These recent years, it seems as if more and more cars are being equipped with car video devices like DVD players and navigation systems. No longer simply a means of transportation for getting from point A to point B, the automobile has become more like a multimedia experience on wheels.
In this our buyer’s guide, we’ll take a look at what’s offered in the world of car video and navigation systems so you can discover a solution that satisfies your needs while fitting within your budget.
Car Video Systems
Car video has become one of the fastest growing aftermarket buys, particularly among drivers who have children. Rather than being relentlessly pounded with the nerve-wracking question “Are we there yet?” the modern parent-driver is more likely to hear, “What can I watch next?”
While car video is one of the most in-demand accessories on new vehicles or mini-van purchases, it’s not new. For many years, built-in VHS players were offered for certain models of vans, but they didn’t last because of their bulky size and less-than-perfect play. Ever since the introduction of DVDs, though, car video has gotten streamlined and virtually unnoticeable in most cars until the device is in use.
Classes of Car Video Systems
In-dash DVD players-An in-dash DVD player is permanently mounted in the vehicle’s dashboard, and depending on the brand and model, it may even take the place of the existing car stereo. Some higher-end in-dash DVD players feature a built-in or motorized screen that lets the person sitting in the passenger seat to enjoy the show as well, but the more economical versions do not feature a dashboard display.
Under-seat DVD players-Under-seat DVD players are conveniently and inconspicuously mounted under one of the vehicle’s seats. This type is controlled by a wireless remote, and depending on the model of car, the DVD player may be able to simply be plugged into the existing in-dash stereo for sound through the car’s speaker system.
Portable DVD players-Portable DVD players make it possible for each of your passengers to see his or her own DVD, and because the units are portable, they can be taken out and taken with you. Portable DVD players typically lands in tablet and laptop styles, and car mountable bags are offered that will allow for hands-free viewing.
Car DVD multi-disc changers-A vehicle DVD multi-disc changer is like a CD changer but for DVDs. The typical multi-DVD changer holds either six or ten DVDs and is often installed in the dashboard; however, there are under-seat models available. This type of car DVD player is best suited for the family that enjoys long trips during which swapping out DVDs can prove to be a hassle.
Types of Vehicle Video Monitors
Car video monitors typically land in two varieties-flip-down monitors and headrest monitors.
Many flip-down monitors display their own independent built-in DVD players so all that’s needed is a power source and a stable installation spot. When your child is done watching a DVD, the monitor can be folded up into the mounted unit so it’s out of the way. Screen size can equally vary, with most models featuring monitors ranging between 5.6 inches and 20 inches.
Headrest monitors are often smaller in size, as they have to fit within the confines of the headrest, but they eliminate the requirement for installing a sometimes large flip-down monitor assembly. These types of monitors are often available as perfect vehicle-specific headrest replacements or universal headrest replacements. Another type of headrest monitor can be mounted into the existing headrest, but installation needs the experience of a professional.