Back in my day, there was no such thing as in-car entertainment other than just looking out the window. Sometimes you would be allowed to stick your head outside too if the dog wasn't in the way. Then came the Game Boy, which really made things safer.
These days, however, you'll often see childrens' movies playing in the backseat of minivans. Parents must like such in-car entertainment systems if they keep the little ones quiet.
Things are about to go beyond just the DVD player, as Harman International will be making "infotainment" systems for BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The interesting tidbit revealed at IDF was that the Intel Atom processor would be powering these systems.
Using a general purpose processor such as the Atom in a car is not surprising, given many car functions are converging with those of a PC. Video and music playback is already something many computers can do; and with cars getting 3G internet connections, more advanced navigation and other functions, building a nettop-like system makes sense.
As new and cool as the Atom is now, however, these systems from Harman International won't be hitting until 2012, and only in the BMW 7-series and Mercedes C and S-Class cars.