Headrest DVD and video players aren't purchased for the benefit of the driver. They're for the passengers – children, friends or family – to entertain them for a long car ride or trip. And for many parents, providing entertainment for their children in the car might be the difference between sanity and insanity on a long drive.
Naviskauto manufactures a variety of mobile and automotive screens, built for bringing multimedia to your vehicle or wherever you need it. We've featured at least one of their screens on our list of best headrest video players for some time now. The BN1079B that I'll be reviewing in this article is a dual screen DVD player and designed to mount directly to the headrest posts of your vehicle. But it can be brought anywhere with its built-in stand and easy to hold screens. It's a budget-friendly way to bring video to your vehicle while on the road.
Naviskauto sent us a BN1079B to review, so in this review I'll unbox it for you, review some of the key features of the screens and DVD player. I will hook it up to power to turn it on using a video source to show you how the screen looks and how the two screens sync together. Hopefully by the end of this review you'll have the information you need to decide if the BN1079B is the headrest video player for you.
Unboxing the Naviskauto BN1079B
I think the first thing to call out about this DVD player is the fact that it's a budget option that provides some of the great features you want in a video player for an affordable price. You'll get that sense when you first see the packaging – simplistic and straight forward.
When you open the box, the two screens and hardware are neatly packaged and concealed. The screens are facing each other to prevent damage if the outer box is pierced for some reason during shipping.
Out of the box, the screens are pretty light and simple as well. There's a ‘source' screen that has the DVD player built in along with an HDMI input for external sources of video. And also a secondary screen, which relies on the source screen for power and video source. It's important to note that secondary screen isn't designed as an independent screen that you can use for video without the source screen. You can independently use the source screen for video, however you can't use the secondary screen by itself.
The BN1079B is a 10″ headrest screen, but the entire unit measures roughly 11 9/16″ width x 6 13/16″ high x 1.5″ deep. The buttons are positioned on either side of the source screen (the secondary screen does not have any controls and relies on the source screen for volume and configuration settings). Volume and Stop buttons are located on the left hand side, while next/prev and play/pause on the right side. Next/prev and play/pause also double as selection buttons when navigating through USB directories to play videos or view images.
Below the buttons you'll find speakers. If you don't want to use the included headphones you can always use the speakers on the unit itself to play sound.
If you do choose to use headphones, the BN1079B also comes with two wired headphones that plug into a headphone jack on the side of each screen. The headphones themselves are comfy and sound good – nothing to really note there. It would have been nice if they were wireless, but unfortunately this unit does not support wireless headphones. As long as the headphone cable reaches the distance of the viewer, the wired headphones shouldn't be an issue though!
What's In the Box?
- (1) 10″ screen with DVD player built in
- (1) 10″ secondary screen without DVD player
- (1) 12V accessory power cable
- (1) DVD player digital out cable for secondary screen
- (1) AC power adapter
- (1) Remote control
- (2) Headrest pole mounting clamps
- (2) Headrest to screen adjustable mounts
- (2) Wired headphones
- (1) Quick start guide
- (1) User manual
- (1) Warranty card
Video Sources & Expandability
A headrest video player is only as good as its ability to play video from multiple sources, right? And with today's endless sources of streaming video, a universal input like HDMI is a necessity. Naviskauto's BN1079B supports three options for playing video:
- USB that supports AVI, DIVX, MPG, VOB, MPEG4, DVD-IFO, DVD-ISO, DAT video formats.
- Built in DVD player. Does not support BluRay.
- HDMI that supports really anything you plug into it!
I tested all three, and they work as expected. From the DVD player perspective, you simply place your DVD into the DVD player on the source screen. It'll allow you to play video easily using the controls on the unit or the included remote control. USB was nice as well – you can simply load up compatible formats of video or images to a thumb drive and plug it in to play video without internet. It's worth noting that USB won't simply play video from your iPhone (I tried with my iPhone 12 Max Pro). It does not support any type of video or screen mirroring via the USB input either. I wasn't able to test an Android device though (I don't own one).
I also tested out my FireTV, which is my most relevant use case because I have a hotspot on my phone and an AC outlet in my F150's back seat to it plug into. This allows me to play video from anywhere by connecting my FireTV to my hotspot. In general though, the HDMI input allows you to hook up any source of video into it. Simply select the “HDMI” source on the screen, and use it to watch or play anything you want. FireTV was my choice of streaming video but you could plug in an Apple TV, Roku, xBox, Playstation, BluRay player or even get an HDMI adapter for your Android or iPhone device. With HDMI, the options are endless. Here's a few shots during my testing with a FireTV.
All of the pictures in the carousel above show me testing the source screen. But with the included digital output cable you can link the two screens together and play video/audio as one. As soon as you connect the two screens, the secondary screen will take on the volume, video and any video configuration settings from the source unit. I thought it was interesting that the secondary screen had no independent control of the configurations or volume – any change in the volume or settings will reflect on both the source screen and secondary screen while they're connected.
To me, the connectivity between the screens is very straight forward. Almost traditional. In an era of wireless tech, connectivity via WiFi and a lengthy setup procedures, it was almost of a breath of fresh air to just plug my FireTV in, connect the two screens together and go. The HDMI input is the most important component here, in my opinion, because it really opens up the sources of video to whatever you'd like to use. I don't think that will use the DVD player too frequently unless I have to. I don't even think I own any DVDs anymore at this point. But it's a good option to have either way.
Screen Specs & Quality
The Naviskauto BN1079B features a 10″ TFT screen (diagonally measured of course). In my opinion, 10.5″ is a great size for the back of common-sized headrests. It's not obnoxiously large and bulky, but provides enough screen to enjoy watching. The screens are not not 4K, but they have a 1024 x 600 resolution which is adequate for a 10″ screen. In reality, you're not going to notice a massive difference from a higher resolution screen like you would a larger TV due to the screen size. And let's be honest, this is probably going to be for kids or family that aren't going to judge the resolution of your headrest video player anyhow.
With my FireTV connected, I opened up the Netflix app and tested out the image quality by playing a few high resolution planetary documentaries. In general I was satisfied with, and almost surprised at, the quality of the image on both screens. Here's a few photos, but please note that photographing the image quality on a screen is nearly impossible. These images are also modified, so please do not rely on these to judge the quality of the screen.
One of the things I noticed while testing the screens out was their sensitivity to viewing angle. If you're not within a narrow viewing angle (e.g. being directly in front of the screen), the quality of the image deteriorates pretty quickly. This may be a good thing for sun glare though. Here's a few images to show what I'm talking about:
In the images above, you can see at angles, the screen clarity degrades a little bit. But, Tthe reality is that 99% of time, viewers will likely sit directly in front of the screen, or in the center seat so this won't be an issue. But it's worth calling out.
Mounting, Installation & Wiring
These screens are mainly designed for the use in a vehicle while mounted to the back of a headrest. This is clear to me because the secondary screen really isn't meant to work without being connected to the source screen. Unless both screens are connected together, the secondary screen won't be able to function properly. Only the source screen has a battery too.
That said, they do have stands that allow you to place them on a table and the source screen features a 2700 mAH battery that will last for 5 hours with one screen and 2.5-3 hours powering both screens (I did not test the battery life). So in theory, you could take these anywhere with you like to the airport or beyond. The source screen can be an independent, mobile screen to take with you while traveling too.
Being installed on the back of a headrest is still the best use case for these in my opinion. Simply because you'll wire and install these once, then won't touch them again unless you have to.
The headrest mounting mechanism is pretty simple and effective. They use a clamp-style mount that fixes to the two poles of your headrest to secure the screens in place. The clamps have a pretty wide range that they can be used on, in case the poles on your headrest are super close or very far apart. These clamps clip into another adjustable mount that ultimately fixes to the back of the screen via a mounting screw. It's a pretty simple mechanism and provides some flexibility in the angle of the screen depending on how tall the viewer is. It's a more permanent installation than a strap-on style monitor, but the screen can unclip from the headrest clamp with ease if you want to bring it with you.
I went ahead and mounted it to the back of the passenger seat in my F150. Here's a few snapshots of what it looks like:
In general, mounting and wiring the Naviskauto screens is a breeze. It takes all but about 15 minutes to get them up and running in your vehicle. The mounting hardware worked well in terms of fixing the screens to the back of my headrest, and allowed me to adjust the screen angle to the height of my daughter. Connecting the two screens together was simple too – simply connect power and the video source cable from the source screen to the secondary screen.
The thing I didn't like about the wiring configuration of these units was that neither the power nor the digital out cable between the source and secondary screens were long enough to tuck or hide in my truck. So they show in plain view which is an eye sore for OCD folks like me. I think in a smaller vehicle like an SUV or sedan, this wouldn't be as noticeable of an issue. But in a truck, the seats are much further apart and require longer cables.
If you're looking for the DVD basics, want an HDMI input for streaming video and dual screens for the back of your car, the Naviskauto BN1079B is a straight forward choice. It comes at a price point that won't make you cringe either. It has all of the source connectivity features you need with the exception of wireless connectivity and headphones. If you wanted, you could also bring the two screens beyond your vehicle using rechargeable battery too.
The screen quality was good, and audio sounded fine on both the screens and while using the included wired headphones. I also liked the simplicity of the mounting hardware with the clamp and adjustable mount that allow you to adjust the angle of the screen to the viewer's height.
I wasn't the biggest fan of the secondary screen wiring though, which requires you to hardwire power and a video input directly from the source unit in order to make it work. The secondary screen is really designed for use with the source screen. So if you were hoping to use these two screens independently, this may not be your best option. The wires between the source and secondary screens are a little too short to tuck away too and leave them exposed.
Overall, I thought this Naviskauto is a great value and offers all the essential features you'd want in a headrest DVD player without a hefty price tag. If you're seeking a DVD player, HDMI input and plan on using two screens in your car, this is a great choice.