In this article: We'll review 6 of our best pick built-in headrest monitors with DVD/BlueRay players along with portable DVD/BlueRay players and monitors that you can easily mount to any vehicle. We’ll provide quick reviews, opinion, photos and price comparisons to help you save money!
- Car Headrest Video & DVD Players and Monitors List
- Best Portable Headrest Monitors & DVD Players
- Best Built-In Headrest DVD Players
- What to Look For in a Headrest DVD Player/Monitor
Entertainment for rear passengers can be the difference between a comfy, quiet ride and chaos. Parents, I'm talking to you. But entertainment on long drives isn't just for children, it's great for friends and family too. One of our best pick headrest monitor and DVD players will unlock entertainment for rear-seat passengers on long rides, road trips, or just general day-to-day drives. They do more than just play movies though. Depending on the product you choose, you can hook in video game systems, stream videos via apps like Netflix or Hulu, listen to music, or even look at your favorite photos.
In years past, integrated DVD and media players for seat headrests were a popular aftermarket component. Today, some manufacturers offer 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 cost effective of adding custom headrest monitors from the factory. And in many cases, aftermarket headrest monitors are the only option.
Over the years, more and more mountable/portable DVD players have entered the market. They’re becoming increasingly popular and the de facto choice for people who would like to add an entertainment package to their new or old car. There's a few key benefits to a portable monitor over a traditional built-in headrest monitor:
- They're portable (obviously) and easy to mount and power. You can bring them from car-to-car, or easily remove them from your car to bring them into your house, on an airplane and so on.
- They're more cost effective. They don't require custom wiring and installation.
- They don't change the look of your seats. Since portable dvd players aren't installed in your headrest, you can retain the factory look.
Traditional, built-in headrest monitors are still very popular though. They're much more integrated into the vehicle and can be tied together to turn your entire vehicle into one entertainment center. They normally look better and are normally more flexible in terms of connectivity. In this list, we'll cover off on both styles of products – built-in headrests monitors and portable ones – so that you can compare the differences and choose what's ideal for you.
About this List
We take these lists very seriously. The top pick headrest monitors and DVD players that we compile on this list are based on our own independent research, experience testing products first-hand and of course our industry knowledge The recommendations on this list are guidelines, and our own representation of what we think are quality headrest monitors that will have the features you want from manufacturers you can trust. Our lists originate here and are not copied from other sources around the web or thrown together without purpose. Giving you the trust that the information here is legitimate and confidence in the product you chose from our lists is our top priority. We're constantly keeping our lists up to date too. So the next time you need a headrest monitor or DVD player, you can check back in here to find the latest and greatest.
Looking for a different ways to add DVD or Multimedia? Check out these lists!
Car Headrest Video & DVD Players and Monitors List
The first half of our list will be dedicated to portable units that you can easily install, power and remove from your vehicle. These are truly universal in a sense that they fit on the back of almost any head rest in any car and can be transferred from one car to the next.
Best Portable Headrest Monitors & DVD Players
Best Overall Portable Pick: Pumpkin 10.1” Clamshell DVD Player
- 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
|Buy on Amazon.com $97.65|
Pumpkin 10.1″ Clamshell DVD Player Quick Review
Our overall best portable head rest monitor with DVD player a reliable and durable design from Pumpkin. This is a 10.1-inch DVD player with a clamshell design. This means 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, it's a great all-around pick. It's pretty cost effective too.
Screen Resolution and File Playback
The Pumpkin monitor features a high-resolution screen that displays widescreen resolution natively. It is capable of resolution up to 1024×600 and includes a built-in HD decoder that will play 1080p sources, even high resolution video games.
The player can display a wide variety of formats that include MP4, AVI, MOV, and MVG along with many 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. Installation is simple. 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. This model 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.
It's worth noting that this Pumpkin monitor is does not have a built-in battery. This means it will need to be plugged in to function, which limits the portability. However, 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
We like this choice for a portable DVD player because is simple and rugged and price friendly. It doesn’t have unbelievably 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 the most reasonable price, and that makes it our top pick.
- 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
- No battery backup prevents the device from remembering where you last left off when it is unplugged
- Headphones need to be plugged in directly
Best Budget Pick: Jekero 16.9″ DVD Player
- 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
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. It's worth noting – in more cases than not, this will fit perfectly on the back side of your headrest, but be sure to measure before you purchase to ensure a good fit. measurements first.
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.
- Large screen makes it easy to watch
- Affordable option for providing a larger-than-average screen to back seat passengers
- Works well for traveling
- Flimsy headrest mount design
- Remote control is difficult to use
- Lacks Bluetooth connectivity
- Headphones need to be plugged in directly
Best Built-In Headrest DVD Players
The remaining products on our list are not portable. These are the more traditional headrest monitors and DVD players that will either fully replace your headrests, or be custom installed within them. In many cases, these will require professional installation and wiring.
Best Overall Built-In Headrest DVD Player Pick: Audiovox 9″ Headrest DVD Player (AVXMTGHR9HD)
- 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
Audiovox 9″ Headrest DVD Player Quick Review
Our top pick built-in 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.
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, a very common resolution for smaller screens like this. 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.
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, FireStick, Apple TV or other streaming video device. 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. This simple design makes it great for quick and easy video control and changing discs.
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. Audiovox does make installation relatively simple and universal however. Using the included arm spacers, you’ll find the several combinations 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.
- Looks professional when installed in your car
- HDMI and IR make for a more immersive experience with expandability
- Resolution is pretty low
- Installation is time consuming and can be difficult
- May not match your interior
- 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
|Buy on Amazon.com $379.89|
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 separate monitors that are built into 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, FireSticks, video streaming 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.
- A matched set of headrests with monitors
- Inclusion of an HDMI port and IR transmitter is excellent
- Both players can play different images
- 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 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.
- Affordable option
- Available in several colors
- Below average resolution
- May not match most interiors
- Lacks HDMI port and IR transmitter
There are 6 types of monitors you can install in your car. They are:
- Overhead for large vehicles with sufficient headroom space
- Flip Down which is a version of the overhead monitor that can be tucked away
- In-Dash for front seat passengers
- Sun Visor which is 5 inches long
- Mirror are 4-inch LCD monitors placed on the rear-view mirrors
- 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.