Top 10 In-Car DVD Players

By Zach Bowman

The Clarion VT1500B

Long trips with the kids have never been easier thanks to a vast array of affordable in-car DVD players available. Options range from complex multi-screen units with stereo integration to simple ceiling-mount versions. Either way, choosing to go with a professional install is your best bet for quality fit and finish and long-lasting entertainment for your kids – not to mention some much needed peace and quiet behind the wheel. But before you can figure out who’s going to handle your install you’ll need to pick a DVD player that fits you and your family’s needs. Here’s a look at DriverSide’s top 10 in-car DVD players.

The Alpine PKG-RSE2

The Clarion VT1000T

Prices for Clarion’s big-daddy DVD player tend to fall between $800 and $900 depending on which vendor you go through. That may seem pricey, but this unit offers one of the largest screens of any of the in-car clan. At 15.4 inches the screen is bigger than some computer monitors, and thanks to its built-in IR headphone transmitter everyone in the back seats can listen to the film while you motor on. There’s even an RCA output if you want to add more screens in the future.
Screen Size: 15.4 in
Price: $850
With a crystal clear 10.2-inch screen, the Alpine PKG-RSE2 has plenty to offer. Alongside standard features like a remote control and IR headphone capability, this unit boasts a great FM modulator. The function allows you to broadcast sound from the DVD over your car stereo without having to run extra wires. What’s more, the modulator has a wide frequency range so you’re guaranteed to find a clear channel. At around $700, it’s expensive, but worth the money.
Screen Size: 10.2 in
Price: $700

Consider this unit the VT1500B’s little brother. Though it comes with a smaller 10.2-inch screen, the video quality is crisp and clear. The size also comes with a price savings, as the VT1000T can be had for between $600 and $700 depending on where you pick yours up. Fortunately, this model retains all of the features of the bigger Clarion, which means you’re still guaranteed IR headphone capability, normal, cinema and widescreen displays and RCA outs. 
Screen Size: 10.2 in
Price: $650
The Boss Audio BV 12.1BGT offers a great selection of features. Just like higher-end models, an FM transmitter is standard alongside IR headphone capability. Handy integrated dome lights help to shed some light on your interior and work alongside your factory units. A remote is also included in the package, though they’ve been known to have some reliability issues. The Boss Audio BV 12.1BGT can be had for between $400 and $500. 
Screen Size: 12.1 in
Price: $450
At $250 to $350, the Pyle PLRD 143F represents one of the best bargains on our list. This in-car unit boasts a 13.3-inch screen and built-in speakers to broadcast sound throughout the cabin. Unfortunately, the speakers themselves may be a bit weak for larger vehicles and there is no FM modulator to send sound through your car’s factory sound system. The good news is that the unit is IR headphone ready, so if you’re not interested in sharing the sound with the rest of the ride, the Pyle PLRD 143F is a good option.
Screen Size: 13.3 in
Price: $300
Though the Power Acoustik PMD-121CM has a sizeable 12.1-inch screen, its resolution maxes out at 800x600, which may not hang with some of the pricier models out there. It makes up for it in a unique iPod dock, which allows you to play your iPod-bound movies over the player, as well as DVDs. This model also has a built in FM transmitter, so getting sound to everyone involved is no problem, either. The Power Acoustik PMD-121CM can be had for around $400.
Screen Size: 12.1 in
Price: $400
Unlike other units on this list, the Audiovox Movies 2 Go MMD7HRPKG is a dual-replacement headrest system with two seven-inch screens. The DVD player is tucked behind the screen in one of the headrests. While this is a great option for sedans or SUVs with just one backseat, it’s not such a great idea for larger minivans, three-row SUVs or crossovers. Installation of a headrest system is a snap and doesn’t require professional assistance. This unit only offers wired headphones and doesn’t offer an FM modulator, either. This Audiovox system can be had for around $400.
Screen Size: Two 7-inch screens
Price: $400
The Valor RM-921C has a 9.2-inch display, and while that’s a good deal smaller than some of the other players out there, it still has plenty to offer. A sturdy, dual-hinged screen is part of the package, as is a built-in IR transmitter for wireless headphones. Dome lights and an FM modulator are also included. At around $300, this unit is well-priced, too.
Screen Size: 9.2 in
Price: $300
A smaller screen in-car DVD player, the XO Vision GX2148, can be found online for under $200. That’s a steal even given this unit’s nine-inch display. Unlike other players, the XO Vision offers a rotating screen for the best picture possible no matter where you’re sitting in the car. That may not seem like a huge deal, but for single-child families it will make a big difference in how the movie is viewed. Other features include an FM modulator, though the signal may be weak. 
Screen Size: 9 in
Price: $200

At just over $250 for an eight-inch screen, the Boss Audio BV 8.5TA doesn’t exactly offer up a great bargain per pixel. It does manage to incorporate high-class features like a strong FM modulator and IR headphone capability, however.  Like the XO Vision, this unit swivels too, which makes for a perfect picture, and there’s even a remote to make navigating your favorite discs a breeze. 
Screen Size: 8 in
Price: $250

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