Can I Hook a Video Game Console up to my Car?
Whether you’re a young passenger on a long family road trip, a parent desperate to keep your kids occupied on the road, or just someone who hates being bored, mobile games are a perfect solution. Thankfully, with the immense popularity of smartphone gaming, the continued existence of dedicated portable gaming systems, and the runaway success that is the Nintendo Switch, playing video games on the go has never been easier.
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But what if you’ve already burned through the new Pokémon game, don’t feel like finding your 3DS charger, and hate all of the microtransactions that weigh down virtually every game on Android or Apple? Maybe you want to dig into everything the current generation of dedicated video game consoles has to offer, all from the comfort of your vehicle. Which brings up the question, is it possible to hook up a video game console to your car?
The answer is, yes, probably. Here are a few ways, from the most practical to the most unlikely, avoiding any suggestions that would void your vehicle’s warranty.
Use a dedicated media center
By far, the easiest way to outfit your car with a full-fledged gaming setup is to do so in a model that’s already got the necessary equipment. For instance, a Chevy Tahoe with a rear-seat media center will have both a standard AC outlet and an HDMI port that you can hook your console directly into. You’ll be able to play your favorite games on the go with little to no hassle.
Use a Power Inverter, a TV, and the car charger
If you don’t have a car with an AC port, you’re not out of luck. There are tons of easily affordable power inverters that you can plug into your car’s standard 12-volt port, which can then be used to boot up your console of choice. There is a limit to how much power your vehicle can transmit through these ports, so if you’re hoping to run a small TV or monitor as well, it’s worth looking into how much juice your devices pull. More importantly, it’s essential to keep the engine running so that your gaming setup doesn’t bleed your battery dry.
Really go wild with cables
This one is a bit of a stretch, but it’s technically feasible to route the video and audio feed from a PS4 or Xbox One directly through your car’s infotainment system. If you’re willing to go through the rigmarole of using a power inverter, finding the appropriate converters to change HDMI into RCA, then into a single AUX cable that’s equipped to handle video data, you might be able to enjoy Forza from the comfort of your driver’s seat. Of course, there’s no guarantee that your car’s AUX port is meant to receive video, so it’s a gamble.
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<– This is what Aaron actually looks like.
Aaron was born in a suburb of Toledo, Ohio and has managed to traverse most of the state between college and various shenanigans. Having majored in video game development and minored in film studies, he is a considerable fan of both forms of media. Additionally, he is available to explain why Mad Max: Fury Road is one of the best feminist films of all time at the drop of a hat. His aspirations include — but are not limited to — not accidentally adopting any more cats and developing a responsible sleep schedule. See more articles by Aaron.