Best In-Dash DVD Players: Top Picks for Your Viewing Pleasure
An in-dash DVD player is a great, multifunctional addition to your vehicle.
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In-dash DVD players are one of the many exciting developments in the automotive world in recent years. These multifunctional devices add not only convenience to your center console, but they can also make your car more family-friendly. Finding the right model can be a challenge, so read on to find out everything you need to know about the best car in-dash DVD players.
Why Buy an In-Dash DVD Player?
- Media playback. Passengers can use the in-dash DVD player to watch their choice of videos, from DVDs to YouTube. You can also play MP3 and streaming music via Bluetooth, CD, USB, or SD card, giving you plenty of options for entertainment. Apps like Spotify and Pandora can also be used in addition to the basic car stereo.
- Easy use. The majority of units on the market have a touchscreen display, making them easy and convenient to use. Some even come with hands-free calling to answer phone calls via Bluetooth connectivity. As an added bonus, you’ll also give your car a major, modern upgrade at the same time.
- Built-in navigation. A lot of in-dash DVD players are available with built-in GPS navigation. This is a useful feature if you tend to be on the road a lot and need access to navigation without another device. It also keeps your hands free since you don’t need to pull up a dedicated app on your phone.
- Fun on road trips. If you often go on long trips, you know that they can become a bit dull. With an in-dash DVD player, not only can you play movies and videos for passengers—especially good for keeping kids entertained—you can also play music or the radio.
A single DIN head unit takes up one standard slot in a car’s center console. Common with car radios and stereos, this size is less typical with in-dash DVD players given its two-inch-height limitation. A few models manage to deploy the screen from within the unit, keeping it retracted and out of sight when not in use.
These units are twice as big as single DIN units in terms of height and are ideal for larger center consoles. Thanks to the height, the screen is fixed to the front panel and is easier to see from the back seat. Most units come with an amplifier, a screen, and a DVD player.
Founded in 1938, Pioneer has been around for decades, making high-quality, multifunctional audio products. In-car speakers and players are among their most well-known products. Headquartered in Torrance, California, their bestsellers include the AVH-2300NEX and the AVH-210EX.
For 30 years, BOSS has been a market leader in audio and visual products, manufacturing a number of different models. They continue to innovate great products from their Oxnard, California headquarters. Their top products include the BVC-P9675A and the BV-9963I.
Besides making camcorders and other visual equipment, JVC also makes car entertainment systems that feature the latest and greatest technology. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, JVC has been around for over 80 years. Top products from their line include the KWV140BT and the KW-M24BT.
- $100-$150: At this price, you’ll mostly find smaller, single-DIN units with limited features. Depending on the brand, they might have a touchscreen and navigation system, but these are more common in higher-end models.
- $200-$250: The mid-range offers more bang for your buck. Typical features include navigation systems, high-quality touchscreens, and a variety of media inputs, like Bluetooth and USB.
- Above $300: In this price range, you’ll find many large and small players with a number of high-tech features, including GPS, Bluetooth, and high-resolution screens. The build quality of these options will be significantly better as well.
When comparing models, pay attention to the size of the screen. Most range from six to seven inches, but they do go up to nine inches or more. Large screens, if you have the space, are useful for entertainment and navigation features.
The whole goal of adding an in-dash DVD player is to get some multifunctionality to make your life a little easier. That translates into having many devices connected to the player. Some also have built-in apps that communicate with your smartphone, allowing you to sync your address book or read text messages through text-to-voice. Units compatible with steering-wheel controls also offer another way to access the controls.
Excellent, at-a-glance visibility is what you’re looking for, no matter what size screen you end up choosing. Higher resolutions have sharper images, making the screen easier to see and use.
- Unit size. Consider the amount of space you have in the center console for an in-dash DVD player. Some units will be designed for larger consoles in larger cars. Single DINs fit best in compact cars up to crossovers, while double DINs are better for SUVs, trucks, and other larger vehicles.
- Detachable front. This is a great deterrent for would-be thieves. With any model where the front plate clicks off, you can take the plate with you when you park somewhere. Since the head unit won’t work without the front, this is a great anti-theft deterrent.
- Extra features. Many models come with a number of built-in features and apps. This includes major features, like GPS, a CD player, remote control, and high-end satellite radio, and apps that allow you to control things like your online music from the player directly.
Best In-Dash DVD Players Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best In-Dash DVD Player Overall: Pioneer AVH-4201NEX DVD Player
Pioneer is a name we trust to make quality automotive gear. This double-DIN in-dash DVD player is no exception. The seven-inch WVGA resistive touchscreen offers a great picture quality. With this screen size, your passengers will also be able to view the screen, making it a great option if you want to entertain your kids on road trips. An included surface-mounted rear-view camera is an added safety feature for your vehicle, making hazards easy to see.
Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility makes this an ideal pick if you want to connect a smartphone to enable music and GPS navigation through the phone’s built-in apps. The faceplate is detachable, too, for anti-theft security. Overall, this unit has a couple of different input options to suit your needs.
Despite the advantages, we did notice a drawback or two. The adjustments for brightness and contrast can be difficult to use, which might make the screen hard to view in certain conditions (i.e. bright sunlight vs. nighttime driving). Also, this player tends to have a few different “nag” screens that pop up. It will start Pandora automatically when connecting with a smartphone, for instance, which can be annoying.
Best In-Dash DVD Player Value: JVC KW-V240BT DVD Player
For a great value pick, we selected the JVC KW-V240BT DVD player, which features a six-inch-wide VGA touchscreen. The interface is heavily customizable and supports a number of different user languages. It’s also compatible with Bluetooth, connecting to any type of smartphone.
With its double-DIN size, it fits into a smaller number of vehicles, but most modern consoles do support this size. It also has Bluetooth calling and can connect to two phones at the same time. Featuring a USB port that can charge devices, you’ll never run out of juice on your smartphone again. This model can also be connected to a backup camera, making it truly multifunctional at a great price.
Remember that players like this run on software, so you’ll have to update everything regularly to keep all of the features up-to-date. The only real downsides we noticed were that the sound quality and EQ controls aren’t as good as on some expensive models.
Best In-Dash DVD Player Honorable Mention: Kenwood DDX25BT DVD Player
A great unit for watching videos, this Kenwood player features a wide VGA touchscreen with LED backlighting. The high contrast ratio provides a brighter and clearer visual experience. The clear resistive touch panel is easy to use as well. Parking guides are pre-programmed, meaning any connected backup camera image will display the standard grid.
Android Play and Apple CarPlay are enabled, and smartphones can quickly and easily connect via Bluetooth or USB. A dual-phone connection allows two phones to be connected at once for easy, hands-free operation. The Drive EQ allows you to boost specific frequencies in the sound to create a great listening experience. Compatibility with a number of different audio file formats makes this a great choice for music fans.
Mounting brackets aren’t included in this set, which is a problem if you want to install this one quickly. Keep in mind, this unit is known to have a bit of a lag problem when pulling up certain apps, which can be inconvenient if you need quick access.
Tips for Getting the Most out of Your In-Dash DVD Player
- If your new in-dash DVD player seems laggy after installation, check that the firmware is updated. There may be an update that fixes the issue in the most current version.
- Some units are tricky to use, when it comes to USB connections, and may have dedicated ports for iPhones and Android smartphones.
- Make sure to turn off the DVD player before turning off the car. Some in-dash DVD players will draw enough power so, if left on, they may drain the car’s battery when left parked for a few days.
- In terms of maintenance, in-dash DVD players don’t need much if they’ve been installed properly. You can give it a periodic wipe with a microfiber cloth to get dust and stains from fingerprints off of the touchscreen.
Q: How do I install an in-dash DVD player?
A: It’s best to let a professional handle the installation if you have little experience with this kind of project. Since there is room for error and damage, an experienced professional will know how to get the job done correctly.
Q: How do I get the best GPS signal?
A: If you have a unit with a built-in GPS, you’ll want to place the GPS antenna in a spot where it has a clear view of the sky. We recommend the dash of your car, as this is generally where an antenna has the best view.
Q: Can I fit a double-DIN in-dash DVD player in a small car?
A: It depends on your car. Some smaller cars have a double DIN in the dash, even if there is a single stereo or radio. Look for a blank plate above or below the radio. If one is present, you may have enough room for a double-DIN player.
Our top pick for the best in-dash DVD player is the Pioneer AVH-4201NEX DVD Player. It’s jam-packed with a number of features that create a great user experience.
If you’re looking for a pick that’s budget-friendly, check out the JVC KW-V240BT DVD Player. It has a lot of the same great features as a more expensive model at a wallet-friendly price.
What do you think of our picks? Do you have a favorite in-dash DVD player? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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