Akom's Tech Ruminations

Various tech outbursts - code and solutions to practical problems

My Review of the Innovatek 362 DTM Head unit with DVD,TV,MP3,Rear View Camera Reviews

Posted by Akom • Friday, September 5. 2008 • Category: Reviews

I got this thing for our Conversion-Conversion Van. I wanted it to do everything for me. (Also take a look at our Wanna-B-RV(ers) blog entry on this)
The innovatek box
Overall I can't say that I'd recommend this unit, but for some specific applications (such as ours) it seemed to work out.

The breakdown:

  • Rear Camera display capability: Excellent . Image is clear and visible, but I don't believe that it can reverse the image. (My camera is intended to be used for rear-view applications, so has internal image reversal). Has a 12V input to trigger camera display, and overlays it on top of anything it's doing. There is no button to show rear camera on demand, it is only controlled by the 12V input line. Does not show camera display on external monitor, internal only. External monitor continues to work normally.
  • DVD playback capability: Excellent (plays regardless of region, and some very odd formats that other players can't handle. Interface for DVD control - also quite good)
  • CD Audio playback: Not tested (don't have any handy)
  • MP3 CD Audio playback: Horrendous . OK, it will play some tracks, occasionally, then stop and not play the next one for 1-2 minutes, not responding to user input at all. Remote is almost mandatory for MP3 play control, and the response to each button press is 1-2 seconds delayed, with no type-ahead. The file browser (no ID3 tag support) is the ancient DVD player style, shows 8.3 filenames and is overall very hard to navigate. Also, the unit will occasionally jump to a random track, perhaps when it gives up trying to start playing a particularly hard one. (Note: the files it fails to play, repeatedly, don't seem any different in bitrate/ID3 or any other way from the ones it does play)
  • USB host capability: OK. This actually works (tested with my IAudio X5L) and it can play media off your flash drives/portables. Unfortunately it is subject to the same limitations as the MP3 playback bullet above - playback is unpredictable and really hard to control. On the bright side, it sort-of works, and even plays movies and images too.
  • TV tuner: unclear It seems to work if I hook up cable (from my house) to the antenna jack, but with the Innovatek amplified antenna that I also bought with the unit, I got no channels, ever, anywhere. Not that I care too much as I don't watch TV
  • FM Tuner: untested. I don't listen to radio. OK well I think it works...
  • Line In: Good. You might wonder why an MP3 capable I-can-play-anything device needs a line in, but with the above in mind, yes it is a good touch, moreover - they placed it on the front. That's the best part.
  • Overall interface: Poor. There are very few buttons on the face of the unit in order to make room for a large LCD monitor, and the ones that are there are unintuitive and have completely different functions depending on mode of operation. All of the functions are available on the remote, which is slow and unreliable (audio beep would be good for such poor controls), and the ones the designers felt were important enough to place on the head unit itself are... well, random.
  • Sound Quality: good. Not that the Van's speakers can really show that off (plus my conversion has a separately controlled rear speaker amplifier hidden somewhere), but it sounds clear enough for most purposes. I have not experienced any lack of power in driving the speakers either, but can't really get any more technical because I know nothing about the van's stock speakers.
  • Quirks: unpleasant. Some quirks are mentioned above... But here is an interesting one: The unit will not turn back on with ignition (when you get back in the car and turn the key) about 50% of the time. You can hit the power button yourself, of course, and it turns on - but it's pretty random. It does shut off with ignition every time though :-)

That's my rant about the innovatek unit. Honestly, I don't know what I was expecting for the price I paid... I got the unit in 2007 for about $140.

3 Trackbacks

  1. I went out in search of the impossible... A device that can do all of the above. And then I found it. Sort of. So I wanted to have one all-purpose head unit take care of all these functions. The name brands didn't seem to have this, or if they di
  2. Now that I acquired a travel trailer, it was a matter of utmost importance to install a rear view camera on it to ease the process of backing it up. I already have a rear view camera on my van, hooked up to my head unit which happens to have a rear came
  3. I recently bought a truck to replace the conversion van as a tow vehicle, and decided not to move the Innovatek head unit from the van to save myself some hassle. This gave an opportunity to try out a new device, after all - I was somewhat frustrated wit

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