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Six Upgrades for the Tesla Entertainment Experience


Jun 24, 2019
New York
Last year around this time, I wrote a detailed post with recommendations for Tesla's Entertainment System to improve the overall experience. A few items were addressed in Tesla's release in early fall of 2018, which was great. Many weren't, which is fine, though a revisit of the current, forefront issues seems due.

Yes, it'd be amazing to see Tesla support for more 3rd party services like Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio. That's not the focus here, though. Today, I'm focused on 6 upgrades to the entertainment system that should be within Tesla's control without 3rd party coordination.
  1. Podcast support. Podcasting features are frankly lacking... Podcasts often encounter loading errors, with poor recovery handling. Podcasts do not hold place across sessions, dumping users back to the beginning of an episode every time they return to it. The concept of completed episodes (and notation thereof) is absent. "Next" often goes to a podcast that is not logically next in the podcast sequence. There is no indication when a new podcast episode has been published.
  2. Meta-data matching. I consistently get mismatches. The system supports meta-data for radio particularly poorly. Believe me, I understand it's non-trivial to solve, but it's a visible fit and finish issue. More importantly, Tesla can offer new, differentiated functionality if it gets meta-data mapping right.
  3. Cover art. Cover art shows up in some places but doesn't pull through elsewhere… even when calling the same graphic. It happens consistently on podcast art. Cover art is also an obvious casualty of meta-data matching issues. Simply, cover art is another fit and finish issue that bears attention. Notably, if Tesla makes cover art reliable, there are interesting opportunities for Tesla to make the entertainment experience sexier.
  4. Voice integration. Voice controls are a little clunky, with flaky steering wheel interaction (at least for me). An ambient, "no touch" voice feature (activated by "Hey Tesla" or "Hello Kit" or something else catchy) would be magical. Imagine if one could simply request "Hey Tesla… Call home." or "Hey Tesla… What song is playing?" or "Hey Tesla… Add that song to Ski Trip playlist". Or, ask even more advanced questions that we're accustomed posing to Alexa, for example.
  5. Driver profiles. It'd be nice if audio settings like Favorites were tied to driver profiles. Today, it's one size fits all. (It'd be even better if driver profiles extended to Contacts and Calendar.) Tesla will find value in tackling this in the near term, given that profile portability will be important for autonomy.
  6. Music nav hierarchy. Frankly, the audio hierarchy is arbitrary. The audio menu options are Radio, Streaming, Phone and TuneIn… TuneIn is literally Streaming Radio for your Phone. That alone should underscore that they're not clean or comparable menu distinctions. One can listen to "radio" under all of the options. Tesla needs something more consistent and flexible. I suggest heading down the road of something like Radio, Music, Podcasts and Aux. (I would visually offset Aux slightly, since it is not like the other 3three). I'm not wed to the specific names; Music could be "Music" or "My Music" or "Library" or something else.
For deeper analysis and commentary on Tesla's entertainment systems please see Beach Buggy, Tesla Arcade and Automotive Platforms.

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