In this article: We'll review 5 of our best pick overhead (flip down) monitors that we think are worth buying. We’ll explain some of the key features of the monitors, media compatibility, and more.
For most parents, if not all, providing entertainment for your children during a long car ride can be a mean for maintaining sanity. In other cases, just being able to entertain friends or family in the back see can add some serious value and entertainment to a road trip. Flip-down DVD and multimedia units are one of the common ways to add video and multimedia entertainment to your car or truck and keep the back seat riders happy and quiet.
There are a few ways that you can leverage one of our best pick flip-down DVD and multimedia units to bring video to your car. Depending on what you're looking to do will likely narrow our list down a bit:
- Use a DVD or video head unit with a video output to play video on the flip-down monitor. This will give you the ability to sync up the video from your head unit to the flip-down monitor and also play audio through the stereo of your vehicle. It'll also require the flip-down monitor to have an HDMI or other video input.
- Use the overhead monitor as a DVD player. Not all of the flip-down monitors on our list have a DVD player built-in. If you want to use a DVD or BlueRay specifically, you'll want to ensure the unit has a disc player. Or, see #3 below.
- Use the flip-down monitor purely as a monitor. In this scenario you'll likely use another source of video such as an Xbox, Firestick, Roku or even your phone or tablet to stream video or play video games on the unit. You can even use it to play DVDs via a dedicated DVD player if you wanted. Make sure the unit has an HDMI input if you're looking for this functionality.
In addition to what type of media input the unit has and whether or not it comes with a built-in BlueRay player, there's other things to consider when you're browsing through overhead monitors. Size is probably the next popular purchase-driving features followed by resolution. The bigger the better, right? Not always though. Screen size will determine the physical size of the screen. Resolution will determine the quality of the image on the screen. Just because the screen size is big, doesn't mean the resolution will always match it. So here's a few quick features and facts about the products on our list to help you narrow your selection.
|Brand/Model||Screen Size||DVD Player||Media Input/Output|
|1. XTRONS CM136HD||13.3"||No||USB, HDMI, SD Card|
|2. VOXX MTG13UHD||17.3"||Yes||USB, 3.5mm Aux|
|3. Pyle PLRV1725||13.3"||No||USB, HDMI, SD card|
|4. Rockville RVD12HD-BK||12"||Yes||USB, SD card|
|5. Soundstream VCM-103DMH||10.3"||Yes||USB, SD card, RCA|
About this List
The quality and trustworthiness of our buying guides is a top priority for us. The top pick overhead flip-down DVD players and monitors we compiled on this list are based on extensive research and in many cases first hand tests. Our recommendations here are guidelines, based on what we think are quality monitors that will have the features you want from brands that you can trust. Our lists originate here too, and are not copied from other sources across the web. Having trust in the information that you read here, and the confidence in the product you choose from this list is our #1 priority. And we're always keeping this list fresh with current products so the next time you want to purchase an overhead monitor, come on back!
Looking for other ways to add video or DVD to your car? Check out these lists!
Best Overhead DVD Players and Monitors List
1. Best Overall Pick: XTRONS CM136HD
XTRONS CM136HD Quick Review
XTRONS builds an incredibly nice-looking flip-down monitor and packs it with some of the best tech at any price point. While it does not play DVDs directly, users can provide video input using USB, HDMI, SD cars, or connect to a remote DVD player, streaming device or gaming console using RCA cables.
The monitor is the big seller here. With a full High-Definition resolution of 1920×1080, you can almost get the same ultra-realistic viewing experience you count on at home while in your car. It’s also compatible with lower-resolution files, so you won’t have playback issues when playing non-FHD files. A widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio and contrast of 300:1 will ensure that you’ll always have an easily viewable image, no matter how bright your car is.
For audio options, the XTRONS includes an IR transmitter for wireless headphones and an FM transmitter to provide audio to your car’s stereo system. There are no built-in speakers with this unit.
- High-resolution monitor with great color and viewability
- Compact design looks factory when installed
- Lack of on-board speakers requires either headphones or connection to car stereo
- Screen size is somewhat small for installations in large SUVs or vans
VOXX MTG13UHD Quick Review
Like the XTRONS, VOXX builds a really slick looking and compact flip down monitor. The big difference between the XTRONS and this VOXX is that it plays DVDs. Additionally, it allows users to connect devices via HDMI/MHL for a wide array of possibilities for playback (like your streaming devices). The 1024×600 resolution provides good, clear images even in bright light.
VOXX designed this unit to offer excellent installation flexibility. It features hidden USB and HDMI inputs, and the 100 channel FM transmitter can easily be hardwired to provide audio playback through the car stereo. Plus, the USB port provides 2.1a charging speeds for connected devices.
One of the nice touches that VOXX threw in with this one is a total of three different colored skins to help the unit match your interior. The kit includes shale, pewter, and black skins. With the correct skin in place, the unit has a very factory look to it, but provides better resolution and playback options than most factory flip down units.
- Great image quality
- Excellent connection options
- Well-regarded reliability
- Screen latch tends to fail
- Remote control has reliability issues according to some users
- 17.3” screen
- Playback available using USB, HDMI, SD card, RCA cables
- Built-in IR transmitter, FM transmitter, Stereo speakers
- 1680×800 resolution, 16:9 Aspect ratio, 300:1 contrast
- PAL/NTSC compatible auto switching
Pyle PLRV1725 Quick Review
Pyle is an industry leader that builds some of the most desirable flip-down monitors and DVD players on the market. Partially because of the value, but also because they cover all the bases with all of their products. This model features a high-definition 17.3” LCD monitor with 1680×800 resolution. Video playback is done in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio.
The PLRV1725 does not play DVD discs directly, instead using USB, HDMI, and SD card reading formats to allow easy access to thousands of downloadable TV shows and movies. For example, you can easily plug in your Firstick, FireTV, Hulu or Apple TV device directly into the HDMI and pair it with one of our best WiFi Hotspots (or your phone hotspot) to access your favorite movies and shows while on the road. A remote DVD player can also be connected using RCA cables or HDMI. It’s capable of playing from storage devices formatted using either a PC or an Apple product too.
The PLRV1725 has a built in IR transmitter for wireless headphones, and also has onboard stereo speakers. An FM transmitter makes it easy to connect the audio to your cars stereo for even more playback and listening options.
- Excellent screen and image quality
- Sleek design that compliments many interiors
- Users have reported inconsistent audio playback
- 12” High-Definition monitor
- 800×400 resolution, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio
- USB, SD card, HDMI, RCA inputs
- IR and FM transmitter audio connections
- Includes dual IR-compatible headphones
- Built-in speakers
- 32-bit game disc with +300 titles
|Buy on Amazon.com|
Rockville RVD12HD Quick Review
When you need a true all-in-one DVD flip down monitor at a great price, Rockville’s RD12HD player is one of the best choices on the market right now. It has all of the features you could want including built-in DVD playback, HDMI and SD card capabilities, USB connections, and dual AV inputs to make it one of the most universal options on our list.
The screen is somewhat smaller than others but provides an incredibly easy to view image at 800×400 resolution and a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9. In our opinion, it is an ideal package for smaller SUVs, trucks, and other similar vehicles.
But we aren’t the only one who’s calling this unit all-in-one – Rockville designed and markets it an all-in-one package. Most flip-downs don’t include headphones, but one of our favorite things about this package is that it includes two wireless fold-and-store headphones. It also features dual built-in speakers with high-quality mylar domes. Of course, it also includes an IR transmitter and FM transmitter, USB, SD card, and HDMI inputs for expandability and other sources for your video.
- Reliable quality and functions
- Includes everything needed to install
- Great connectivity options for audio and video playback
- Screen diagonal measurement is a little less than advertised
Soundstream VCM-103DMH Quick Review
In a world dominated by larger and larger screens, drivers of smaller vehicles are getting left out. Let’s face it, there just isn’t any way a 20” monitor will fit in your sedan. All the meanwhile, you still want to entertain back seat passengers. Your solution could be the Soundstream VCM-103DMH. With a screen of 10.3”, it’ll work even in a compact vehicle. Not everyone is looking for the biggest screen on the market – it’s one of the main reasons why we added this option to our recommended list.
But even though this might be a more compact monitor, the Soundstream flip-down has a great resolution of 1024×800 – better than many higher priced options. It’s because of the smaller screen that resolution provides a crisp and clear image you have to see to believe. It also plays native 16:9 resolution, so you don’t miss details in those wide-angle shots.
Audio is provided by a dedicated FM transmitter or to wireless headphones using the built-in IR transmitter. It’s even possible to wire an amplifier through RCA cable inputs to power dedicated speakers for the screen.
- Compact design is perfect for smaller vehicles
- Excellent durability
- Better-than-average resolution
- Some users report difficulty with wiring
Not everyone knows what all of the buzzwords mean. If you don't know some of the basics, reading through even this list might be a little overwhelming. Here's a few of our top pick terms to understand, which happen to be the very criteria that we used to guide our list choices (among other things).
High-Quality Screen – A great flip down car monitor with player should have high resolution. High resolution refers to the number of pixels used to create the image. Monitors with higher resolution mean the image is sharper. However, the size of the screen, color representation and brightness has to be taken into consideration as well. The screen size is important when looking at the resolution because if the resolution is too high, the images on the screen tend to look smaller. Thus, there is a delicate balance to consider when selecting the screen size, resolution and pairing it with the quality of the video.
Format Compatibility – This refers to the DVD format the player can work with. Some players can only run DVD-Rs but not files in CD or MP3 format. Ideally, the more formats a player is compatible with, the better it is because it gives you a lot of options.
Audio and Video Inputs – The more, the merrier! Overhead units should have flexibility so you can source your audio and video files from a USB, SD plus be compatible with wireless devices.
User-Friendliness –Not only should the overhead car DVD player be easy to install, but it should also be adult and kid-friendly. For most buyers, the monitor will be for family use – or to keep the children entertained while traveling by land. By “friendly” we don’t only refer to ease of use but also sturdiness and being easy to maintain and clean.
Viewing Angle – DVD players have a viewing angle range of 25 to 50 inches and the ones we have chosen can tilt for comfortable viewing. The choice should depend on your situation. For example, if you plan on having at least two people use the player at the same time, you should aim for a larger screen with a wide viewing angle.
Accessories – Must-have accessories include a remote control and battery pack, so you don’t drain the vehicle’s battery. However, it would also be nice to have headphones, gaming, and wireless connectivity. Keep in mind though that the more accessories a DVD come with, the more expensive it becomes.
Appearance – An excellent choice would also have to be in the right colors to match your interior. Thankfully, almost all in-car entertainment DVD players are in neutral shades of tan, black, or grey.
When you decide to purchase a flip-down monitor for in-car entertainment, there are a ton of options. The models we shared with you today are among the very best, and any of these types will work great for your customization goals. Remember to identify how much space you have. More compact vehicles are going to lose rear-view mirror views due to the size of the monitor, while smaller monitors will be difficult to see in large vehicles. Connectivity is important, and as you’ll notice all of the models on this list have numerous connectivity options.