entertainment and I called 4 dealers on the Ipod integration and was told that I had to make a choice. It was either the iPod Conversion Kit, or my RE and 6 Disc Changer. Didn't mind losing the Changer, but couldnt accept the loss of the RE
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