Best Car DVD Head Units to Buy In 2018

Stereos & Receivers

CarAudioNow reviews and assembles our unbiased lists of best products independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. See our Affiliate Disclosure and How We Choose for more details.

The Best In-Dash Car DVD Head Units come with a variety of features that many OEM and even aftermarket CD receivers do not. The quickest and easiest way to gain multimedia playback, including DVD and video inputs for adding devices such as game consoles and tablets, is to add a DVD and Multimedia compatible head unit to your car.

Browse through CarAudioNow's Best Pick Car DVD Head Units of 2018 and add a whole new level of entertainment to your car's stereo. All of our picks are rated based on sound and video quality, looks, design and value for your money.
And if you're looking for a multimedia/DVD head unit that has GPS Navigation built-in, check out our Best In-Dash GPS Navigation Units!

Here is a list of this year's top rated and reviewed video and DVD players to help you choose the best products for your car. Click a receiver to go to the full review, or just scroll down to view all of the reviews:

Our RankCar DVD ReceiverPower HandlingEQScreen Size (in)Price
1Pioneer AVH-4201NEXRMS: 14W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
13 Band7"$$$
2Kenwood DDX9704SRMS: 22W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
13 Band6.95"$$$$
3JVC KW-340BTRMS: 22W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
13 Band6.8"$$
4Alpine INE-W960HDMIRMS: 18W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
9 Band6.1"$$$$
5Kenwood DDX9903SRMS: 22W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
13 Band6.95"$$$$
6Pioneer AVH-201EXRMS: 14W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
13 Band6.2"$
7Kenwood DDX374BTRMS: 22W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
5 Band6.2"$
8Pioneer AVH-X7800BTRMS: 14W x 4CH
Peak: 50W x 4CH
13 Band6.95"$$$
9Sony XAV-712HDRMS: 17W x 4CH
Peak: 52W x 4CH
7 Band7"$$$$

Who Is This Review For?

There are many cases that can warrant upgrading your car stereo's head unit. You may need to find a way of integrating Bluetooth calling and music streaming. Or you might want to be able to use Pandora or Spotify easily in your car to give you more control over your music. You might have just purchased a used car that doesn't offer any integration with your smartphone at all, and needs an updated unit. Or you might just not like the features and functions of your car stereo's current unit. In any case, upgrading your receiver can give you the latest technology and integrate with the most popular and user-friendly applications, improving your in-car experience. But just because you'd like upgrade your car's stereo with a new and improved receiver doesn't mean you can.

There are two types of head units on the market today: single-DIN and double-DIN. If your car's dash has a double-DIN opening, you can fit both a single-DIN and double-DIN. However, if it is a single-DIN you can only fit a single-DIN receiver. You'll need to find out which size your car can fit in order to choose the right one.

Also, for people who have cars that are newer than about 10 years, your car may have multiple screens in different places on your dash that are controlled by different systems (and not just your audio). This will complicate your installation and you might even lose functionality of the screens that are reliant on the head unit you're looking to replace. But for those who have cars that are older than about 10 years that don't have multiple screens with different systems powering them, your installation and upgrade is pretty straight forward.

How We Tested

In order to find the top rated DVD and multimedia receivers, CarAudioNow has combined several reviews across the industry with first-hand tests. There are many criteria that we take into consideration when rating and reviewing each receiver, including:

  • Style (Looks, Design)
  • Display Type (LCD, Dotted, LCD Text, etc.)
  • Features (Bluetooth, Smartphone Compatibility, Equalizer, etc)
  • Power Ratings (Peak, RMS)
  • Price
  • Expandability (# of RCAs, XM/Sirius Read, Steering Wheel Control Ready, etc)
  • Quality (Materials used, manufacturer, etc)
  • Online Reviews (From multiple vendors such as Sonic Electronix, Crutchfield, Amazon and more)

The result from our combination of sources and testing is a list of the top rated and reviewed car DVD head units. And in addition to our compilation of products, CarAudioNow also provides multiple comparisons of prices from vendors to try to get you the best price for all of your products. But in the end, the best video receiver is one that meets your specific needs and is compatible with your car.

And, be sure to take a look through our Easy Guide to Installing a Car Stereo if you do decide to purchase a DVD Head Unitand install yourself!

Best In-Dash Video DVD & Multimedia Receivers List

1. Best Overall: Pioneer AVH-4201NEX

Pioneer AVH-4201NEX Best Car DVD Player

Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD receiver
  • 7″ motorized touchscreen
  • 13-band graphic equalizer
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control

Price Comparison $419.92 BUY IT $421.00
22 new from $429.98
Last Amazon price update was: November 18, 2018 10:36 pm

Pioneer AVH-4201NEX Quick Review

The Pioneer AVH-4201NEX is CarAudioNow's top pick for it's 2018 Best Car Video Player list. It's predecessor, the 4200NEX also made our list for 2017. The key difference between the AVH-4201NEX and the 4200NEX is that the AVH-4201NEX includes a Pioneer ND-BC8 backup camera out of the box. We thought was a bit of a strange reason to change the model number.

The 4201NEX falls into the mid-high price range category which makes it an attractive addition to your in-car entertainment system without breaking the bank. It is packed with a ton of useful features that make navigation safer because the controls are easy to access and user-friendly.

A few of the features that will tempt you to get the AVH-4201NEX include the detachable 7 inch WVGA resistive touchscreen with multi-angle adjustments, Bluetooth hands-free, audio streaming, and access to cloud-based services, and its compatibility with both Apple and Android gadgets.

Other key features include:

  • Compatible with SiriusXM, iDatalink Maestro, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, AppRadio Mode, AppRadioLIVE, Google, and Siri Hands-Free, Pandora, Aha Radio
  • Plays from SD cards, CDs, DVDs, USB devices, FLAC audio, built-in HD radio
  • 13-band graphic equalizer with Advanced Sound Retriever
  • 7 preset EQ curves with high and low-pass filters
  • 2 rear USB, 2 rear view camera inputs, HDMI and rear A/V
  • 6-channel preamp output

You’ll love excellent Pioneer audio and video quality and easy to use interface. Moreover, there is minimal lagging which is a major plus factor for this kind of appliance. If you have children, the AVH-4201NEX has inputs for video accessories like cameras and game consoles. Expect to overuse this player and consider applying a screen protector because based on our assessment.

  • Quality and simple-to-use interface
  • Packed with audio, navigation and Smartphone compatible features
  • Great HD reception
  • Awesome customization features like illumination color choices
  • Detachable faceplate for security
  • Separate USB inputs for Apple and Android

2. Runner Up, Best Overall: Kenwood DDX9704S

Kenwood DDX9704S

Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD receiver
  • 6.95″ capacitive touchscreen
  • 13-band graphic equalizer
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control

Price Comparison $392.00 BUY IT $397.00
15 new from $409.50
Last Amazon price update was: November 18, 2018 10:19 pm

Kenwood DDX9704S Quick Review

This is a high end double DIN unit that does it all: video, music, radio, phone connections and displays from two cameras. It's even ready to accept a dashcam input!

The screen measures a hair under 7″ diagonally and has what Kenwood calls a, “Motorized 7 Step Tilt Angle Adjust Touch Panel Control.” In addition, Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ compatibility means the screen mirrors what you see on your phone.

In terms of audio, the DDX9704S incorporates HD radio as well as playing through Bluetooth, an AUX input and via USB. Output is 22 watts RMS per channel. Usefully, it will pair with two phones simultaneously, potentially doubling the size of your music library, (and eliminating debates over who's music to listen to!)

Other useful features include:

  • 13-band graphic equalizer
  • DSP with digital time alignment
  • Bass boost and loudness controls
  • High- and low-pass filters
  • Good graphics
  • Stylish design and clear display
  • Capable of doing almost everything – audio, video, cameras, etc
  • USB inputs are located at the rear so they'll need to be wired to an accessible spot (e.g. glove box)

3. Best for Smartphone: JVC KW-V340BT


Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD receiver
  • 6.8″ Clear Resistive touchscreen
  • 13-band graphic equalizer
  • Dual phone connection

Price Comparison $169.99 BUY IT $184.94
7 new from $191.99
BUY IT $249.99 BUY IT
Last Amazon price update was: November 18, 2018 8:53 pm

JVC KW-V340BT Quick Review

This DVD head unit offers a large screen with touch controls that are clear and easy to use. Whether you want to watch a movie, play music or make a phone call, you'll find it easy to do with the double DIN KW-V340BT.

The screen itself measures 6.8″ diagonally although the space available for display is 6.2″. That aside, this is still a very good value DVD player with digital angle adjustment for off-center viewing. It plays music from CD's too, as well as over Bluetooth from your phone, through the AUX input or via USB. (There's also a USB port at the rear.) If higher quality audio is your thing it also handles the FLAC music format.

Also on the back you'll find 6 preamp outputs, (for front and rear speakers plus a subwoofer), and an input for a rear-view camera. Power output is 22 Watts RMS per channel.

Other features worth taking note of include:

  • Customizable display background
  • 13 band Customizable Graphic Equalizer
  • “Sound Lift” function compensates for speakers mounted low in the doors
  • Clear interface and controls
  • Customization options to improve display
  • Great value for the price
  • Some people report a brief lag in touch input response
  • Screen is difficult to see in certain light conditions

4. Best Splurge: Alpine INE-W960HDMI

Alpine INE-W960HDMI

Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD/Multimedia receiver
  • 6.1″ motorized touchscreen
  • 9-band graphic equalizer
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control

Price Comparison $575.00 BUY IT $594.95
18 new from $520.00
BUY IT $699.99 BUY IT
Last Amazon price update was: November 16, 2018 9:17 pm

Alpine INE-W960HDMI Quick Review

If you're an Alpine lover looking for a head unit for your car that supports video, here's the perfect receiver for you. The Alpine IVE-W960HDMI has plenty of options that will turn your car stereo into an entertainment hub. Built-in Bluetooth for hands free phone calls and audio streaming, App Mode for app control with your smartphone, and other media expansion options through its USB connectivity or auxiliary inputs. And for those who need built-in navigation, the IVE-W960HDMI has it!

The W960HDMI is Alpine's replacement of its previous unit, the INE-W960. We loved this model so much that it made our 2016 list last year. The W960HDMI has all of the great features from it's predecessor. Some of the great features that came along with this updated DVD/CD receiver is its plethora of media connections, hands-free and music streaming via Bluetooth, door-to-door guidance, and just its easy to use interface. Also, one of the key additions to this unit over it's predecessor is the HDMI input and satellite radio tuner for radio lovers.

Other great features:

  • 6.1″ touchscreen monitor
  • 18W x 4 (RMS) CEA-2006 compliant internal amp
  • Maps of U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
  • 7 million points of interest
  • text to speech guidance navigation

If you want a great head unit, love the quality and interface of Alpine, this is a great head unit to consider.

  • Easy to use with your Smartphone because of App Mode
  • Plenty of media expansion options
  • Substantial amount of features for the price
  • Easy to use interface
  • Some people site complexity in updating the navigation system map information

5. Runner Up, Best Splurge: Kenwood DDX9903S

Kenwood DDX9903S

Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD receiver
  • 6.95″ motorized touchscreen
  • 13-band graphic equalizer
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control

Price Comparison $449.99
1 new from $449.99
Last Amazon price update was: November 18, 2018 7:33 pm

Kenwood DDX9903S Quick Review

The full-featured Kenwood Excelon DDX 9903S is a highly rated double din head unit many reasons. It has everything you’d need in a receiver – 6.95-inch capacitive screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto with voice commands and Phone Mirroring, and built-in high-resolution Bluetooth streaming. This multimedia receiver is also SiriusXm and iDatalink-ready with an external GPS antenna, phone-swap support, HD radio, and a 2-year warranty. And with a simple and quick plug-and-play for both Android and selected Apple devices, you can enjoy your favorite videos/music on almost any device!

Other key features:

  • Compatible with Pandora, satellite radio, iHeartRadio, Siri Eyes free
  • Built-in 22W RMS, 50W Peak x 4 channels amplifier
  • Plays WMA, MP3, AAC, FLAC and high-res WAV files
  • More than 30,000 color illumination for full display customization
  • Has a 7-step tilting angle adjustment
  • 13 band Equalizer with Drive EQ
  • High and low-pass filters
  • Rear view camera with parking grids
  • Rear USB and HDMI/MHL digital A/V inputs plus both front and rear view camera and rear analog A/V mini-jack input
  • 6-channel preamp output and RCA video output and analog audio mini-jack output
  • Built-in alarm

Combined, you have an ultimate car DVD/music player use that leaves you wanting nothing more. Of course, it comes at a steep price but worth the investment. In a nutshell,  if you get the DDX 9903S, you are guaranteed to have incredible audio and video quality with features you probably never thought you would need, but would not want to live without after enjoying it on this Kenwood product.

  • Simple, stylish design
  • Audio and navigation feature-packed
  • 2-year warranty
  • Wide range color illumination for superb display customization
  • No light sensor for adaptive brightness

6. Best Value: Pioneer AVH-201EX

Pioneer AVH-201EX

Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD receiver
  • 6.2″ touchscreen
  • 13-band graphic equalizer
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control

Price Comparison $124.00 BUY IT $195.00 BUY IT $195.00
4 new from $179.99
1 used from $114.95
Last Amazon price update was: November 14, 2018 9:51 am

Pioneer AVH-201EX Quick Review

Eager to upgrade your in-car entertainment but don't want to spend a fortune? The Pioneer AVH-201EX could be the way to go. This plays DVDs on the 6.2″ 800 x 480 pixel touchscreen (with parking brake engaged,) or can send the video to monitors in the back (not included.) It also offers BlueTooth, plays CD's and connects to your iPod via the USB port. And if that's not enough, you can plug in a rearview camera for improved visibility when reversing!

If music is your thing you'll be happy to learn this double-DIN head unit puts out 14 watts RMS per channel and has 6 preamp outputs on the rear. That covers front and rear speakers plus a subwoofer. For those people who want higher quality music, this handles FLAC through the USB port.

The display itself offers a choice of five colors plus there are 112 shades of illumination. The unit also lets you pick between several background images. Other points that might influence your buying decision include:

  • Connects to two phones at once
  • 13 band Customizable Graphic Equalizer
  • Remote control included
  • Price is on the lower end
  • Simple interface and great features for the price
  • Power output is low
  • USB input is at the rear

7. Best Budget: Kenwood DDX374BT

Kenwood DDX374BT

Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD receiver
  • 6.2″ touchscreen
  • 5-band graphic equalizer
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control

Price Comparison $112.81 BUY IT $214.99
3 new from $214.98
4 used from $124.05
Last Amazon price update was: November 14, 2018 6:52 am

Kenwood DDX374 Quick Review

Sleek design, endless tools and features, and a great price; that's what you get with  Kenwood's DDX374BT DVD receiver. Give yourself full control of your iPhone with Kenwood's App Control and built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling, music streaming and app control for compatible apps. Use it's DVD/CD slot to watch your favorite movies and videos on a brilliant 6.2″ touchscreen display. And if you want an easy solution to navigation without paying for a navigation unit, just download Garmin's impressive Street Pilot app for your smartphone and sync it with the DDX372BT and gain full navigation features.

Some of the great features of the DDX374BT include:

  • 6.2″ touchscreen with variable color button illumination for customization to the interior of your car
  • 22W x 4 (RMS) internal amplifier
  • 13-band equalizer with digital time alignment
  • Compatible with iDatalink Maestro
    • retains factory settings for Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota and VW
    • Displays engine performance data on the touchscreen
  • Subwoofer level, phase and low-pass crossover controls
  • Sleek design and great sound
  • Plenty of features
  • Quite affordable and plenty of functionality at the price
  • Compatible with iDatalink Maestro
  • You have to buy a separate tuner for XM radio
  • Some complain that the volume knob is small

8. Best Single-Din: Pioneer AVH-X7800BT

Pioneer AVH-X7800BT Best Single Din Car DVD Player

Quick Stats

  • Single din DVD/CD receiver
  • 7″ motorized touchscreen
  • 13-band graphic equalizer
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control

Price Comparison $735.23 BUY IT BUY IT

Pioneer AVH-X7800BT Quick Review

Pioneer is one of the most respected names in the home appliance industry but more so, in the area of in-car entertainment systems. They are known for their highly responsive and performing touch screen car stereos, and this is exemplified with the AVH-X7800BT.

The AVH-X7800BT is a single DIN flip-out head unit that was released in early 2016. It has a 7-inch LCD screen, detachable faceplate, Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and audio streaming, and is capable of supporting two phones at the same time! It is also compatible with Apple and Android devices.

You will also enjoy its Touch Slide technology and Network Entertainment Experience (NEX) interface allows access to different apps including AppRadio One, Siri Eyes Free, Pandora presets, and Spotify.

Other features of this best car video player include:

  • 13-band graphic equalizer, 7 presets and touch panel swipe setting
  • Peak 50 Watts x 4 channels
  • High and low-pass filters with adjustable slopes and points
  • FLAC playback using the USB, CDs, DVDs, MP3, WMA, AAC files
  • Built-in Auto EQ
  • Dimmer and brightness control
  • Advanced Sound Retriever
  • MIXTRAX with visual effects and multi-colored illumination
  • Rear view camera option, rear USB, rear A/V and aux inputs
  • Remote control

When we tested the AVH- X7800BT, we noticed how the video quality is much more vibrant than many competitors. It has a highly responsive and clearer resistive touch screen. We were also very impressed with how the audio can be compared favorably to the higher-end models. As one of the more affordable car DVD players, this model does not have SiriusXM satellite radio or HD Radio, which shouldn’t be a deal breaker since you have many other options for your listening pleasure.

  • Plenty of features and outstanding functionality at the price
  • Highly responsive touch screen
  • Competes with the high-end models
  • Lacks satellite of HD radio

9. Best Looks: Sony XAV-712HD

Sony XAV-712HD

Quick Stats

  • Double din DVD/CD receiver
  • 7″ motorized touchscreen
  • 7-band graphic equalizer
  • iPod, iPhone, and iPad control (adapter required)

Price Comparison $735.23 BUY IT BUY IT

Sony XAV-712HD Quick Review

Convenience is what Sony's XAV-712HD in-dash DVD receiver brings to your traveling experience. Upgrade to the 712HD and enjoy full smartphone compatibility with its built-in Bluetooth and MirrorLink with iPhone and Android controls (adapter required). Expand your audio and video capability with a front-panel USB connection and bring your audio/video files to life from a number of compatible devices. Or, if you decide to keep it simple, switch to HD radio for local music with crisp and clear sound.

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Cheap
  • Great sound and audio connectivity options
  • Works well with steering controls
  • Slow touch screen response
  • Does not have iPhone mirroring

Best Car Stereos & Head Units: What to Look For

Every car requires a unique combination of car stereo components to sound great. A car stereo may sound excellent in one car, but sound terrible in another. Additionally, the limitations in size and wiring configuration make selecting the best car DVD Player even more difficult for you.

The best car stereo will give you the features you love while conforming to the environment of your car and create an excellent reproduction of the music that you love. With the right car stereo, you'll be able to custom tailor frequencies to your car, integrate your favorite music/media device, connect to your smartphone via bluetooth and much more.
At CarAudioNow, we use multiple key criteria when rating products in our top lists. Below is a list of criteria that we take into consideration while choosing head units for your vehicle.

Power Ratings

Power ratings are extremely important feature to consider while choosing a car stereo. Without an external amplifier, the power output of the car stereo is what dictates the power of your speakers and ultimately the power of sound. There are typically two power output ratings that are given with car stereos:

Max Power Output: Max power rating is the maximum amount of power that the car stereo can emit for short periods of time. It is the maximum amount of power that will be sent to your speakers (without an external amplifier)
RMS (Continuous) Power Output: RMS power rating is the amount of power that the car stereo can emit at a constant or continuous rate. This is the most important power output rating.
Along with power handling and output, the level of control of the output sound's shape is also very important. This control is typically made through a built-in equalizer (EQ). It will allow you to tailor the shape of sound, raising or lowering the level of certain frequencies in order to best optimize the output sound for the environment of your car. The higher the number of bands that the car stereo's equalizer has, the more you will be able to customize the frequencies and shape of your music and sound.


Display features play a huge role in how stylish and user-friendly car stereos are. High end car stereos will have a high LED pixel count, and give customizable features like color and brightness in order to match the color of your interior.


Playback can be defined as the methods that your car stereo is capable of playing back audio. CD, DVD, MP3, HD Radio, Pandora, Auxiliary (Aux) Ports, Bluetooth; these are all examples of playback types that the quality units will typically have.
You will want to make sure that the playback methods that you intend on using is consistent with the playback features of the car stereo, otherwise you may be stuck with a head unit that doesn't play your music in the format that you have it. Here is a breakdown of the most popular playback features in the best car DVD and Multimedia Players:

  • HD Radio: HD Radio is the same radio stations that you listen to, but with a higher audio quality and more metadata than tradition radio. Metadata includes titles, artists, albums and more.
  • CD Player: CD players will play your favorite CDs in multiple formats, including CD,CD-R/RW, MP3, AAC, WAV and WMA.
  • Auxiliary (Aux) Port: Auxiliary ports allow you to connect any music device that you may have using a headphone connector. Typically, in our opinion, the best head units will have an easily accessible auxiliary port on the front of the unit.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth music allows you to connect to your music on a smartphone or other bluetooth enabled device, playing all of your music wirelessly from your device via a Bluetooth connection.
  • USB Port: A USB port will allow you to connect your music devices via a USB connection. It will allow you to listen to your favorite music from your device, while charging it for endless listen time.
  • XM Radio: XM radio is satellite radio such as SiriusXM, that allows you to connect and listen to thousands of channels of radio via a satellite connection. This increases the coverage of radio that you have, however requires a paid subscription.

Smartphone Integration

All of the latest car stereos allow you to fully integrate with your smartphone, enabling the best features such as Pandora and Spotify while allowing you to answer phone calls without touching your smartphone. With recent legislation prohibiting you from using your phones while driving, it is becoming increasingly important for the best car stereos to fully integrate with your smartphone. Additionally, they will come with microphones with noise-canceling technology that will hone in on your voice and eliminate road noise.


Expandability is what allows you to connect external components to your car stereo. The best car stereos will have at least three 4volt RCA outputs (Front, Rear, Subwoofer), Audio/Video (AV) input/outputs, rear view camera inputs (with compatible displays) and a microphone input.