How to Buy a Car DVD Player


In recent years with the prices of airline tickets growing at astronomical rates, many families are choosing to drive rather than fly to save money. While road trips can be fun and offer families a chance to bond, taking a trip with kids in a confined area for several hours at a time can leave parents feeling like they need another vacation once the trip is over. One way to keep the kids and other passengers entertained during a long drive is to install a car DVD player. In recent years, many new SUVs and vans have been outfitted with DVD and video systems that can be used for both entertainment and for safety.

There are several options available when choosing a car DVD player, but the deciding factor for choosing a DVD player is usually the price. Car DVD players range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars for integrated video systems with surround sound. Below are a few options for those wishing to purchase a car with a DVD system or for those who are interested in retrofitting their current car.

Budget Option

The cheapest and easiest solution for installing a car DVD player is to purchase a portable DVD player. These players are relatively inexpensive and can be mounted to the car dashboard or held in the hand for ultimate portability. These portable players have built in speakers and LCD screens, requiring no installation. Kits can be bought to plug the audio into the car’s speakers and to power the device through a cigarette lighter.

In-Dash Players

For those wishing to spend a bit more money, in-dash DVD players and video monitors are an excellent option. These video systems can be integrated into any dash board opening. In-dash DVD players typically include standard 6-7 inch wide LCD screens attached to small receiver bases that control the whole video system. In addition to playing DVD movies for entertainment, these video systems can also be configured to include a GPS system for navigation as well as rear back-up cameras for safety. Buyers will want to purchase an in-dash system that has multi-zone capability. Multi-zone capability allows the audio and video signal from the unit to be broadcast to other parts of the car, allowing the main in-dash screen to be used for something else. For example, if a driver wants to use the GPS system and play a DVD for the kids who are in the backseat, a multi-zone system allows for that. The in-dash screen will display the GPS information while the receiver sends the DVD picture and audio to monitors and wireless headphones located in the backseat.

Ceiling Mounted DVD Systems

One bad thing about in-dash players is that they are hard to see from the backseat and from the third row seats in vans and SUVs that have them. One way to provide maximum viewing angles for all backseat passengers is to install a ceiling mounted DVD player. These DVD players are mounted in the roof of the car between the two front seats. These screens are larger than in-dash LCD screens and can be folded up for easy storage. The DVD unit is usually integrated into the monitor or installed under a seat or in a central control panel. Not only do ceiling mounted systems play DVDs, but they can also be hooked up to video gaming systems and laptops with the proper wires. Ceiling mounted DVD systems usually require professional installation and are more expensive than in-dash players.

Headrest DVD Players

Headrest video monitors are installed directly to or on top of the front seat headrests of a car. These monitors can be bought in pairs. Headrest monitors need to be directly tied into an in-dash DVD player or into a central control console in order to receive a DVD feed. One drawback to a headrest DVD player and monitor is that it can’t be seen by all passengers in the car.


DVD players for cars are no longer luxury items. Prices have come down considerably in recent years, making in-car entertainment a feature than everyone can enjoy.

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