Empeg is the original name of the premier in-car MP3 player. Unlike most such devices, it does not keep its music on burned CD-ROMs, but, rather, in one or two hard drives within the unit itself. It is a fully contained single-DIN unit, requiring only an external amplifier. It does not come with a tuner, but an external module is available. It runs a small Linux operating system on an ARM processor and features a (relatively) large VFD display.

The Empeg started life as Hugo Fiennes (hfiennes)'s Intel-based mp3mobile in 1998. By late 1999, there was enough interest that he had started a company to produce a commercialized version. This version had four front-panel buttons, an RS232 serial port, and a 10Mbps Ethernet port. In June 2000, the first Mark 2 Empegs were shipped. This version added a USB port and a front-panel rotary knob. In November 2000, SonicBLUE purchased Empeg and renamed the product RioCar to coincide with their Rio line of MP3 players. In September 2001, SonicBLUE discontinued the RioCar product.

Since being discontinued, the development team at SonicBLUE have made various releases and Mark Lord regularly updates his Hijack kernel updates for extra functionality.

An online community has built up around the empeg and as only 4000(ish) were ever made, this keeps things fairly exclusive, although after the closeout price cuts, the percentage of hardened tech-heads has dropped.

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