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DICE MediaBridge iPod/iPhone USB Integration Kit + Bluetooth

Discussion in 'FX (03-08) - Electronics & Lighting' started by SteadiFX, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    There is a new iPod/iPhone integration kit that just came out of Beta for the Infiniti/Nissan vehicles, and I believe I am the first on this forum to install it. So therefore, I think it deserves a review.

    IMG_1077web.jpg

    It is the MediaBridge from DICE Electronics, and it is the FIRST iPod/iPhone USB integration kit for the 03-08 FX’s. Here are the specs:

    Manufacturer Website:
    http://diceelectronics.com/mediabridge-ipod-iphone-bluetooth-nissan.html

    Product Features


    • Connects Bluetooth enabled phones for hands-free operation and audio streaming from A2DP enabled devices. Microphone included.
    • Text-to-speech announces incoming caller ID from paired Bluetooth cell phone, song information from iPod/iPhone and interface selections
    • Charging for all iPod and iPhone models
    • Can be controlled from the iPod, radio and steering wheel
    • Song Title, Album, Artist, Playlist are shown on the head unit's display

    Technical Details

    Brand Name: Dice
    Model: MBR-1503-NIS
    Product Dimensions: 9 x 4 x 6 inches ; 2 pounds
    ASIN: B004Q3RDCU
    Item model number: MBR-1503-NIS

    Compatibility Notes
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    So on with the review..

    Hands down the best iPod interface I've used in the FX to date. I've had the DICE FM-RDS-USB Pro which was nice because it worked over USB and displayed text on the radio via FM-RDS. But it's still FM Modulation which doesn't give you true Right and Left audio, nor is it as clear. I've also had the USA Spec PA15-NIS which offers crystal clear audio, but works over the Serial Rx/Tx lines in the iDevice Dock Connectors. This not only means that there is an inherent delay between hitting "next track" on the radio and getting a response from the device (just a simple fault of Serial communication). It is also an analog means of communication.

    The DICE MediaBridge line of products has been around for a while, but this module (MBR-1503-NIS) just came out of Beta testing for Nissan/Infiniti vehicles. I spoke with the technical folks at DICE Electronics when I caught a rumbling of it and explained my intentions for the device. I want to be able to mirror my iPhone display on my NavTV system while streaming the audio from the device to the factory radio, maintaining track controls and text display on the factory LCD for when I'm not using the NavTV. Needless to say they weren't fully confident that it would do everything that I wanted. Well I'm here to tell you that I installed it and it far surpasses my minimum requirements.

    Being a DICE product, this also means that some of their G2 iPod/iPhone cradles are geared specifically towards it. The DCR-150 looks as if it will let you get audio and video out of an 1/8" jack on the cradle via supplied cable, as well as connecting to the MediaBridge via USB. I questioned this idea on the basis that it is a known fact that newer Apple products will not output video without an Authentication Chip. I asked DICE and they sent me the following reply:

    THIS METHOD IS UNCONFIRMED! I remain skeptical because I first tried my custom made video cable without the Authentication Chip but connected to the MediaBridge, and it did not output video. I have not tried the DCR-150 Cradle though.

    Like the specs indicate, it is also a Bluetooth Handsfree unit with Text-to-Speech and A2DP audio streaming and AVRCP wireless track control. The 1000 series models came without this, but for the Nissan/Infiniti module, they are only offering the 1500 series which comes bundled with Bluetooth. While I may never use it since I like the steering wheel controls of my factory Bluetooth Handsfree, it does offer some cool perks for normal USB usage. For instance, there is a kind British lady that informs you if you are in "USB", "Bluetooth", or "Auxiliary" mode. Like the USA Spec, the MediaBridge uses the radio station presets to change how you browse the iPod. As you go down the line, the kind British lady announces "Song mode", "Playlist mode", "Artist mode", "Album mode", "Podcast mode", or "Audiobook mode".

    With the USB control, you are 100% free to roam the entire iPhone or iPod Touch and play audio out of Apps other than the iPod. There is no special setting or button to press like USA Spec's "Direct Mode", just navigate how you want when you want and everything works. You get the smooth audio crossfade when you start playing another source (or a call comes in) that you have come to expect. If you're navigating on your iPhone, you get the dipping music with navigation announcements like you're used to. And if any sort of notification happens, you get the quick audio dip for the notification like you're used to. A fun little bonus that comes with digital control like USB, instead of song information, you get "iPod APP" and "Pandora" or "Netflix" or "iheartradio" on your screen. Check it out:

    IMG_1093web.jpg

    The Install

    The install was very simple. Let me immediately inform you that you cannot use your factory satellite radio with the MediaBridge, so if you need that functionality, you might as well stop here. You can plug in an aftermarket Sirius unit to the MediaBridge however. For me, it's not a deal breaker because if I ever want to pay a monthly fee for yet more media, I'll just use the XM app for iPhone.

    Here is the harness:

    IMG_1083web.jpg

    While it uses the same ports on the radio as the PA15-NIS, you'll notice that it does not pass-through the 12pin Sat Radio harness (the smaller connector in the picture). You simply leave the factory 12pin harness unplugged. The larger 10pin plug only serves the purpose of tapping into 12+ constant, Ignition, and GND for the MediaBridge.

    Here's the back of my 2006 FX35 radio, not sure if they all look the same:
    Radio_rearweb.jpg

    The harness easily has enough lead to travel behind the clock, next to the shifter, to the front of the center console. I mounted it with industrial velcro on the forward facing side of the center console, there is clearance here for the cupholder/shifter piece to go back in without interference. It essentially fits between the back of the cupholder and the front of the center console box. I chose to mount it here for 2 reasons, (1) I don't have to remove the radio when I need to get to it for a firmware update, and (2) It's within reach of the glovebox as well as my Kuda Mount with a standard 3ft iPhone USB cable.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    So finally there is a kit that that allows your iDevice to function as it should!
    Pros:

    • Full track/playlist control from the radio
    • Device/Song/Playlist info Text Display on factory LCD
    • Digital, low delay, USB connection to your iDevice
    • Text-to-Speech of your selections
    • Streaming Bluetooth and Handsfree if you want it
    • Expansion for an aftermarket Sirius tuner if you want it
    • 1/8" Auxiliary audio input (headphone jack size) if you want it

    Cons:

    • Most expensive of the iPod Integration Kits to date

    AND MOST IMPORTANTLY TO ME...
    The Serial Rx/Tx lines in the dock connector are freed up for Video Chip Authentication, so now I can stream audio and video out of my iPhone simultaneously!!!

    Just like the newer Infiniti's that offer factory USB iPod control, we can buy one simple cable to connect our iDevices to our NavTV devices and the radio SIMULTANEOUSLY! Don't spend $50 on that apple tax though, I recommend this one:
    http://www.spider-foot.com/audio-vi...4-p-711.html?zenid=8i2k7q3vum1i5fl026m9c13g40

    ---------- Post added at 01:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:51 PM ----------

    More pictures

    Close-up of the mounting location:
    IMG_1102web.jpg

    MBR-1503-NIS ports. From left to right:
    Bluetooth Mic, Aux In, Sirius Satellite Tuner In, iPod/iPhone USB In, Wiring Harness
    IMG_1089web.jpg

    Text display in Playlist Mode with device unlocked:
    IMG_1098web.jpg

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Also, check out this YouTube demo of functionalityn on a BMW:
    DICE Mediabridge/DUO for BMW - User's Guide by BSW (Bavsound) - YouTube
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011

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  2. FX45Chicago

    FX45Chicago Member

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    This is Nice, I was going to buy an Andriod phone in the near future, but this type of technology that's available for majority Apple users is pulling me back. It's seems that it turns a car that is non-bluetooth to bluetooth, which is neat. I may try this as well when I get my NavTV. Will this work with the PIE NIS/NAV-EYE1?

    I can't see you Pics can you upload them again?
     
  3. infinitifan25

    infinitifan25 Member

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    this is awsome!! But I dont see any pics?
     
  4. OP
    OP
    SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    Yes it will work with the PIE NIS/NAV-EYE1, PAC VCI-NIS, NAV-TV and any other video interface with a Composite video input. Just use an AV cable with USB like the one I posted. The MediaBridge comes with a long USB extension that can reach to where ever your iPod AV cable plugs into your video interface.

    FIXED THE IMAGES!

    ---
    - Sent from my Jailbroken Verizon iPhone
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  5. Dr.2K

    Dr.2K iS Doctor on Duty iS VIP

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    Nice write up and review!
     
  6. MTN FX

    MTN FX Mountain Man Premium

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    Welcome to :iS: all things FX:tup::tup:

    Way to jump right in with a helpfull review:top:
     
  7. Arturius

    Arturius Member

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    I'm interested in grabbing this thing but my radio doesn't have a CAT button. :mad.:

    I find that weird as it's an 06 w/ tech. pack. All I have is tune/folder on the bottom right.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    We have "Cat" button so-to-speak, but it's a dial on the right hand side of the radio, not a button. It may say something like "Tune/Category/Folder". Are we talking about the same thing? The real check would be to pull out your radio and look for the plugs in my photo and the amount of pins in them. I'm 99% sure all 03-08 radios are compatible with the MediaBridge regardless of vehicle options.

    As far as the function of the "cat" knob, for the MediaBridge it does the same as the presets row. Which is choosing between "Song", "Playlist", "Artist", "Album", "Podcast", " and "Audiobook" modes. The seek arrows will navigate in whatever mode you have selected. So in "Playlist" mode, hitting forward goes to the next playlist. Technically the first playlist the MediaBridge sees is "All Songs" in alphabetical order. After that, it is the playlists you created, in alphabetical order. Then you would use preset #1 (or 'cat' knob) to enter "Song" mode and now your seek arrows will change tracks within that playlist.


    ---
    - Sent from my Jailbroken Verizon iPhone
     
  9. Arturius

    Arturius Member

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    Thanks, I guess I'll have to man up and give it a shot. My knob says tune/folder only.

    Hehe, knob.:rofl:
     
  10. OP
    OP
    SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    Here's my radio front:
    aefca8e1-c4a5-d88d.jpg

    And that knob:
    aefca8e1-c4d5-30d7.jpg


    ---
    - Sent from my Jailbroken Verizon iPhone
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Arturius

    Arturius Member

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    You showed me yours. Only fair I show you mine. 4ac609a3-cf11-67e6.jpg
     

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  12. Arturius

    Arturius Member

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    I figure it has to do with some fx's not coming prewired for SAT. Remember reading it somewhere.
     
  13. Arturius

    Arturius Member

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    Other than that, I don't see a single other difference between ours.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    Mine was prewired but no SAT tuner, so that's probably the difference. My FSM for the 06 only differentiates between Nav and Non-Nav models in the wiring schematic, so I'm pretty confident the radio is the same. I'll bet you have an empty 12pin SAT harness plug when you get that radio out. Maybe somebody can chime in and confirm.


    ---
    - Sent from my Jailbroken Verizon iPhone
     
  15. gustoFX35

    gustoFX35 Member

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    How would this look on a 2005 FX35 OEM radio? They are different you know.
     
  16. wlvrn97

    wlvrn97 Member

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    SO if you already have and are using the factory satellite radio, then this is a no go?
    You can't use this and keep your sat radio?? Is there not a way to switch like the usa spec?
     
  17. OP
    OP
    SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    Same as the readout for factory SAT in those years I would assume, since all these interfaces do is act like the factory SAT module. The Nav models had the color LCD like the 06-08 models tho, so no difference there.


    ---
    - Sent from my Jailbroken Verizon iPhone
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  18. OP
    OP
    SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    Correct, there is no way (with the harness provided) to keep factory SAT with the MediaBridge.

    You could see how it compares to the USA Spec harness and try to add that pass-through connector on the SAT harness. That may let it function like the USA Spec and connect the factory SAT when you disconnect the iPod. I haven't investigated this so there could be more to it than that.


    ---
    - Sent from my Jailbroken Verizon iPhone
     
  19. Sharkfin

    Sharkfin Member

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    Nice writeup, I'm considering buying an FX this week and refuse to buy one without a solid Ipod connection option. Too bad it's $299, but that's the price you get for new tech.

    So where do you mount your iphone? got any more pictures?

    Also, what kind of custom Nav/TV stuff are you doing?
     
  20. OP
    OP
    SteadiFX

    SteadiFX Member

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    Here's a sneak peak of my project, only possible thanks to the MediaBridge being released. (I went through a lot of trial and error in the process, and bought equipment that I didn't need or that didn't work)

    I'll do a full how-to on the install as soon as I tie up some loose ends with switches and aux inputs..

    SteadiFX_iPhoneTV.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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