Last updated on October 21st, 2021 at 06:25 pm

A good headrest DVD player in your car will provide hours of entertainment for rear-seat passengers on long rides, road trips, or general day-to-day drives. They do more than just play movies though. If you get the right monitor, you can hook in video game systems, listen to music, or even look at your favorite photos. The ideal headrest DVD player will play your movies via the method of choice (DVD, HDMI, etc) with crystal-clear images and will be easy to install.

In years past, integrated DVD players with seat headrests were a popular aftermarket component. Today, many manufacturers offer few built-in players from the factory. But even though the latest tech packages in new cars might offer a good solution, it's often not worth the cost of adding custom headrest monitors from the factory itself.

Since the first version of our list here, more and more mountable/portable DVD players have entered the market. They’re becoming increasingly popular. They are becoming the de facto choice for folks who would like to add an entertainment package to their new or old car. These removable players have the added benefit of being portable, so you can use them at home, in the office, in the car, or anywhere else you might want to watch a movie or play a video game.

Below, we will still discuss the best built-in payers like we have in the past several years on this very list, but it should be noted that the overall best system is, in fact, a portable DVD player.

Looking for a different ways to add DVD or Multimedia? Check out these lists!

Car Headrest Video & DVD Players and Monitors List

Below, we will still discuss the best built-in payers like we have in the past several years on this very list, but it should be noted that the overall best system is, in fact, a portable DVD player.

Best Portable DVD Players for the Car

Best Overall Portable Pick: Pumpkin 10.1” Clamshell DVD Player

Pumpkin Clamshell Monitor with headset, charger and remote
Pumpkin Clamshell Monitor features
Pumpkin Clamshell Monitor mounting and installing

Key Features

  • 10.1” screen
  • 1024×600 aspect ratio
  • Full HD decoder
  • Supports most DVD formats, digital files, and streaming services
  • Includes headrest clamp bracket
  • Requires 12v power to operate

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $87.89
Last Amazon price update was: October 20, 2021 7:23 pm
Pumpkin 10.1″ Clamshell DVD Player Quick Review

Our overall best portable DVD player choice for cars is a reliable and durable design from Pumpkin. This is a 10.1-inch DVD player with a clamshell design so you can close it up when transporting it to prevent damage to the screen. We like this one for in-car use because of the simplicity of the design. It isn’t necessarily ideal as a truly portable solution, and pairing it to a second monitor has some limitations. But when it comes to easily and affordably adding a DVD player to your back seat, you’ll find the Pumpkin In-Car DVD player to be a great solution.

Screen Resolution and File Playback

Pumpkin provides a high-resolution screen that displays widescreen resolution natively. The screen is capable of resolution up to 1024×600 and includes a built-in HD decoder that will play 1080p sources, even video games.

The player can display a wide variety of formats that include MP4, AVI, MOV, and MVG along with lots of other protocols. The only key thing here is to remember that this player isn’t Blu-Ray compatible. Pumpkin sells another version that does include this play-back style.

An HDMI connector allows you to easily hook up your smartphone, tablet, or other source and stream movies, videos, and even music directly. It’s compatible with Playstation gaming systems, XBOX, Kindle devices, and even supports Raspberry Pi.

The device has input ports for USB, SD card, and MMC sources also. This makes it simple to download your favorite movies onto a portable device when you don’t want to have to lug around a bunch of DVDs.

Mounting, Power and Audio Connections

This is a DVD player designed for in-car use. As such, it includes a mounting strap that allows you to connect it easily to the headrest arms of your front seats. The mount is secure and simple to use, unlike some designs that make removing the monitor troublesome.

Dual 2-watt speakers are positioned to fire down, allowing the audio to be heard in the back of the car without blasting front-seat passengers. The Pumpkin design does not support Bluetooth, so headphones must be connected to the 3.5mm plug. If Bluetooth headphones are essential for your plans, an inexpensive Bluetooth adapter jack will provide functionality.

The Pumpkin device is rather unique in that it does not have a built-in battery. This means it will need to be plugged in to function, which limits the portability. When you are driving and the device is plugged in, you won’t have to deal with a battery that suddenly dies and recharges too slowly to keep playing the movie you want to watch. The device includes the needed power cord.

Why We Like the Pumpkin 10.1 Inch DVD Player

The Pumpkin DVD player is simple and rugged, and that’s what we like the most about it. It doesn’t have stellar resolution and it lacks some of the connectivity that other devices have, but we find that works in its favor, since it simply works when you want it to without complications.

Overall, we find this design to have the most important features we want at a reasonable price, and that makes it our top pick. It isn’t fancy, it doesn’t have a bunch of useless features that drive the price up, and it’s simple enough to use that your kids will be able to do it without bothering you while you drive.

Pros
  • Simple device to use makes it ideal for families with younger children
  • Supports the most common formats
  • Wired connections reduce problems with playback, audio, and power supply
Cons
  • No battery backup prevents the device from remembering where you last left off when it is unplugged
  • Headphones need to be plugged in directly

Runner Ups

Naviskauto Dual 12″ DVD Player

Naviskauto 12in portable dual dvd players image for the best portable dvd players article
Naviskauto 12in portable dual dvd about
Naviskauto 12in portable dvd installation methods

Key Features

  • Dual 12” Monitors
  • Plays most DVD and CD formats
  • Plays one movie on both screens
  • 720×576 aspect ratio
  • Built-in battery
  • Includes straps for mounting and 12v car charger

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $159.99
Last Amazon price update was: October 20, 2021 12:23 pm
Naviskauto Dual 12″ DVD Player Quick Review

This is a good quality portable DVD player that includes two monitors for what you’d pay for one high-end model. The larger screen provides excellent video quality to rear-seat passengers and the built-in battery keeps tripping hazards to a minimum.

The video quality is acceptable, but nothing spectacular. It features an aspect ratio of 720×576 which will present some distortion on the large screen. It supports all the common CD and DVD formats with the exception of Blu-Ray.

The feature that really prevents this one from being the top pick is the included fastening straps. The design doesn't work well with many types of headrests. The larger size of the screen can also be an annoyance to front-seat passengers.

Pros
  • Affordable way to add monitors to a vehicle
  • Clamshell design and battery makes this a good choice for traveling
Cons
  • Headrest straps restrict tilt angle and may not work with all headrests
  • Size of screen can be distracting to drivers
  • Lacks Bluetooth connectivity

Best Budget Pick: Jekero 16.9″ DVD Player

Jekero 16.9in Portable DVD Player
Jekero 16.9in Portable DVD Player headrest
Jekero 16.9in Portable DVD Player swivel
Jekero 16.9in Portable DVD Player media formats

Key Features

  • 16.9” clamshell monitor
  • 1280×800 aspect resolution
  • Plays all current DVD formats except Blu-Ray
  • Includes headrest mount and car charger
  • Built-in 3500 mAh rechargeable battery
  • Includes gaming controller and built-in games

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $89.99
Buy on eBay $146.99
Last Amazon price update was: October 20, 2021 8:22 pm
Jekero 16.9″ DVD Player Quick Review

Not only is this a great deal, but it’s also the largest screen on our list. The Jekero 16.9-inch clamshell DVD player is simple to use in the car or on-the-go. The screen is large enough to easily set on a table to entertain kids at home and its ideal in larger vehicles. The screen size can make this monitor difficult to use in cars with smaller headrests.

Screen Resolution and File Playback

The screen resolution is an impressive 1280×800 aspect ratio that provides a very good viewing experience but may experience some lag or stutter in faster-paced scenes. Decreasing the resolution to full HD at 720p increases the frame rate and makes action movies smoother to watch.

The DVD player supports all the current DVD formats – even burned copies – and will play content from smartphones, tablets, or memory cards. It accepts USB and SD cards and has AV in/out ports to connect to a television. The DVD player features built-in gaming that includes numerous classic NES games and a gaming controller.

Mounting, Power and Audio Connections

The included headrest mount isn’t our favorite design. It securely holds the screen in place but doesn’t allow much room to tilt or angle the screen. Due to the size of the DVD player, the mount is rather large and might be uncomfortable to the front seat passengers in certain vehicles.

A built-in 3500 mAh rechargeable battery provides up to five hours of uninterrupted playback. The device takes about one hour to recharge using the included 12v car charger. The battery allows this DVD player to remember where the video playback was when the car is turned off so that it will restart in the right spot when you turn it back on.

There is no built-in Bluetooth, so you’ll need wired headphones unless you want to listen to the speakers. User reviews indicate the speakers are clear and loud, but the manufacturer doesn’t provide details on the wattage of the speakers.

Why We Like the Jekero 16.9″ DVD Player

It’s hard to beat a deal as good as this one. When we started our research and testing for the perfect “budget pick,” we knew we wanted something that had important features and playback ability at a good price, and that’s why we settled on this design. It works well, it’s easy to use, and the quality seems to be above average.

The few things that we would change include a better headrest mounting option and a better IR sensor for the remote. The remote needs to be precisely pointed at the right spot to work, making it frustrating for younger children.

Pros
  • Large screen makes it easy to watch
  • Affordable option for providing a larger-than-average screen to back seat passengers
  • Works well for traveling
Cons
  • Flimsy headrest mount design
  • Remote control is difficult to use
  • Lacks Bluetooth connectivity
  • Headphones need to be plugged in directly

Best Headrest DVD Players

Best Overall Built-In Headrest DVD Player Pick: Audiovox 9″ Headrest DVD Player (AVXMTGHR9HD)

Audiovox AVXMTGHR9HD
Audiovox AVXMTGHR9HD side
Audiovox AVXMTGHR9HD black gray tan colors
Audiovox AVXMTGHR9HD remote

Key Features

  • 9” DVD/CD player
  • 800×480 resolution
  • Includes hardwiring kit for installation
  • Includes adapters to ensure a good fit with your seats
  • Three colors (Black, Pewter, Beige) to match most interiors
  • IR transmitter can beam audio to the car stereo or optional wireless earphones
  • HDMI/USB/SD card ports for multimedia playback

Latest Prices

Audiovox 9″ Headrest DVD Player Quick Review

Our top headrest monitor and DVD player is the 9” HD headrest from Audiovox. This headrest features a larger-than-average 9” monitor. It includes three colors of covers to match many interiors and a variety of post adapters ensure the headrest will mount safely and securely to your seat. We will take an in-depth look at this product and show you why we think it’s the best option on the market today.

Display

The 9-inch display is rather large for a headrest player. It works great in full-size cars and SUVs because of the size. The resolution is standard 800×480, so it’s not spectacular – especially if you are used to watching videos on a high-definition television or laptop. The size and resolution work well together to provide an acceptable, easy to view solution.

The downside of the display is that it isn’t tilt adjustable. Instead, you’ll have to tilt the entire headrest for rear-seat passengers to see, which may leave the driver or front-seat passenger uncomfortable in some vehicles.

Connections

This set of headrest DVD players will play all the most current DVD file formats except Blu-Ray. The player will handle DVD-R and DVD-RW, along with copyright-protected DVDs.

The player has a port to connect an external device through HDMI. You can play files from an MP3 player, or even connect your phone and stream a movie. There are also connections for Aux In, USB, and a single headphone jack.

Controls and Loading DVDs

One reason we really like this one is because of the ease of use. It has nice, big buttons that are easy for junior passengers to press. The large load button lifts the screen so that DVDs can easily be removed and put in. Button placement is fantastic.

Controls and Loading DVDs

Most DVD players for the car will use a 12v accessory plug. This headrest is intended for permanent installation, so you’ll get the wiring harness for installation, but no cigarette lighter plug. It’s available, but you’ll need to buy it separately. Installation isn’t terrible. Using the included arm spacers, you’ll find the right combination to get the headrest mounted in almost any vehicle. The hard part is removing the seat back and running the wiring so that the device works when the car turns on.

Pros
  • Looks professional when installed in your car
  • HDMI and IR make for a more immersive experience with expandability
Cons
  • Resolution is pretty low
  • Installation is time consuming and can be difficult
  • May not match your interior

Xtrons 9″ Headrest Monitors (HD908H)

Xtrons HD908Hblack
Xtrons HD908Hblack zipper
Xtrons HD908Hblack side
Xtrons HD908Hblack front

Key Features

  • Pair of 9” monitor headrests
  • Available only in black
  • IR transmitter for wireless headphones and FM transmitter to beam to car stereo
  • HDMI port
  • Includes 12V accessory cable
  • Includes pair of headphones

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $359.89
Last Amazon price update was: October 20, 2021 8:22 pm
Xtrons 9″ Headrest Monitors Quick Review

The Xtrons 9” headrests are a great pick for adding dual monitors to your car. While the cost is significantly higher than portable DVD layers, you get two identical headrests with slick 9” monitors that both play DVDs and CDs. Unlike most systems that only mirror, these ones play different content only.

An HDMI port on each headrest allows for hooking up other devices including video game consoles and media storage devices. The headrests have a built-in IR transmitter for wireless headphones, and Xtrons includes two sets.

The headrests are powered by 12V accessory plugs, so you’ll either need to have both plugged in or rewire the system for a hardwire application, a complicated task not for the faint of heart. This set includes a pair of headphones too, you the backseat watchers can listen and watch their own media independently.

Pros
  • A matched set of headrests with monitors
  • Inclusion of an HDMI port and IR transmitter is excellent
  • Both players can play different images
Cons
  • Only comes in black
  • Unknown screen resolution
  • Can’t mirror the same thing on both screens

Best Budget Pick: Yesbay Universal Headrest DVD Player

Yesbay 7 DVD Headrest Monitor
Yesbay 7 DVD Headrest Monitor sd card
Yesbay 7 DVD Headrest Monitor features
Yesbay 7 DVD Headrest Monitor dimensions
Yesbay 7 DVD Headrest Monitor remote

Key Features

  • 7” DVD/CD monitor headrest (sold individually)
  • 800×480 resolution
  • Includes wiring and remote
  • Available in black, grey, beige

Latest Prices

Buy on Amazon.com $92.95
Last Amazon price update was: October 20, 2021 8:22 pm
Yesbay Universal Headrest DVD Player Quick Review

We always like to add a budget friendly pick to our lists.  So if you want a DVD/CD headrest monitor for the back seat, but you’re not interested in dropping a ton of money, this is a good option. The 7” screen has a resolution of 800×480, which will be adequate for the size. The monitor plays most DVD and CD formats, but not Blu Ray.

The headrest is designed to be hardwired and includes the appropriate wiring to do the job yourself. It includes a remote control. The headrest has small speakers and a port for connecting headphones.

All in all, this is a basic DVD/CD solution at an affordable price, but it doesn’t provide out of this world results. It’s a great choice for what it is- a budget solution to a common issue. The headrest is sold individually and is available in black, grey, and beige.

Pros
  • Affordable option
  • Available in several colors
Cons
  • Below average resolution
  • May not match most interiors
  • Lacks HDMI port and IR transmitter

What to Look For in a Headrest DVD Player/Monitor

There are 6 types of monitors you can install in your car. They are:

  1. Overhead for large vehicles with sufficient headroom space
  2. Flip Down which is a version of the overhead monitor that can be tucked away
  3. In-Dash for front seat passengers
  4. Sun Visor which is 5 inches long
  5. Mirror are 4-inch LCD monitors placed on the rear-view mirrors
  6. Headrests are most popular because they can be installed or attached to the original headrest or you can buy one with a replacement headrest

Important Terminology to Know

  • Active Headrest Technology – Also known as Active Headrest Restraint which reduces whiplash injury in the event an accident occurs. If your car is equipped with this technology, it’s ideal to retain the factory-issued headrest and opt for the attachable monitor
  • Dual Channel Infrared (IR) – This feature will allow you to use your wireless headphones with the headrest monitor
  • Pass-Through Technology – This feature will allow you to watch the same movie from one source on multiple devices
  • Cigarette lighter power cables – Allows for the quick installation of the video equipment
  • Video Cables – This is critical to the successful installation of your in-car entertainment system because they are made specifically for car apps and have a higher insulation standard than cables used for the home and office. This added insulation also guarantees to keep radiated noise from affecting video quality
  • Resolution – The quality of the picture cannot be overemphasized. The lower the resolution, the most pixilated the image will be so one should opt for at higher resolution with the ideal being 1024 x 768 which is the standard for a 7-inch Apple tablet – to give you a basis for comparison.
  • Region-free – Ideally, if you want a headrest monitor with a built-in DVD player, the headrest player would be one that is “region-free” which refers to recognition of any DVD regardless of where it was made.
  • PAL and NTSC – This refers to commercial TV color encoding systems. PAL is used in Europe and some parts of Asia while NTSC is common with US and Canada systems. The difference between PAL and NTSC is the frame/second wherein PAL delivers 25/625 while NTSC delivers 30/525.