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Digital multimedia receivers are car stereos that are designed to play content from your phone, plus music, videos, and photos stored on a USB or SD card. They also include AM/FM radio and often offer an option for SiriusXM, but they can't play discs. Most have large touchscreens, and many offer the safety and convenience of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The primary reasons are better sound, more features, and safer driving (backup cam option, CarPlay, Android Auto). You'll also find that digital multimedia receivers offer nicer touchscreens, more extensive smartphone integration, better sound controls, and more customization options than the typical factory radio.
You can probably do it yourself, especially if you've got some basic tools, and a willingness to give it a try. For most vehicles, it's a pretty straightforward operation, and we'll warn you if your vehicle is especially difficult. With your Crutchfield order, you'll get an instruction sheet on how to take your dash apart. We can even do most of the wiring for you with our ReadyHarness service.
Your digital multimedia receiver will allow you to stream music from your phone and make hands-free calls. Most will allow you to connect your phone to the USB port for more extensive integration. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allow you to access most of the features in your phone with your voice.
Many can. Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze can all be used on your receiver's touchscreen when you use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You can even ask for directions with your voice instead of typing in your destination. Some radios also allow you to mirror your phone's screen on your radio. Multimedia receivers with navigation maps built in are usually called "navigation receivers."