What playback features through USB in my car system?

I have a new car that will accept USB and ipod connections.  With a USB flash drive I get good listing results, artist, album, track etc. thrugh the cars display.  If I use the Fuze what will I be able to do without touching the Fuze controls? 

Part 2.  Mercedes says the Fuze is one of their compatible devices.  My only reason to get a Fuze or any other player, is to be able to take Rhapsody material to go.  Rhapsody mentions only the Fuze +, but Mercedes only lists the Fuze as compatible.  Do you think this is a real issue between the two versions in these regards?


When you plug in your player through USB in MSC mode, you’re basically turning off all the MP3 player bits in the device and just using it as a USB flash drive, so it will behave as any other USB flash drive. Just be aware that very few car stereo’s are smart enough to handle a flash drive with two disks, so most likely you won’t be able to access the SD card contents on your stereo. Rhapsody content (or any encrypted music) will almost certainly not work through digital out like USB. You’ll need to use the headphone out to an AUX jack or tape adapter if you want to listen to that.

The problem is that the Rhapsody music is copy-protected. It is sent to the Fuze along with hidden codes that lock or unlock it. If your Rhapsody subscription ends, the music will lock up.

Those codes are transferred in MTP mode, one of the two USB modes the Fuze uses. It’s the one that can transfer  DRM (Digital Rights Misery) codes from Windows Media Player or Rhapsody.

The other USB mode, MSC, just makes the Fuze appear as a regular flash drive. That is likely to be the way your car stereo hooks up to the Fuze via USB. If you have been using (under Settings/System Settings/USB Mode) Auto Detect or MTP, the Fuze may look like it has no music on it under MSC mode, because a computer–and probably the car stereo–can only see one mode at a time. And if the car stereo is using the more widely compatible MSC mode, you’re stuck–at least if you want to use USB.

But what exactly does Rhapsody say about compatibility? Because that’s crucial.

However, you do have a headphone jack. Your stereo should have an AUX input. With a simple plug you can connect them, and play everything from your Fuze as if you were playing it through headphones. You will have to crank up the car stereo much louder than when you’re listening to its own radio, and songs won’t display on the car stereo. But that’s probably the only way to hear your Rhapsody stuff.

Thanks both of you for your input.  So Rhapsody offers a half way “to go” product.  I thought I would be able to use the Sansa through the cars controls so I wouldn’t have to manipulate the Sansa, like texting while driving.  I might as well just use a flash drive if this is the way it’s going to work.  So much “sophistication” that isn’t truly functional.  They should include two devices in their “to go” premium plan.  If you buy premium plus you get three, so you are short on the second device with that one. 

It is compatible, but not fully functional.

Before you give up, check with Rhapsody and the car stereo manufacturer. Every stereo is going to be different–and we’re just guessing at what the most common setup is.

Somewhere in the Rhapsody forums or help pages I found out that when you use the USB connection to the car audio, that unit also needs the “keys” to unlock the DRM files.  For whatever reason, you can only pass those on through the earphoone jack which has no device control capability.  Playing that way is like a PEZ dispenser.  No choices in selection. 

Also, I did transfer some tracks from Rhpasody to the Sansa which also has it’s own preloaded tracks and it just shows the track info for an instant and then passes on to the preloaded files.   

I don’t think its even possible for a device to share encryption keys digitally. From Microsoft’s point of view that would be extremely dangerous, someone could download the keys and get free music. The whole point of services like Rhapsody is to prevent you from playing music in ways you aren’t allowed to.