What Are The Best Car Headrest DVD Players of 2019?
Road trips create fun memories which kids will remember for the rest of their lives. But, as a parent, you can only hear, “Are we there yet?” so many times. Fortunately, technology has made road trips more fun than ever before.
With a headrest DVD player, kids in the backseat can watch their favorite movies and shows. Plus, the players are simple to set up and easy to operate. Check out our complete guide to buying, installing, and using a headrest DVD player. We’ve also listed our favorite players for 2019 below:
- Our #1 Pick – UEME Portable DVD Player with Headrest Mount Holder
- Our #2 Pick – Headrest DVD Player by eRapta
- Our #3 Pick – 10.1″ Car Headrest DVD Player by Pumpkin
- Our #4 Pick – Naviskauto 10.1″ Dual Screen DVD Player
- Our #5 Pick – Rockville Black Cat Headrest Monitors with DVD Player
- Our #6 Pick – 10.1″ HD Digital and DVD Carp Player from Vk
- Headrest DVD Players FAQ
- What are Headrest DVD Players?
- What Size Screen Should the Player Have?
- What Content Do You Want to Play?
- What Sounds Do You Want to Hear?
- Vehicle’s Sound System
- What Features Does the Player Need?
- Remote Control
- Region Locking
- Screen Resolution
- Are Headrest DVD Players the Same as Portable DVD Players?
- How Do I Install and Use a Headrest DVD Player?
- Mounting a DVD Player
- Installing the DVD Player
- Using the DVD Player
- Final Thoughts
Our #1 Pick – UEME Portable DVD Player with Headrest Mount Holder
A durable, large DVD player with high resolution, a rechargeable battery, anti-shock features, and a unique cloth mounting device.
- Large screen with high resolution
- Easy-to-install, secure canvas mounting case
- Includes USB port and SD slot
- Anti-shock design helps prevent skipping
- Cloth case not as secure as a metal mounting system
You won’t miss a single scene on this 10.1-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1024 by 600. It has a USB port and SD slot capable of supporting MP3, MPEG4, a variety of DVD types and much more. There’s no region locking on either DVDs or CDs.
It’s great for long trips on uneven terrain thanks to the lightweight design and built-in anti-shock systems. Plus, it’s powered by a rechargeable lithium battery which can be charged by a wall outlet or car charger.
The mount holder is a bit different than the others on our list. It’s a canvas case with two straps. It buckles securely into the headrest where it can be rotated or flipped. While canvas mounts aren’t always the best option, this one is durable, reliable, and easy to use.
Our #2 Pick – Headrest DVD Player by eRapta
A headrest DVD player with multiple input jacks, crystal-clear resolution, and support for multiple video sources.
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- Quick, easy installation
- Large, colorful screen
- Includes HDMI, SD and USB ports
- Doesn’t play Blu-Ray or HD DVD
eRapta’s DVD player is a great all-purpose choice for families who want a high-quality DVD player which is easy to install and use. It includes HDMI, USB and SD ports so you can plug in just about any common media device. Plus, the 1080P resolution provides a bright, vivid picture.
Installing the player is fast and easy. It has a spring-loaded design; compress the spring to fit the durable plastic holder between the steel frames of the headrest. It requires no Velcro, tools or permanent changes to your seat.
You can hardwire the power for a factory look. However, using the included cigarette lighter plug is far easier, even though wires will be visible.
Our #3 Pick – 10.1″ Car Headrest DVD Player by Pumpkin
A region-free player with an HDMI input, tons of built-in audio options, and a secure, easy-to-install mountable holder.
- Large screen suitable for the entire back of the car
- The mounting system is adjustable and secure
- Multiple media input ports
- Built-in wireless audio
- DVD will likely skip if the player is bumped
Don’t want limits on what you can watch? Pumpkin’s DVD player features region-free coding along with an HDMI input and a built-in USB/SD card slot. You can easily connect a computer, phone, Xbox, and more. It supports all HDMI protocol below version 1.4.
Audio options are varied. Built-in FM and IR transmitters let you transmit audio to the car’s sound system or any standard wireless IR headphones. The screen is a large 10.1 inches.
A unique flip-design lets kids change DVDs easily even when the player is mounted to the seat. Plus, movies resume playing at the last pause point even after the power’s been turned off and the disc removed.
A two-monitor DVD system which can play for up to three hours on a rechargeable battery.
- Includes one player with two 10.1″ monitors
- Rechargeable battery allows for wire-free play times
- Includes wireless remote
- Headrest straps aren’t as secure as a metal mount
- The small remote control can be easy to lose
Forget the wires. Naviskauto’s dual-screen DVD runs for three hours on the rechargeable Li-ion battery (or a single screen can run for five hours). With two monitors, kids can have their own screens. The host DVD player sends the image simultaneously to both monitors.
Don’t want to deal with audio wires, either? The player includes built-in dual speakers which are much higher quality than most standard DVD players. While the sound won’t fill the car, it’ll work fine for anyone facing the screen directly.
The unit includes a built-in USB port, SD card slot, and DVD slot. A wireless remote control lets you play, pause, and perform other basic functions. The included headrest straps aren’t particularly fancy or shock-resistant, but they will hold the unit securely.
Our #5 Pick – Rockville Black Cat Headrest Monitors with DVD Player
Rockville’s kit includes two small but high-quality monitors with built-in FM transmission with secure headrest mounts with everything needed for secure installation.
- Dual-monitor system
- Monitors are mounted directly into headrests
- Includes inputs for HDMI, USB, SD, and smart devices
- Replaces existing headrests
- Power must be wired into the car
While setting up the kit requires a bit more time and effort than the other players on our list, there’s a lot to like in Rockville’s dual-monitor system. It has inputs for HDMI, USB, SD, and even Android and iPhone. The seven-inch screens have a clear display with digital panels.
The headrests fit directly into your seats, replacing your existing ones. They’re adjustable from four to seven inches. Made from high-quality leatherette, they’re designed to blend in with the finish of your vehicle (although you’ll need to match the color carefully).
Note that you’ll need to install the power and ground wires. While not a terribly complicated process, it does require some mechanical aptitude.
Our #6 Pick – 10.1″ HD Digital and DVD Carp Player from Vk
An ultra-thin player with high-quality wireless headphones and a variety of input ports for digital media devices.
- The 10.1-inch monitor is ultra-thin
- Includes wireless IR headphones
- Includes inputs for HDMI, USB, SD and more
- The spring-loaded mount can be difficult to install
Even though it’s ultra-thin, it’s still packed with features. Vk’s player features a 10.1-inch screen, a USB port, SD slot, and more. It connects to practically every major media device, including smartphones for almost unlimited viewing options.
The audio is top-of-the-line. A built-in FM transmitter sends audio directly into the sound system. Additionally, the player includes a pair of wireless IR headphones.
Headrest DVD Players FAQ
What are Headrest DVD Players?
Also called “car DVD players,” headrest DVD players are portable players which attach to the back of a vehicle’s front seats, where they’re viewable to passengers sitting in the back.
Headrest DVD players are popular with families during road trips. Kids can be entertained during the long hours of the drive by watching their favorite flicks and shows.
Even though they’re called “headrest DVD players,” they usually do much more than play DVDs. Most players you can buy today have input ports so you can attach a smart device to play digital media.
Car players range from fairly basic models to ones packed with features. The fanciest, most feature-packed players aren’t always the best. Instead, consider your specific needs when shopping.
What Size Screen Should the Player Have?
Generally, screens will range between seven and 10 inches. A seven-inch screen is usually fine for a single viewer. But if multiple passengers will view the same screen, a nine or 10-inch is the better option.
Most sets include two screens. Individual screens hanging from the back of each front seat is usually the best option for situations with multiple backseat passengers. Note that the same device controls the two separate screens, so they’ll show the same video.
Buying a player with a single screen is only recommended if you have one child. Trying to watch a screen affixed to the back of the seat not in front of you can be an annoying experience.
If you have multiple kids sitting two or more rows back, consider a large screen mounted in the middle. A large, ceiling-mounted screen can be a great option for vans or buses. Just make you can still safely see traffic behind you when driving.
What Content Do You Want to Play?
Now, we don’t want to make any of you parents feel old, but some younger kids have never even seen a DVD! Although you can still find DVDs for sale, streaming revenue surpassed DVD sales in 2015 and has remained the more popular movie-watching method ever since.
If you own a lot of digital movies and TV shows, choose a car player which connects to your preferred digital device. For the widest range of options, you’ll want HDMI, USB and SD ports.
Connecting the player to another device lets you transfer more than movies. The player can also play music files or display photos.
Most headrest players made within the past few years probably have the ports needed to play most digital media. But always check the input specs carefully before buying. DVDs grow increasingly obsolete every year, so you’ll want a player able to play your preferred media in the future.
What Sounds Do You Want to Hear?
There are two different way to play the sound from a headrest player:
Save yourself from “Let It Snow.” With headphones, the driver and passenger in the front don’t have to hear whatever those in the back are listening to. There are two types of headphones:
- Wired headphones are the most common. A wire runs from the headphones to the main player or the screen.
- Wireless headsets are less common, and usually cost a bit more, but the lack of wires helps reduce clutter in the car.
Not all players include headphones, but almost all players will have a 3.5mm jack so you can plug in your own pair.
Vehicle’s Sound System
Sometimes it’s more fun for the whole family to enjoy the show together. While headphones are great for private use, most players have two options for routing the sound through your vehicle’s speaker system:
- A line out which plugs into your car’s auxiliary audio port
- A built-in FM transmitter which connects to your car’s audio system
Want to re-create a movie theater sound while on the road? Check out our Electronics section for a wide range of reviews and guides for speakers, sub-woofers and more.
What Features Does the Player Need?
You have a few options to consider:
Most players will have either a wired or wireless remote control. Usually, a wired remote control is the better option. Although a wireless controller does help eliminate clutter, it can also be easy to lose. A wired controller is usually also cheaper than wireless.
Wired or wireless, parents should probably keep the remote up front. A lost remote can ruin all the fun on a long trip.
Some top-of-the-line models have touchscreen controls. While that’s neat in a high-tech way, it’s rarely worth the extra cost. Plus, it’s sometimes not ideal for car use because the passenger might be too far away (and maybe too short, if they’re a kid) to reach forward and touch the screen.
However, touchscreen players don’t have a remote you have to worry about keeping track of. In a few years, players with touchscreens will probably be lower in price than they are now.
Almost all DVDs are region locked. They’ll only play on certain types of players. Each region is usually a country or group of countries. For example, a DVD sold in the U.S. will only play on DVD players also sold in the U.S.
Generally, region locking isn’t a huge deal as long as you plan to stay within the country where you purchased the DVD. But many headrest players are region-free, which means you can play any type of DVD you like. While it’s not a necessary feature for most people, a player without region locking does offer more viewing options.
You’ll find a ton of high-resolution options, especially on high-end models. Truthfully, you don’t need to worry about this too much. DVDs look great at a resolution of 720 by 480. Unless you’re playing a ton of advanced digital media, you can save some bucks by buying a screen with mid-range to low maximum resolution.
A few players also include built-in gaming systems. However, these aren’t PlayStations or Xboxes. They’re usually simple, single-player games.
If your little passengers are big gamers, they’ll probably enjoy a portable gaming device like the Switch far more than they’ll enjoy DVD-player games. If they’re not interested in games already, the games in the player will hardly win them over. You probably don’t want to pay extra for any type of built-in gaming system.
Along these same lines, DVD players don’t have any apps. They can only play video or display images from the player or external device. If you want a more interactive experience for your child, consider a tablet.
Are Headrest DVD Players the Same as Portable DVD Players?
They can be but aren’t always. Portable DVD players are typically housed in a padded case for secure transportation. However, many lightweight, portable players include mounting straps.
Headrest DVD players are secure when mounted in a car. But they can be fragile when loose. Be careful when and how you use a headrest player when it’s not mounted.
How Do I Install and Use a Headrest DVD Player?
Mounting a DVD Player
Installation can vary considerably.
On the high-end, you can insert the DVD player into the back of the headrest. You can then run wires through the seats where they can’t be seen. On the plus side, the player will stylishly blend into the car’s interior. However, installation does require a fairly substantial amount of automotive know-how.
If you’re looking for something simpler, you also have plenty of options. Most headrest DVD players will include some type of mounting apparatus.
The three most common ways to mount a headrest DVD are:
- A plastic or metal holder
- A hanging, fabric holder
- A Velcro or sticky tape holder
The best type of mount is usually a simple device made from metal or durable plastic. In most cases, the fit between the headrest and seat.
Installation typically takes less than 10 minutes. First, you pull the headrest off the seat. If you’ve never done this before, don’t worry. You can’t damage anything.
Next, you’ll connect the holding device to the seat. Some have a spring-mounted contraption which fits between the headrest bars. Others have a sturdy plastic clip which wraps around the bars. Once attached, you replace the headrest to help secure the player in place.
You can also find some cloth contraptions which hold the DVD player. Installation is simple. You slide the handles over the headrest. Removing the headrest usually isn’t necessary. Quality makes all the difference here. A holder made from durable nylon with double-stitching should have no problem keeping the player secure. But cheaper cloth holders are usually unreliable.
You’ll also want to avoid most mounts which use Velcro or sticky tape. They’re not secure enough to hold a player during long road trips. Plus, they can leave behind marks on your upholstery.
Installing the DVD Player
After mounting the player, you’ll need to set it up. Most units will have a power cord which connects to the cigarette lighter. You can also wire it directly to your car’s electric system, although that does require a fair amount of mechanical know-how.
Once powered up, you can connect other devices or start watching DVDs.
Using the DVD Player
Using the player is usually simple and straightforward. Toddlers might need mom and dad’s help operating the remote control, but most elementary-age kids should have no problem using the player on their own.
The DVD player shouldn’t shake or vibrate against the seat. Anyone sitting up front likely won’t feel a thing aside from an occasional jostle when discs are changed by little hands.
The most common problem when using a portable player is inserting the DVD the wrong way into the slot. When the player’s hanging on its side, it can be difficult to tell which way is the top. If you ever encounter a DVD which won’t play, first check to make sure it’s inserted correctly.
The second most common problem is skipping. Unfortunately, to some extent, this is a problem which can’t be avoided completely when using a DVD player in a car. Some roads are too rough and bumpy.
However, if you’re driving in highways and interstates, skipping can be significantly curtailed by anti-shock technology. Plus, a well-made mounting case also helps keep the player level.
Headrest-mounted DVD players used to be a luxury item only found in high-end cars. But today they’re not only affordable for practically any family, but the quality of even the least expensive models is impressive.
When searching for a car-mounted DVD player for your kids, consider screen size, external inputs, ease of use, and the quality of the mounting system.
Road trips with the family are great fun, but not every second in the car is a blast for young kids. A headrest DVD player is a great way to keep kids quiet, content, and engaged during long days in the car.