Netflix and charge: Musk says Tesla touchscreens to finally get video streaming

Netflix and charge: Musk says Tesla touchscreens to finally get video streaming

Elon Musk confirms that version 10 of the Tesla operating system will allow video streaming on the dashboard display

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The huge dashboard touchscreen is always a talking point on any Tesla journey. It has a web browser, a media player with Spotify, a huge Google Maps-powered navigation system, and pages of attractive menus and settings screens.

But, ever since the Model S arrived in 2012, playing video on the display has been forbidden. Of course, while the vehicle is in motion this makes perfect sense — videos playing on the screen would distract the drive. To solve this, they simply don't load at all. The only video which can be seen is a feed from the rear parking camera.

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Tesla drivers, however, spend time filling their batteries at Supercharger stations — so why, they ask, can't they watch videos there, when the car is safely parked and attached to the charger?

Now, Tesla boss Elon Musk says video streaming will be coming with Version 10 of the car operating system. This is good news, but owners could be in for a lengthy wait — Version 9 is due in the next few weeks, but comes almost two years after Version 8.

Musk revealed the upcoming feature on Twitter when he was asked: "Any chance of getting video streaming (Netflix, YouTube) to watch while charging?" The CEO replied simply: "Version 10."

Tesla drivers will hope video streaming comes to all vehicles, including the Model S and Model X, but this feature makes most sense on the Model 3, which has a 15-inch touchscreen that is horizontal — unique in today's Tesla lineup. The screen's 1920 x 1200 resolution also makes it ideal for watching Full HD content, which measures 1920 x 1080.

The cars already have a free cellular internet connection for maps and streaming Spotify, but it isn't known if owners would be able to stream video (and thus use considerably more data) for free, or if they would be charged. It would make sense for this fee to be included with the cost of using a Supercharger.

What's more, with Tesla planning to bring fully autonomous driving to its cars in the future, streaming content could eventually be viewed while on the open road — assuming local laws are adjusted when/if full autonomy without human supervision becomes reality.

Before video streaming arrives, Version 9 of Tesla's software will — according to Musk — include a range of classic Atari video games, which can be played while the car is parked. Going a step further, Musk wants to make it possible to play racing games using the car's actual controls — while parked, of course.

With these updates, the often boring process of waiting for a Tesla to charge (which can take up to around 45 minutes) will be livened up with video games and movies. Earlier this year, Musk announced plans to turn Supercharger stations into "old-school drive-in" restaurants, with food delivered to cars by staff on roller skates.

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