Manufacturer Specific Media-In Ports

The Basics

What are they?

A few car manufacturers fit specialist digital media inputs in their vehicles (sometimes as options). These inputs require specialist cables that connect to the media input. They then have varying connections on the other end, including USB, Apple 30-pin connectors or AUX-IN jacks (3.5mm).

Media inputs provide a varying range of functionality depending on the cable and device used. As you might expect if you connect using the AUX cable you can only transfer audio (just like AUX inputs). If you connect an iPhone using the cable with an Apple 30-pin connector, you can often connect, charge and play audio from your phone.

What do they look like?

These inputs are normally rectangular and around 2cm long. You can see some examples below from Audi, Mercedes and Seat:

In cars where they are fitted they are normally labelled as a music or media interface. You can see the exact names in the table below. Please note that not all cars from the below manufacturers will have specialist media inputs.

Manufacturer

  • Audi
  • Jaguar, Land Rover & Range Rover
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Seat
  • SKODA
  • Volkswagen

Name of Port

  • Audi Music Interface (AMI)
  • iPod Interface Socket
  • Media Interface Port
  • Media Input
  • Mobile Device Interface (MDI)
  • Multi-Device Interface (MDI)

What cables will I need?

You will need a specialist media-interface cable compatible with both your car and media player. These cables will have a connection for your car's media input on one end and then can have a variety of different connections for your device on the other. These often include:

USB connections

(for USB memory sticks or possibly non-apple media players.)

iPod 30-pin dock connections

(for Apple devices, latest devices may need lightning adapter)

3.5mm AUX connections

(for any device with a headphone socket)

Unfortunately getting the right cable can be a bit of a challenge. Generally car manufacturers sell their own official cables for their models, so one option is to just go to your local dealer (some of which have online shops these days). There are also aftermarket versions available online on Amazon and eBay. There can be compatibility issues however so we would always recommend carefully reading the description / reviews to see if they mention your specific models.

Compatibility

Will it work with my iPod, iPhone, iPad, smartphone, mp3 player or tablet?

You can connect pretty much any media player to one of these inputs via AUX through a 3.5mm - Media In cable (but the device will not integrate with your car controls or charge). You should be able to connect most USB sticks via USB through a USB - Media In cable. You can also normally connect iPods / iPhones via the Media In cable with the Apple connector (although you may need a 30 pin dock - lightning adapter for the latest Apple devices).

Which cars have specialist media inputs?

These inputs are commonly found on Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Skoda, Seat and Volkswagen models (sometimes only fitted at certain trim levels or as options). Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover also fitted iPod interface sockets on some of their models between 2009 and 2012.

Functionality

Which of my devices' features can I use?

Again it depends on the cable and device you are using the media input with. If you are connecting via a 3.5mm input cable, you get the same functionality as with an AUX input. If you're connecting a USB memory stick via the USB cable you will get the same functionality described in the USB section. If you are connecting an Apple device via the apple connector, you will generally be able to control, charge and play audio from your device.

Will I be able to see information from my device on my car display?

If you have connected your device to your media input via a USB or Apple connector cable then yes. If you have connected via a 3.5mm AUX input cable then no.

What if I want to make phone calls?

Most cars with media inputs will also have Bluetooth® fitted to use for phone calls. Normally you can use both in tandem, so you can play music through the media input but make and answer phone calls hands-free via Bluetooth.

Will I be able to select the music being played using my car's controls?

If you have connected your device to your media input via a USB or Apple connector cable then yes, you can use your car's controls. If you have connected via a 3.5mm AUX input cable then you will not be able to.

Will it charge my mp3 player / smartphone?

If you have connected your device to your media input via a USB or Apple connector cable then you will be able to charge your device.

Summary

Specialist media inputs can be a good way to connect your device to your car, although your experience will depend on which type of Media Interface cable you use. It can be tricky to find the correct cables, but normally a dealer can help you find the right one!

Pros

  • Can integrate some devices with car controls and transfer track information to car display.
  • Can charge some devices.
  • Can potentially play music from USB memory sticks which can be left in your car.

Cons

  • Requires correct cable for your media device and car.
  • Functionality is lost if you connect your device via a 3.5mm headphone jack cable.
  • May not support playback from apps on media players.

Products that may be of interest

Official Mercedes Media Interface Cable Kit

Read More

There can be compatibility issues with media interface cables so we would always recommend reading the description & reviews, or contacting the seller.

Aftermarket Mercedes Media Interface Cable - Apple 30 Pin

There can be compatibility issues with media interface cables so we would always recommend reading the description & reviews, or contacting the seller.

Aftermarket Audi & VW Media Interface Cable - Apple 30 pin

There can be compatibility issues with media interface cables so we would always recommend reading the description & reviews, or contacting the seller.

Aftermarket Audi & VW Media Interface Cable - USB

There can be compatibility issues with media interface cables so we would always recommend reading the description & reviews, or contacting the seller.

Aftermarket Audi, VW , Seat and Skoda Media Interface Cable - Micro USB

There can be compatibility issues with media interface cables so we would always recommend reading the description & reviews, or contacting the seller.

Aftermarket Media Interface Cable for Jaguar, Land Rover - Apple 30 pin

There can be compatibility issues with media interface cables so we would always recommend reading the description & reviews, or contacting the seller.

Apple Lightning - 30 Pin
Adapter

This adapter can potentially be used to connect devices with the newer lightning connector to older 30 pin dock connector cables. Please check compatibility with your car manufacturer.