Although many vehicles come with stock DVD players these days, they don’t always deliver the level of performance consumers want. And sometimes, an aftermarket installation is the only option when your vehicle doesn’t come equipped with on-board entertainment.
Fortunately, there are plenty of flip down dvd players for cars that will keep everyone in the backseat entertained. Here are our top five choices for the best overhead dvd player available.
Editor’s Choice Flip Down Monitor For Car
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Best Overhead DVD Player Reviews
1. Rockville RVD10HD-BK Flip Down Monitor
Installation might be a bear, but once it’s in, the Rockville flip-down DVD player delivers features that make viewing a pleasure.
The screen is high resolution, there are multiple ways to watch (and play), and the added lights are a welcome feature given you might be cutting off your vehicle’s dome lights to install the player.
A 10.1-inch monitor with HDMI and USB capabilities, the Rockville RVD10HD-BK has high resolution and all the DVD player features users will need. The resolution measures 1024×600, and compatibility spans all types of DVDs and CDs, including MP4s.
You can install the unit in nearly any vehicle, and it comes with built-in dome lights and LED trim, which helps with visibility if you’re removing interior dome lights to fit the DVD player in.
There are multiple sources for entertainment, including a pre-loaded game disc, but although there are HDMI, USB, and SD Card inputs, don’t expect to play movies from USB sources. It might be memory size issues, but some users reported USB movies don’t play.
Installation can also prove challenging, as the instructions may not be as clear as most DIYers would hope for. It could take a few hours to install the DVD player, or you can opt for a professional installation to save yourself the headache.
One drawback that passenger viewers might not appreciate is that the DVD player doesn’t retain its memory when the vehicle shuts off. You must restart the movie (or game) each time the car turns back on, which can frustrate smaller passengers in particular.
Viewing quality is decent, but if you have a third row, it’s possible those in the far back may not have a good view.
When looking at the unit from an angle, the screen appears dark, making it difficult to enjoy the show. However, this is a plus in that it doesn’t distract the driver.
2. Sound Storm S13.3BGT 13.3 Inch Car Monitor
Limited USB and SD card compatibility are drawbacks of this unit, but if you’re looking for a solid DVD player type performance, it delivers on that aspect.
The large screen size is excellent for backseat viewing, and integrated dome lights help to replace the ones you may have had to remove.
Sound Storm’s S13.3BGT has a monitor that measures 13.3 inches and includes a remote, headphone input, built-in speakers, and USB, SD, and AV connectivity. Resolution measures 1920×1080, ensuring a decent picture when viewing videos.
The unit supports USB and SD cards up to 32GB for both music and video playback, which adds to its versatility. However, some users specify that the only format of video that works is AVI. Rather than MP4 or other easily accessible formats, you will likely need to convert any existing videos to AVI, then transfer them to a USB drive or SD card.
For audio, you can either use the built-in speaker, wire the unit’s sound into your car stereo, connect wireless headphones, or use wired headphones via the audio jack. AV output also allows for additional screens to join, making it easier to share viewing with multiple passengers.
However, the size of the screen can potentially block the driver’s sight in the rear view mirror. Of course, that’s a decent trade-off given the size of the unit. Still, it’s something to keep in mind, especially if your vehicle has limited rear view visibility overall.
Installation can be frustrating, especially given the murky instructions that come with the player. However, one perk is that the device comes with three interchangeable covers to match the interior of your vehicle.
But you may need to plan on purchasing extra hardware or making modifications to your vehicle’s interior to ensure things work properly.
3. PYLE PLRD92 9-Inch DVD Player :
The resolution is the least appealing aspect of PYLE’s DVD player, but it’s the last of our worries.
With a tilting screen, IR headphone capabilities, and multiple radio channel options for the in-car audio, PYLE’s trim unit has all the features you need in a basic overhead DVD player.
The remote is a bit complicated, but everything else is streamlined and accessible.
PYLE’s PLRD92 DVD player has a mid-size 9-inch screen, a resolution of 640×234 pixels, and a flexible viewing screen that involves a 140-degree range. A wireless remote comes with the package, and you can connect headphones via wireless input or A/V jacks or use the vehicle’s radio system to play sound.
For wireless headphones, there’s no Bluetooth, so audio relies on IR technology. Infrared Wireless headphones require line of sight connectivity, however, so that’s an important consideration for larger vehicles especially.
Fortunately, you can find inexpensive IR headphones that will work satisfactorily, and those are a must for parents who want their kids to enjoy movies while on the road.
USB and SD card inputs enable video viewing from sources other than a DVD, but you can also attach an iPod or video game console via the RCA inputs. Last position memory is helpful for many applications, but it’s an especially desirable feature for DVD viewing.
The compact size helps preserve headspace in your vehicle and doesn’t block the driver’s line of sight. However, the trade-off is a smaller screen, albeit a flexible one.
The swivel design helps ensure everyone can see the screen adequately, something that’s often important to parents!
An included remote means backseat passengers can operate the DVD system, but the functions are complicated and possibly more trouble than they’re worth. Also, getting a clear signal via the vehicle radio audio can be a challenge, but the ability to change stations to achieve clarity is a helpful feature.
4. XTRONS 13.3 Inch HD DVD Player :
With the included IR headphones and superb screen quality, the XTRONS DVD player is truly a plug-and-play system.
The ability to play video games or load movies via USB or SD is fantastic, and the only drawback we can see is that it doesn’t have position memory—a feature that would otherwise make it the perfect system.
XTRONS offers a 13.3-inch DVD player with HD functions and a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The screen also rotates 120 degrees, meaning visibility is a significant feature.
A built-in HDMI port allows you to connect alternative devices, and two pairs of included IR headphones make listening even simpler.
SD and USB compatibility make it easy to enjoy favorite movies that come from digital sources. However, there is a limit of 32GB for input, and movie files should be under 4GB each, per the manufacturer.
Phone integration is also available, letting passengers play games via the DVD player screen and using their phone as a controller. However, this feature requires additional equipment, including an HDMI adapter and connection cables.
Also, 32-bit games are compatible with the unit, so you can take video games on the road, too. A built-in FM modulator helps ensure crisp audio if you’re using the vehicle speakers, but there’s a built-in speaker on the player, too.
Installation can be a breeze, but some customers reported receiving either incomplete instructions or none at all. For those with electrical or car stereo experience, that might not be a challenge, but the lack of support from XTRONS is frustrating for the rest of us.
For a screen this size, the capabilities of the device are fantastic, but audio quality is lacking a bit. It seems that the built-in FM modulator doesn’t help eliminate interference and static, which can be frustrating for both viewers and the driver, requiring headphones at the very least.
5. Power Acoustik PT-110CM 11.2-Inch Ceiling Monitor
If you already own multiple devices and equipment—smartphones, gaming systems, laptops, tablets—you can’t go wrong with a universal viewing screen like Power Acoustik’s.
Plus, IR headphone compatibility allows drivers to concentrate on the road rather than backseat noise. Of course, some consumers prefer built-in DVD units that standalone, so this pick wouldn’t be right for those folks.
The first thing to note about the Power Acoustik PT-110CM monitor is that it’s not a DVD player. Rather, it’s a universal ceiling monitor, a drop down screen with an AV input cable so you can play whatever content you want on the screen.
The screen itself swivels, and the included remote turns the power off and on and allows you to customize the swivel settings. Three separate color skins let you customize the appearance of the unit to blend in with your vehicle’s interior (grey, black, and beige), and the unit is compact and streamlined for good looks.
The resolution is a comparatively low 800 x 600 pixels, but for most applications, it’s certainly adequate, and the 11.2-inch screen size means no one will be straining to see it.
But possibly the biggest perk is the fact that you can connect nearly any device to the screen. Whether you want to set up a video game system, a smartphone, a DVD player, or even a laptop or tablet, you can mirror the screen with this monitor.
Therefore, any device with an AV output is compatible, allowing you to bring games, movies, music, and more along for the ride.
As long as you have a power source for your equipment (including the vehicle’s power outlets), you can play whatever you and your passengers want. And, the audio supports IR headphones, so you don’t have to use the vehicle’s audio for passengers to enjoy their media.
Whether it’s a full-featured DVD player with add-ons or a basic ceiling monitor to connect to your existing devices, in-vehicle entertainment systems are a luxury that we all want. Whether it’s to keep kids in the back quiet or to pass the time while on the road, being able to watch DVDs and videos or play games in the car is a novelty we haven’t quite gotten over.
And with these top picks for in-car overhead DVD players, getting your media on the road is more accessible than ever. Of course, the unit you choose will depend on a variety of factors, including the existing wiring setup and the amount of headspace you have.
But even with vehicles that feature a sunroof, if there’s a will, there’s a way you can get on-the-road entertainment with all the features you want.
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