Why Buy a Flip Down DVD Player?
Road trips can be a lot of fun for adventurous travelers, but not everyone has fun on long car rides. An easy way to pass the time is by watching a movie. A flip down DVD player is a roof-mounted monitor and DVD player that can keep kids, teens and adults in the back seat entertained for hours. And when the DVD player isn't in use, you can flip the monitor up and out of the way. You can learn more about these in-car entertainment systems in our articles on flip down DVD players here.
Your DVD wallet won't take up much more space in your luggage, and it can save a family vacation from whining, complaints and sibling fights that spark out of boredom. Even a portable DVD player can't offer the same amount of entertainment for a group of people stuck in a car for hours. The screen on a flip down player is generally wider, no one has to hold it up for everyone to see, and you can choose whether you use wireless headphones for private viewing on an overhead DVD player or connect to your car's stereo system so everyone can hear. Plus, flip down DVD players do more than play DVDs. Many of them allow you to connect external devices, like video game consoles, or connect to your car's radio.
Who Needs a Flip Down DVD Player?
A flip down DVD player for cars is actually best for minivans and SUVs. The monitor of an overhead car DVD player is generally larger than other portable DVD player options, which ensures everyone in the back seat can see the movie playing. Many newer vehicles come with the option of a roof-mount DVD player, but if you're driving an older model, you can self-install a flip down DVD player with the features you need.
Most overhead car DVD players support DVDs and CDs, so you can watch a movie or listen to your favorite music without having to pack a portable device. Many flip down DVD players also include an FM transmitter, so you can listen to the radio through your headphones, which gives the driver and front-seat passenger a respite from loud music or movies. Also, you don't have to worry about tangled wires, because the best flip down DVD players support – and some even include – IR wireless headphones, which transmit audio via infrared signals.
A remote control is a helpful accessory that most overhead DVD players include, which ensures that the rider in the very back of the vehicle can control playback of DVDs or CDs. The best flip down DVD players include dome lights on the unit to replace the dome light of your minivan or SUV. Many overhead DVD players include HDMI inputs, which let you plug in your smartphone, tablet or other handheld device, making it easier to share streaming media with the whole crew. Other ports, such as A/V or USB ports, let you connect a hard drive or other media device so you can watch movies you own in other formats.
The Best Flip Down DVD Players for Gaming
If movies don't keep your passengers from squirming in their seats or asking "are we there yet?", you should consider investing in a flip down DVD player that enables you to hook up a gaming console. Pyle Audio produces units that let you plug in a gaming console, and if you have IR game controllers, you can avoid cords clogging up valuable space in the back seat.
Some overhead DVD players from Xtrons include HDMI input, which lets you connect a newer gaming console or your phone for endless hours of entertainment. XO Vision offers flip down DVD players with USB ports to give you another input option. Even if you choose a player without an HDMI input, you can purchase a converter that lets you connect any device through the more common audio/video (A/V) inputs.
You can even find flip down DVD players for cars that have preloaded games. Rockville offers one that comes with a 32-bit game disc with 300 games included. This means you don't even have to pack a gaming console to keep your children occupied on those long drives to your vacation destination.
The Most Affordable Overhead DVD Players
In-car entertainment doesn't have to be expensive. You can find flip down DVD players for about $100. Rockville makes one of the most affordable players available, and it includes features you find from more expensive brands, such as HDMI and USB ports, built-in games, and LED mood lighting. Pyle makes an overhead DVD player for well under $200 that's a bit more basic in its features, but it has a wide monitor, so everyone in the back can see the movie playing.
Flip Down DVD Players for Extra-Large Vehicles
Most minivans and SUVs seat at least five people, but some vehicles are larger with extra seating in the back. Think of the person sitting at the back and how much detail they'll see on a tiny screen near the front seats. To suit the size of car you have, you can find flip down DVD players with screens from 10 to 19 inches.
Pyle Audio offers a unit with a 19-inch monitor. This widescreen monitor has high resolution, so the picture displayed is clear and crisp. Rockville has a 17-inch overhead DVD player, which is a generous screen size compared to the compact 10-inch units most manufacturers offer. Although a 15-inch monitor sounds small, think about the size of a regular computer monitor in a small space like an SUV and it doesn't seem so small anymore. Mobile entertainment manufacturer XO Vision has a 15-inch monitor on one of its flip down DVD player models. Power Acoustik's largest in-car entertainment system monitor measures at 14.3 inches with the standard 16:9 widescreen ratio with a high resolution.
Flip Down DVD Players: Self-Install vs. Professional Installation
If you're a self-proclaimed handy person, it may go without saying that self-installation of a flip down DVD player is the way to go. However, you may not feel comfortable installing an electronic device in your vehicle yourself, so trusting a professional with the bits and bolts may make more sense to you. There are pros and cons to each route.
One of the most obvious benefits to installing a flip down DVD player in your van or SUV yourself is the savings. All it costs you is time and patience, as long as you have the tools needed. In addition to basic tools, such as screwdrivers, a drill and a utility knife, you need some electrical tape, a volt ohm meter and pliers. You also need some electrical wiring know-how.
If you choose to have a professional install your overhead DVD player, you're likely going to pay about the same as what the device cost you. However, this may be worth it to you if you're unsure of how or where to connect certain wires. You also get a clean-looking entertainment console in your vehicle with no effort on your part.
Whether you choose a basic flip down DVD player to play your family's favorite movies while you're running errands or a feature-filled overhead DVD player to hook up a gaming console or smartphones for hours of entertainment on long drives, it's an investment in your vehicle and your sanity. The best flip down DVD player is the one that fits your budget, lifestyle and car.