Factory-installed headrest DVD players are built into the back of headrests so they are often the best integrated and most unobtrusive. As for the picture quality and DVD playback, there are many third-party headrest DVD players that can match or even exceed the ones from the carmakers.
Furthermore, the types of vehicles most often offered with factory headrest DVD players are luxury SUVs and sedans with large headrests. As if people who drive smaller cars and SUVs have no need for watching DVDs in the car, right? Wait a minute, there’s a solution almost as easy as saying 1-2-3. You can add DVD playback to a car with one or two portable DVD players.
This is of course an old solution compared to dedicated headrest DVD players of today. We prefer the old solution for a few reasons. Firstly, they are much easier to install. Invest in a proper headrest mount and you can make the portable DVD player fit on any headrest. Portable DVD players also come with rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to rely solely on the car battery.
In truth, this is an old-school method with cutting-edge results. What’s not to like?
14″ Portable DVD Player
Not only is the screen of this DBPOWER DVD player larger than the 12.9” iPad Pro, the price will make your jaw drop.
The built-in battery is a high-capacity lithium-ion battery rated at 2800mAh. According to the manufacturer, this portable DVD player can run off of just the battery for up to 3 hours. In our experience it is closer to 2 hours, which we are not complaining for this is excellent battery life for the large 14” screen.
The screen resolution is 1366×768 – while this is not 1080P it is higher than the standard DVD resolution of 720×480. It is a swivel screen that can rotate 270 degrees and flip up to 180 degrees.
Look for a universal headrest mount that is large enough for this 14” DBPOWER. This is because DBPOWER didn’t design this as a headrest DVD player so they don’t make any matching headrest mount of this size.
As stated, we like this 14” DBPOWER 14” as a headrest DVD player for making a big splash. The display quality is excellent, the laser assembly is shock resistant enough for rough rides, and there are audio/video (AV) inputs so you’ll be able to watch the same show on more than one DBPOWER players. This will surely keep children happy and content during long hauls.
9.5″ Portable DVD Player
This 9.5” DBPOWER is Amazon’s No. 1 best-seller in portable DVD players. The manufacturer does have the utility as a headrest DVD player in mind for this unit and 9.5” diagonal is the perfect size for many headrests. The matching DBPOWER car headrest mount for this 9.5” player is in itself a top seller.
We found the 9.5” display to have excellent contrast and color saturation. The resolution of 800×480 is perfect for 480P DVD. It is compatible with all video formats except Blu-ray, which would demand 1080P resolution. (Don’t worry, our next recommendation is a car headrest Blu-ray player).
The built-in 2500mAh lithium-ion battery is rated at 5 hours run time. But in our experience it is closer to 3 hours, which is still excellent in our book. Like the 14” DBPOWER previously discussed, the AV inputs and outputs can be used to piggyback more than one DBPOWER players.
This 9.5” DBPOWER headrest DVD player is available in 3 colors: black, blue, and red.
The Sony BDP-SX910 is an excellent Blu-ray player in its own right. With its HDMI output, you can just as easily use it to play Blu-ray discs (and of course all DVDs) in a high-end home theater system. It is that good, which makes it mind-blowing as a headrest Blu-ray/DVD player.
This is why the Sony BDP-SX910 has our top recommendation even though it has been discontinued and is now being sold at more than its original retail price of $249. The Sony BDP-SX910 remains a marvelous headrest DVD player, not to mention that Sony has not come up with a replacement model.
To take full advantage of the format, the Sony BDP-SX910 is equipped with a 1080P screen. Blu-ray video will blow regular DVD video out of the water and you don’t have to be an expert to spot the difference – in fact, one’d have to be half-blind not to see a clear improvement.
The Sony BDP-SX910’s 1080P HD display is a 9” 16:9 widescreen LCD, great for most headrests. It is recommended that you go with the dedicated headrest mount for the Sony BDP-SX910 made by TFY. This mount makes all control buttons under the screen accessible so you wouldn’t have to rely on just the remote controller. The rated battery life is 4.5 hours which we found to be about accurate.
We are a big proponent of Blu-ray over regular DVDs so it makes sense that our best headrest DVD player is the Sony BDP-SX910. You will love the HD video and the prodigious bass contained in Blu-ray soundtracks. Leave the tone controls flat and enjoy the digital movie sound as it was intended.
On the other hand, you can perhaps make an equally or bigger splash by going big! The answer is the DBPOWER 14” portable DVD player, a worthy alternative to the Sony BDP-SX910, especially if you take into account the substantial price discrepancy.
However, DBPOWER didn’t have headrest DVD player in mind for their 14” player, which is why there is no dedicated headrest mount for it. Another worthy contender for the best headrest DVD player is the DBPOWER 9.5” portable DVD player. There is a dedicated headrest mount available for it (sold separately) and the size is perfect, and the value is there.