Car DVD Player Buying Guide
What is a Car DVD Player?
Gone are the days of long car rides where the kids had nothing to do but bicker with each other and drive the parents crazy. With advanced technology being what it is today, there are more options than ever before for things for the kids to do in the vehicle, including car DVD players.
Most DVD players can be installed easily and don’t require professional installation. There are several places a car DVD player can be installed:
- Flip down model in the roof
- In dash models
- Back of the Headrest
- Rearview mirror
If you are looking for a car DVD player for the kids, you will more than likely only want to look at headrest and flipdown models as those are the two that are most easily seen from the back seats. Many headrest models come with two monitors, one for each headrest, so more than one child can see what is being played.
Below we have broken down the different features that a good quality car DVD player can have. This information explains what the features are and what the different features provide the user. First we are going to describe in detail the different types of car DVD players that are available and tell you a little bit about each one.
Flip-down DVD Players – This is definitely one of the most often purchased models of car DVD players on the market. These models are attached to the roof of the vehicle in front of the back seats. This is a great place to put them because it offers the easiest and best viewing vantage point for the passengers. A consideration with these models, however, is HOW the DVD player will be attached to the roof of the vehicle.
Head-Rest DVD Players – These DVD players are located on the back of the driver’s and/or passenger’s headrests. These models are perfect for children that want to watch different things, as the dual monitor systems typically offer a way for each one to watch something different if desired. The only drawback to these models is that they are very visible from outside the vehicle which could pose a temptation to those interested in taking them. There are security covers available that can help deter thieves.
Rearview Mirror DVD Players – This is a model that is easy to install but not a real practical spot to put a car DVD player. These models are half screen and half mirror. It is possible to turn the screen off so that the mirror is the only thing visible. The potentially serious issue with rearview mirror DVD players is that the drivers can get distracted and end up watching the movie rather than the road.
In-Dash DVD Players – If there isn’t a lot of room behind the front seats, you have the option of an in-dash car DVD player. These models hook into the front of your dashboard. They are in a box that will need to be installed into your vehicle. In addition to this type of model being a driver distraction, it is also not the most comfortable or convenient spot to watch a movie, especially if there is some distance from the dashboard to the back seats. There are two in-dash DVD player options:
- Single DIN – this model is mounted into the dashboard and only takes up half the space that is usually there. They typically measure about 7” long and 2” high. There is a screen, an amplifier and the DVD player itself. There can be a lot of wiring to do with an in-dash model so you may need to have it professionally installed.
- Double DIN – The double DIN model also has a screen, an amplifier and a player. It is bigger than the Single DIN by 2” on the height. Before getting an in dash car DVD player, be sure to check the dimensions of the space you’ll be installing it and make sure you know the dimensions.
When it comes time to start shopping for a DVD player, there are some things that you need to keep in mind that will help you choose the right car DVD player for your vehicle and your needs. These things include the different formats that are available with that model, the type of screen and especially battery life or what power source it has. There are also bonus features that are usually offered with different models as well that will need to be considered.
Compatible formats – It is important to know what formats the DVD player can handle so you know whether it will play the movies you have. Some models will have the capability to play DVD-R and DVD RW along with any purchased movies you get. Some models also play audio formats. These will include CD, CD-RW, CD-R and MP3.
Screens – DVD screens come in many different sizes. You want to find a DVD player that has a screen large enough to see clearly from the passenger seats but not SO big that it doesn’t fit in the space or becomes a view blocker. Be sure to look for a high resolution screen so you have a good, clear picture. A high resolution screen will have a much better and clearer picture.
Battery Life and Power Source – The battery life of your car DVD player is very important. The longer your battery lasts the less you will have to rely on the car’s power source. You want to find one that has a battery life of at least 6-7 hours. For long trips, you may want to consider getting an extra battery so there is no down time for the passengers.
There are many different features that a car DVD player may offer their customers. Some of these features can be very useful and others may not b e used as often. Determining what your personal needs are is an important step in determining the features that you look for.
Touch Screen Controls – A lot of the in-dash car DVD players have touch screen capability. This allows the driver to pay more attention to the road and less on the screen. A touch screen system is very streamlined and smooth looking and can add elegance and luxury to your entertainment system.
iPod Compatible – Many models offer users the ability to connect the DVD player directly to an iPod. If it has display capabilities, you will be able to see a song library that you can choose from. This is also a great feature in that you can choose from the song list and not be tempted to scroll through a handheld device while driving. It is always the best choice to take care of the music or movie choices before hitting the road unless there is someone in the front passenger seat that can do it while the driver keeps their eyes and attention on the road.
Multi-zone Audio – If your car DVD player offers multi-zone audio you will basically have the equivalent of a mobile entertainment center. These receivers will have extra audio and video inputs and outputs so the driver can play more than one movie or song at a time. They can also hook up a game console as well if desired. The perfect thing about these multi-zone audio systems is that one passenger can watch a movie and the other can play a video game.
Remote control – This is great to give the passengers so they can control the car DVD player from their seats and not have to bother the driver. It works the same way that any remote control works in that it controls the functions and features of the car DVD player.
TV Tuners – Sometimes models will offer many different media formats. These may include DVD, VCD, SVCD, CD-RW, CD-R, WMA, and MP3. Depending on the model, it may even offer a broadcast or satellite TV tuner.
GPS – Navigation systems can be added to the car DVD player that can map locations, give directions and sometimes provide interesting information about popular destinations.
Rear-View Camera – Some car DVD players will have the ability to have a backup camera hooked up to them. This is great for preventing horrible accidents due to blind spots.
Audio/Video Inputs and Outputs – An ideal DVD player will have as many audio/video inputs and outputs as possible. This means you can connect additional devices to the DVD player so they can play games or listen to music or even play on Facebook. A headphone jack can be plugged in to allow the passengers to listen to whatever their chosen entertainment is without disturbing anyone else.
It doesn’t matter if you choose to install a more complex unit that has many components to it or you just choose a simple car DVD player and monitor combo on the roof of the vehicle or headrest, once you have experienced the convenience and enjoyment of having a DVD player in your car you won’t ever want to go back to NOT having one.
They are a great piece of equipment to have in your vehicle especially if you are going to be taking a long trip. With all of the models available, you have an array of choices that can fit your needs, your vehicle and your personal preferences. There are different options in terms of where you will put your car DVD player, the screen size you choose and the resolution as well, there are plenty of different styles and a host of features to consider that will determine what you are able to do with your DVD player.
With all of the information that we have provided for you in this buyer’s guide, you will be able to research your options with confidence and know exactly what the descriptions mean when they talk about the different features the models offer. Shopping can sometimes be a stressful activity if you don’t have the knowledge of the product beforehand. That is why we have provided this buyer’s guide and the three top rated car DVD players.
Even though buying just the right car DVD player for your vehicle may take some time and research on your part, the investment that you have made will be well worth it when you are experiencing a peaceful trip with the kids and they are completely happy and occupied. We are happy to provide Consumers with a lot of the research they would have to do to understand the different models available and what they offer.