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Two recommended apps for Tesla owners

If you're a Tesla owner, perhaps you'll find these apps as useful as I have…

The first is a macOS app called Tesla Tunes that overcomes some limitations of Tesla's USB music player: It automatically converts Apple Lossless (which the Tesla can't play) into FLAC, which the Tesla can play, and it offers some rudimentary support for playlists, which aren't supported at all in Tesla's player.

It's quite old, having been last updated two years ago, but it still works well—I prefer USB to streaming over Bluetooth from my phone, which is the other option.

The second app, tesla_dashcam, is a Python (command line) app that can run on macOS, Windows, or Linux, and it greatly simplifies dealing with Tesla's strange dashcam movie storage methods. When you save a clip from the dashcam, the last 10 minutes of footage are written to the drive. They're stored in a very strange manner, however: Each of the four cameras (front, both sides, and back) has its own movie track, and those tracks are only one minute long.

The 10-minute clip is thus broken across 40 separate files, and combining them requires using a video editing tool of some sort. Or it did. With tesla_dashcam, you just pass it the folder containing the movie clips, specify some optional parameters, then wait a bit…

tesla_dashcam --layout PERSEPECTIVE /path/to/saved/clip

Processing is relatively quick (it uses hardware acceleration when available), and the end result is a single merged movie file, like this…

(That one was created with the Perspective setting, hence the angles on the side video footage.)

If you want to actually use your dashcam footage for anything, tesla_dashcam is a must-have.

Oh, and you may be wondering about the low quality color in all but the rear view camera. Tesla's cameras are primarily for the autopilot system, and in my car, all but the backup camera are actually monochrome with a red filter—they fake the colors using that red filter. I could apparently replace the side cameras (but not the front) with full-color versions if I were so inclined.

3 Comments

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  1. Hi Rob,
    I sent this article to a Tesla Owner and she said the apps were not in the app store... are they just android?

    Thank you

  2. Sorry, these are Mac (or Windows) apps, not mobile apps. Tesla Tunes helps create a useful USB music drive, and tesla_dashcam converts footage from a USB drive into usable movies.

    I'll clarify in the text.

    -rob.

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