Traveling long distances without some form of car entertainment can be quite boring, especially when traveling with kids. Besides a car music system, another entertainment system you can add is overhead DVD players. You can keep kids, family, or other passengers entertained when traveling by installing the best overhead DVD players. They’re especially important for keeping kids occupied for a more comfortable journey.
There’re several styles and designs of overhead DVD players. It can be quite overwhelming to determine the best brand to buy, especially if it’s your first time shopping for them. Their features and prices vary significantly. Rather than taking much of your time to go through the challenging shopping process, we’ve prepared this guide to assist you to narrow down the options available. This will give you more confidence that you’re installing the right overhead player.
Quick Comparison Table
Top 6 Overhead DVD Players
Overhead DVD players are not made equal. Their features vary greatly. Thus, you need to choose wisely for the best audio and picture quality, durability, and numerous multimedia sources. Let’s review the top 6 overhead DVD players available today, including their top features, pros, and cons.
1. Rockville RVD14BGB
The Rockville RVD14BGB DVD monitor is designed as a flip-down car monitor. It’s available in three different color skins including beige, grey, and black. This makes it possible to choose a color that blends with the rest of your car interior.
- High-resolution picture quality- One of the key features that make this DVD monitor a top choice is its high-resolution picture quality. It features a full High-Definition resolution of 1080p, which is equivalent to 1920 x 1080 pixels. Thus, you’ll enjoy HD picture quality for both images and videos.
- USB port- The DVD monitor comes with a single USB 2.0 input port. You can use it to attach USB thumb drives for music playback. It supports USB thumb drives with a storage capacity of up to 16GB.
- HDMI input- It also comes with a HDMI input, through which you can attach HDMI-compliant audio or video devices to the monitor. With a HDMI port, you only need one cable for transmitting both audio and video. This eliminates the need to use multiple cables.
- AV inputs and output- Another top feature of this DVD monitor is that it comes with 2 AV inputs and a single AV input. The 2 AV inputs make it possible to connect a source device that supports AV connections. You can also connect the DVD monitor to a larger screen via its AV output.
- Video games- The monitor comes with 300 32-bit video games. The video games are pre-loaded on a DVD. It also comes with a game controller. Thus, besides watching videos, the user can also keep themselves entertained by playing video games.
- SD card slot
- Slot loading DVD
- 2 LED dome lights
- Wireless headphone connection
- Wireless FM radio tuner
- Not the best user manual
- It may be too big for cars with smaller interiors
The average size of the Rockville RVD14BGB DVD monitor makes it the perfect choice for installation in smaller vehicles such as hatchbacks, station wagons, and salon cars.
2. XTRONS CM173HD
The XTRONS CM173HD overhead player is designed with tech-savvy users in mind. It features tons of innovative features that make it outshine many overhead players of its category.
- Connects to a digitalTV tuner- You can watch TV with the player by connecting it to an XTRONS Freeview TV receiver. The TV receiveroffers support for digital TV for enhanced audio and video quality. However, the TV receiver is sold separately.
- Wireless connectivity- The overhead player features an inbuilt HDMI that supports wireless connectivity. You can connect your tablet or smartphone wirelessly by mirroring it to the monitor. It supports both Android and iOS devices.
- Supports USB drives and SD cards- It comes with a USB port and SD card slot. You can attach a USB flash drive or SD card to the respective port for music and video playback or viewing photos. It supports flash disks and SD cards with a maximum capacity of 32GB.
- Full HD quality- Watching high-quality videos is enjoyable since it feels like you’re watching something more real. This player comes with a monitor featuring a resolution of 1080 pixels for a Full HD watching experience.
- Rotating screen- You can rotate the screen to an angle of up to 130 degrees. This makes it easier to position the screen for watching by multiple people more comfortably. For instance, it can be mounted on one side and rotated for all passengers to view.
- Blue LED light bar
- Ultra-thin design
- Sharp and clear display
- Sleek touch panel
- Supports door control
- Lacks a DVD drive
- Higher price range
The XTRONS CM173HD overhead player is most suitable for individuals who prefer watching videos from a large screen in the car, thanks to its massive 17.3-inch monitor.
3. Pyle PLRV1725
The Pyle PLRV1725 overhead display screen delivers high-resolution video output for enhanced video and picture clarity. Pyle has designed it to offer passengers an unmatched viewing experience from a wide range of audio and video sources.
- Infrared transmitter- Among its most astonishing features is its inbuilt infrared transmitter. The IR transmitter makes it possible to connect wireless IR headphones for a more comfortable listening and watching experience.
- Supports digital disk drives- You can connect digital disk drives to this overhead player, including USB flash drives and SD cards with a capacity of up to 32GB. You can load your favorite movies or music by attaching a flash disk or SD card via the respective USB port and SD card slot.
- Full high-definition resolution- The screen supports full HD video with a resolution of 1080 pixels. It features an aspect ratio of 16:9, a contrast ratio of 300, and a brightness of 350 cd/m2. That way, you can enjoy the best picture and video quality.
- Compatible with most audio and video file formats- It’s compatible with the most common audio and video file formats including MP3, MP4, MP5, AVI, MPEG4, JPG, and WMA. This means that you won’t be limited to the kind of video and audio files you can play.
- Supports both 12 and 24 voltsDC- You can feed this overhead player with both 12 and 24 volts DC power supply. You can safely use it in your car, regardless of whether it works with a 12 volts or 24 volts DC battery. This means that you won’t need a power adapter to use it.
- Comes with a remote control
- Convenient flip-down design
- Compatible with both Mac and Windows PCs
- HDMI input
- FM radio transmitter
- Lacks a jack for wired headphones
- Not the best audio quality when using the inbuilt speakers
The Pyle PLRV1725for its infrared transmitter, making it possible to operate it with the provided remote control and use wireless IR headphones.
4. Zbark PLRV1725
The Zbark PLRV1725is designed as an ultra-thin and wide TFT screen overhead player. It’s mountable on the car roof to allow passengers to view the display more easily.
- Wide opening angle-The monitor has a maximum opening angle of 130 degrees. This allows for enhanced usability such that most passengers can view it comfortably from different sitting positions. As such, the passengers won’t strain their necks when viewing the screen.
- Several media source options- You can stream music and videos from a USB flash disk or SD card. You can also connect any media source that supports HDMI connections. It also comes with two RCA inputs for connecting media sources that support RCA connections.
- Sharp display- The screen has a sharp display with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Its full HD screen combined with a 16:9 aspect ratio delivers high-quality videos. This is especially important for playing video games and HD media files without lagging.
- Touch panel- Additionally, this screen boasts of being one of the best overhead DVD players, thanks to its touch panel. The touch button design makes it easier to operate the player while keeping it thin, elegant, and sleek.
- Supports TV tuners- Another feature that makes it a top choice is its support for digital TV tuners. You can attach a compatible digital TV tuner via USB to enjoy watching your favorite digital TV stations in your car.
- USB port
- SD card slot
- Large screen
- Bright LED light bars
- Supports negative and positive door control
- Higher price range
- Lacks inbuilt speakers
The huge screen of this Zbark PLRV1725 overhead monitor makes it a superb choice for installation in spacious vehicles such as motor homes, buses, and coaches.
5. Rockville RVD10HD-GR
The Rockville RVD10HD-GR monitor DVD player is designed with affordability in mind. It’s an all-in-one overhead player, thanks to its support for several media sources. With this overhead player, your entertainment options are unlimited.
- Compact size- This monitor DVD player comes with a screen measuring 10.1 inches. Its compact design makes it suitable for installation even in a car with the smallest interior space.
- HDMI input- The player comes with a HDMI input. You can connect any device that supports HDMI connections, including your smartphone. That way, you can stream media or play video games from your smartphone.
- Video games- Another top feature of this DVD overhead player is that it comes with a DVD containing 300 video games. That way, rear passengers who love playing video games can entertain themselves with this player.
- LED light- The DVD player comes with a LED surround light that’s strategically positioned around the trim. Also, the player comes with an LED control button such that you can turn it on or off as needed. When lit, it makes the player and interior car space look extremely stunning.
- DVD player- If you love playing music, videos, and games from traditional discs, then this is a great overhead player for you. It has support for DVDs, VCDs, and CDs. It also supports file formats such as WMA, MP3, and MP4.
- Comes with a remote control
- USD card slot and USB port
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- Wireless FM transmitter
- Multi-language onscreen display
- Not the best for installation in large vehicles
- The provided video games are not of the best quality
Looking for a budget overhead DVD player? If so, you won’t hurt your pocket by choosing this Rockville RVD10HD-GR monitor DVD player.
6. Pyle PLRD146
This is yet another top-quality overhead DVD player from Pyle. It features a flip-down design and can be mounted on the roof.Its display supports full HD, with a screen resolution of 1280×800 pixels. It has a contrast ratio of 500:1, an aspect ratio of 4:3 & 16:9, and a brightness of 450 cd/m2.
- Wide compatibility- The overhead player is compatible with a wide range of file formats. It can play file formats such as MP3, MP4, MPEG4, MP5, AVI, JPG, and WMA. That way, you won’t struggle to find compatible file formats as it supports the most common formats.
- Side mount DVD player- It comes with a side mount DVD player. The DVD player is designed as a slot. This makes it effortless to insert or remove a DVD. It also plays CDs. The compatible file formats include MP3, MP5, JPG, AVI, WMA, MPEG4, and MP4.
- RCA connectivity- You can connect this overhead DVD player to multimedia sources that support RCA connections. You can also connect it to another display via RCA for extra viewing. An RCA wiring harness is provided.
- High-resolution display- It comes with a widescreen display measuring 13.3 inches. The display allows for a widescreen viewing angle when flipped open. Its average size is large enough for use in most small and average car sizes.
- Easy to operate- The overhead player is easy to operate for an average user, including a first-time user. It has control buttons for all the most important functions such as volume up/forward skip, volume down/rewind skip, menu, pause/open, power ON/OFF, dome light controller, and a button for switching the media sources.
- SD card slot and USB port
- HDMI input
- Supports PAL/NTSC modes
- Inbuilt IR transmitter for connecting wireless IR headphones
- Greatly priced for its size and features
- The provided mounting bolts are relatively short
- The IR transmitter is relatively weak
- Not the best installation instructions
The fact that this Pyle PLRD146 roof mount DVD player comes with three color styles in the form of interchangeable housings makes it perfect for installation without interfering with the interior car décor. You can use the housing that best matches your car interior.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Overhead DVD Players
Overhead DVD players come in a wide range of sizes, models, and features. Thus, it’s important to be keen when shopping to ensure you make the right choice. Here’re the most important factors to consider when choosing an overhead DVD player.
1. Screen size
One of the most important considerations to make when choosing an overhead player for your car is its screen size. The most common sizes range from 10 inches to 17.3 inches. You can also find smaller and larger sizes than this range. Choose a size that can fit in your car effortlessly. If you have a large vehicle, consider choosing a larger screen for more effortless viewing by all passengers. If you have a smaller car, then choose a smaller screen to fit without taking a lot of space.
2. Screen resolution
The screen resolution of the DVD player monitor also matters. A higher resolution means that you can watch videos and images in higher resolution. A full HD screen with a resolution of at least 1080 pixels would be your best bet as it’s able to play high-definition videos without lagging. Also, the display should be bright enough with high clarity. Additionally, it should have a wide viewing angle when flipped open.
3. Supported media sources
Another important factor to consider is the supported media sources. Ensure it supports your favorite media source. For instance, if you prefer streaming music and videos from flash disks or SD cards, then ensure the overhead player has a USB input and/or SD card slot. If you like watching TV while traveling, then consider a player that can work with a digital TV tuner. On a similar note, if you like playing video games or watching movies from DVDs, then ensure the player you’re choosing can play DVDs. An overhead player with support for multiple media sources would be a great choice.
4. Supported media file formats
The kind of file formats supported by the player will also determine its usability. To be safe, ensure it supports the most common media file formats such as MP3 and MP4. If it doesn’t support common file formats, you’ll struggle to find music or video files that are supported.
5.Controls and ease of use
It should be easy to use an overhead DVD monitor. Ensure it has all the most important controls for enhanced usability. A player that comes with a remote control would be an added advantage since you don’t have to reach over to the onboard panel now and then.
Overhead DVD players are a great source of car entertainment. They’re especially great for entertaining passengers when traveling. As you can see, they’re available in several models, all with their own unique features. Thus, make your choice wisely for the best value of your money. By keeping this guide in mind, you’ll find it easier to choose the best overhead DVD players.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.