Everyone is trying to stay safe nowadays, but that doesn’t mean you cannot yearn for a change of scenery beyond your home’s walls. 70% of families consider road trips super fun and will do it again.
However, a road trip means seating for hours. And, if you have kids, you’ll miss some of home’s conveniences.
Smartphones, tablets, and handheld gaming consoles are common, but you cannot overlook the overhead DVD player.
It may seem odd we’re talking about a popular device from a bygone era, but the benefits of playing a DVD are obvious when you drive into a non-cellular signal area.
A flip-down screen also means you’re managing fewer devices and charging fewer batteries.
For many parents, in-car entertainment for kids during a long car ride means maintaining sanity.
For other groups, entertaining family and friends in the back seat adds some severe entertainment value to a road trip.
Overhead DVD players bring multimedia and video entertainment to your vehicle, keeping back seaters quiet and happy.
However, the best overhead DVD player can bring more entertainment, including:
- Using it as a video output device such as a video head unit or DVD to play video on the ceiling-mounted screen;
- Using the overhead monitor as the DVD player, but not all overhead players have this option;
- Or use the DVD player’s monitor for pure video display.
But choosing an overhead DVD player is difficult.
You need to assess the feature set it brings to your vehicle beyond the ability to playback optical disks.
We’ve done a full assessment of the units on the market, so read on for our pick of the best overhead DVD players, how to choose the best, and what you need to know before installing one!
The Best Overhead DVD Players in 2023
Are you considering upgrading your vehicle’s entertainment system with an overhead DVD player? These are some top options on the market.
- Supports wireless connectivity
- Provides full HD watching experience
- Effortlessly supports SD cards and flash drives
- Rotation angle ensures maximum viewing position
- Offers LED screen 1024 by 600 resolution
- HDMI for smooth connectivity
- Built-in SD card slot
- Nightlight to illuminate the unit
- 10.1-inch widescreen theatrical display
- Swivel display
- Allows easy streaming from the internet
- Includes wireless remote control
- Wide-screen provides a comfortable viewing experience
- Supports full HD and 1080 pixel resolution
- Easily compatible with Mac and Window PCs
- Built-in speakers
- Supports RCA connections
- Affordable price tag
- Built-in IR transmitters
- Swivel view makes it easy to watch
- Plays an extensive range of file formats
- Powered by 1920 by 1080 HD resolution
- 120-rotation makes it easier to view from every corner
- Multiple-input methods
- 15.6 inch bigger screen
- Compatible with 12 to 24-volt sources
- Blue LED light bar
Let’s dive deeper into the details of these top-picks:
1. XTRONS CM173HD – Best Large-Screen Overhead DVD Player
Are you looking for a DVD player from a brand that only focuses on car audio accessories? If yes, you can never go wrong with XTRONS CM173HD.
|Screen Size||17.3 Inches|
|Dimensions||5.91 x 1.97 x 1.97 inches|
The XTRONS brand focuses on producing audio and DVD playback devices, including this 17.3-inch unit. This XTRONS CM173HD offers several innovative features that tech-savvy users will love.
This XTRONS CM173HD overhead player comes with a built-in HDMI that supports wireless connectivity. Connect your smartphone or tablet wirelessly for mirroring to the monitor. The XTRONS CM173HD supports iOS and Android devices.
HDMI input also lets you hook up your games console. The XTRONS CM173HD supports Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo. Game streaming directly to the monitor ensures each drive is fun.
Connect this XTRONS CM173HD to an XTRONS Freeview TV receiver if you want to watch TV. The receiver provides support for digital TV for enhanced video and audio quality. But you need to purchase the receiver separately.
Watching high-quality videos on the XTRONS CM173HD DVD player is enjoyable as it feels like you’re watching something on your home TV. The monitor brings you 1080 pixels for a Full HD watching experience.
XTRONS CM173HD offers integrated USB and SD card slots that make video playback, viewing photos, and listening to music effortless. XTRONS CM173HD supports SD cards and flash disks with a max capacity of 32GB.
The XTRONS CM173HD’s screen can rotate to an angle of up to 130 degrees to ensure maximum viewing position for your passengers. A rotating screen also means you can mount this unit to one side and rotate it for passengers.
2. Rockville RVD10HD-BG – Best Affordable Overhead DVD Player
The Rockville brand built its name around audio equipment and accessories. They create professional speakers for at-home and venue use, Bluetooth speakers, and accessories. They also develop overhead DVD players such as this Rockville RVD10HD-BG 10.1-inch player for cars. The LED screen on this unit offers 1024 by 600 resolution.
|Screen Resolution||800 x 480|
|Dimensions||19 x 16 x 6 inches|
This Rockville RVD10HD-BG model also has an HDMI cable, which is useful when connecting it to your phone. A built-in SD card slot makes it easy to use with SD cards to play movies or music and keep the road trip fun alive.
The Rockville RVD10HD-BG overhead DVD player comes with a game disc with over 300 titles. Passengers can now take turns getting high scores.
A cool LED surround light is another standout feature of the Rockville RVD10HD-BG. The light illuminates the DVD player in the dark and also has a shut-off option when you don’t need it.
This Rockville RVD10HD-BG has a built-in FM modulator so you can transmit audio through your vehicle’s stereo system wirelessly. The option makes enjoying quality sound effortless without dealing with extra wires.
Rockville RVD10HD-BG also have a built-in IR transmitter that makes transmitting audio signals to wireless headphones easy. The monitor also offers built-in speakers if you don’t want to route audio to the car system.
Are you looking for a unit that supports videos, music, and games from traditional disks? Then Rockville RVD10HD-BG is perfect for you. You get support for CDs, VCDs, and DVDs. Plus, you can play a variety of file formats, including MP3 and WMA.
3. BOSS Audio BV10.1MC – Best Affordable Packaging
BOSS is a leading manufacturer in the world. We introduce you to another one of their ingenious creations, the BOSS Audio BV10.1MC.
|Brand||BOSS Audio Systems|
|Screen Resolution||1024 x 600 Resolution|
|Dimensions||9.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 inches|
We know BOSS for state-of-the-art quality, and the BOSS Audio BV10.1MC lives up to the promise. The 10.1-inch wide-screen display offers a theatrical video output thanks to its 1024 by 600 resolution.
If you want to watch a video or movie of any kind, all you need to do is plop a CD or DVD into the drive. This BOSS Audio BV10.1MC overhead DVD player also offers AV, SD, and AV inputs that achieve the same purpose.
The BOSS Audio BV10.1MC’s display swivels on its vertical axis at as much as 270 degrees. Such a wide angle is favorable for a single rear seat occupant, helps reduce glare, or allows you to preview what the kids are watching.
Electronic skip protection technology in the DVD player allows continuous playtime. The BOSS Audio BV10.1MC also lets you stream from the internet.
Bonuses that come with the BOSS Audio BV10.1MC include two pairs of headphones, overhead dome lights, interchangeable outer covers, and wireless remote control.
4. Pyle PLRV1725 – Best IR Transmitter
The Pyle PLRV1725 is one of the leading car audio equipment from Pyle. Its wide-screen viewing angle screen offers a comfortable viewing experience. Use the 17.3-inch screen to view movies anytime and anywhere.
|Screen Size||17.3 Inches|
|Screen Resolution||1680 x 800|
|Dimensions||19.7 x 12.2 x 1.7 inches|
The Pyle PLRV1725 screen supports full HD video with a 1080-pixel resolution. You get an aspect ratio of 16:9, so more fits in the frame horizontally and optimize video.
Pyle PLRV1725 supports a USB flash drive and SD cards, so you can quickly load movies and music from your PC and play them back. Just insert your USB flash or SD card and gain access to a wealth of entertainment options.
Pyle PLRV1725’s compatible with common video and audio file formats, including WMA, JPG, MPEG4, AVI, and MP3. Such wide compatibility means it does not limit your entertainment options to a few formats.
A built-in infrared transmitter makes Pyle PLRV1725 possible to connect your wireless IR headphones for a more comfortable watching and listening experience. An HDMI input lets you stream HD videos from HD-enabled devices. There’s also a connection panel for RCA audiovisual input to create an entire entertainment experience in your car.
You can feed the Pyle PLRV1725 with a 12- and 24-volt DC power supply. Use it in your vehicle whether you have a 12-volt or 24-volt DC battery without depending on a power adapter.
5. Pyle PLRD146 – Best Mid-Size
Here’s another top-quality entry in this list of the best overhead DVD players on the market from Pyle. Pyle PLRD146 boasts a flip-down design that’s easy to mount on the roof.
|Screen Size||13.3 Inches|
|Dimensions||16.2” x 13.0” x 2.15” -inches|
Connect the Pyle PLRD146 to a multimedia source that supports RCA connections. The connection also lets you add another display for an impressive viewing array.
The Pyle PLRD146’s display measures 13.3 inches, which is large enough for passengers to enjoy videos but not too big to obstruct your view through the rearview mirror. A wide-screen viewing angle will keep multiple passengers engrossed as you drive through the countryside.
This Pyle PLRD146 overhead DVD player is compatible with multiple file formats. You can play MP3, MPEG4, AVI, JPG, and MP3 file formats.
The Pyle PLRD146 has a side-mounted DVD player as a slot for easy insertion or removal of a DVD or CD. Control buttons make operating easy for an average user, even if it’s their first time using the unit.
6. Pyle PLVWR1440 – Crystal-Clear Display
The Pyle PLVWR1440 is a 14-inch overhead DVD player from Pyle that will fit any vehicle. The TFT display offers exceptional aspect ratio control for better image quality and clarity. A resolution of 1024 by 768 and 4:3 display format makes this unit an excellent choice for high-resolution image quality.
|Screen Size||14 Inches|
|Screen Resolution||1024 x 768|
|Dimensions||13.5 x 11.7 x 1.25 inches|
A built-in IR transmitter makes watching movies easy with IR-compatible headphones. The feature lets everyone in your car enjoy a long trip in peace. Use the included full-function wireless remote to change and adjust settings without getting out of your seat.
This Pyle PLVWR1440 overhead DVD player comes with one video input and a stereo and video output. An extra input cable lets you use an in-dash DVD player via the PLVWR1440.
The entire vehicle can play the same movie and channel audio through the car speakers. There’s an option in Pyle PLVWR1440 to connect the player to your car’s audio system using audio output cables, while the video output allows hooking up an additional monitor.
This Pyle PLVWR1440 model comes with two dome lights. Wire the dome lights to activate once you open the car door automatically. The lights are bright, so you can use them to replace a car’s stock dome lights.
Pyle PLVWR1440 can play MP3, SD, CD, USB, and DVD. If worried a passenger will bring a movie along, don’t. The unit can play an extensive range of file formats.
7. XTRONS CR133HD — Best for Gaming
Gaming doesn’t need to stop indoors for fanatics. This XTRONS CR133HD keeps gamers on the edge of their seats during long drives thanks to its outstanding efficacy.
|Screen Size||13.3 Inches|
|Dimensions||15.51 x 15.51 x 5 inches|
A 13.3-inch screen on the XTRONS CR133HD is powered by 1920 by 1080 full HD resolution. The video quality takes gaming sessions on the road to another level with no distortion or clarity interruptions.
The XTRONS CR133HD’s monitor has a 120-degree rotation capacity, making viewing from any corner possible. Dual built-in speakers in the CR133HD offer dynamic audio experiences.
There’s also a component IR transmitter and two IR headphones that will help eliminate external distractions for an enthralling gaming session. XTRONS also adds a built-in FM transmitter if you wish to route game audio through the car’s stereo.
XTRONS CR133HD offers a combination of USB, SD, RCA, and HDMI input ports ensures you have an array of entertainment options. Like most overhead DVD players, this XTRONS CR133HD Gray comes with double dome lights that promote safety.
8. XTRONS CR1506 — Best Sleek Design
Our last best overhead DVD player entry is this CR1506 from XTRONS. This play turns the cabin of your large vehicle into an on-the-go theater.
|Screen Size||15.6 Inches|
|Dimensions||19.69 x 5.51 x 20.08 inches|
For starters, you get a giant 15.6-inch screen with XTRONS CR1506 that allows family or travelers in the vehicle to sit back and enjoy the trip on a bigger monitor for entertainment. XTRONS CR1506 is only 20 millimeters thick, so installation won’t change the car’s original style.
The XTRONS CR1506 is compatible with 12- and 24-volt power sources. This compatibility ensures easy installation in a range of vehicles, ranging from cars and SUVs to motorhomes and commercial trucks.
Lights on the XTRONS CR1506 automatically turn on and off depending on the status of your door to prevent draining the battery while not in use. Built-in LED lights to add to cabin safety.
The XTRONS CR1506 from supports 1080P full HD video formats such as DIVX, MP4, RM, DAT, MKV, AVI, and VOB. Built-in FM and IR transmitters allow wireless connectivity without using extra wiring.
XTRONS CR1506 uses the RCA video input and output ports to play video from other devices or play on other screens. However, the audio and video output feature only works in DVD mode.
The Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Right Overhead DVD Player
In-vehicle entertainment is a popular option for families with kids. However, many others realize these units are useful.
An overhead display is a useful tool for kids that are too young to trust with handheld devices or appreciate the thrill of road trips. Timely episodes of “Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Toolbelt” can keep a four-year-old and older kid quiet as you drive past rows of corn.
Parents get a break from constantly managing crisis after crisis, which is a major safety concern when driving. The drop-down monitor, while out of reach of kids and controlled by yourself, is a useful tool to have in your bag.
Young adults prioritize experiences over expenditures, making mobile entertainment invaluable. The millennial drivers prefer visiting rustic locations for the ultimate luxury getaway. The ability to watch your favorite feel-good movie during the trip makes getting there even more special.
Many empty nesters have found a home for overhead DVD players outside their crossovers and minivans. Installing the screen under the kitchen cabinets in RVs is common, and one worth considering.
The Benefits of Installing a Car DVD Player
If you’re considering an upgrade to your vehicle’s entertainment capabilities, there are several benefits to installing an overhead DVD player. Here are a few.
Cure Road-Trip Boredom
As people get back to exploring the outdoors, there’s a good chance they will spend more time in the car, trekking to the next adventure or while stuck in mall traffic. A DVD player and installed monitor can keep vehicle occupants quiet as you safely navigate city traffic and snowy roads.
Better Picture Quality
Car DVD players come in a variety of configurations, including models that fit over a headrest. However, overhead DVD players provide better image quality.
Cost-Effective and Removable
Factory-installed video systems are for a specific model and year and they are also more expensive than aftermarket systems. Factory monitors can add thousands of dollars to a vehicle’s value.
Further, these factory systems are permanent. It becomes near impossible—or costly—to remove or upgrade the systems later.
An aftermarket overhead DVD player has a reasonable price tag and is not a vehicle’s permanent feature. So you can upgrade the system or even remove it when trading in or selling your vehicle.
The aftermarket video system is independent of your vehicle’s audio system. So backseat passengers can use headphones to listen to DVDs while the front passenger and driver enjoy music from a double din head unit.
Squabbles over the radio station or music to listen to are virtually non-existent. An overhead DVD player makes everyone a winner!
Ceiling-mounted DVD players are secure. Children have less chance of playing with your device and breaking it. Plus, there’s less risk of the DVD player shifting while commuting.
Customizable to Your Car
Flip-down monitors on the car’s ceiling flip down for backseat viewing and flip back up and out of the way when not in use. The players are customizable to your vehicle design and space available so you can choose the best device for your needs.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Overhead DVD Players
Purchasing the right overhead DVD player is a critical process. Look at our buying guide for guidance to the right flip-down DVD player.
1. The Screen Size
Overhead DVD players are small compared to your TV, by default. The size you choose depends on the size of your car and the space to flip down the screen.
A common size on overhead DVD players is 11 inches. The size is neither too small nor too big. You also have the option of choosing a wide-screen format.
2. The Resolution
Screen resolution is the number of pixels and quality it produces. A high resolution offers a better appearance of image quality.
However, balance the resolution and screen size. A high resolution on a small screen means the picture will be too small for people in the back row to view.
3. Your Vehicle Layout
An overhead DVD player is best for large vehicles such as minivans and SUVs. The unit is easy to install without obstructing the driver’s view from the rearview mirror in use or not in use.
Some vehicles come with a moon or sunroof. Such installation may require extra research to ensure the DVD player model is compatible with the car’s layout.
You’ll use the DVD player in your vehicle, so remember you will use it in the daytime as well. The display can seem dull in bright sunlight and can be a problem for your passengers.
Look for an overhead player that offers over 400 Nits of brightness for better vision. Alternatively, choose a model that has a backlit screen. Make sure the display has a wide viewing angle.
5. The Direction
An overhead DVD player has a screen that pops out. But what happens if the screen is in the center and the passenger is on the right? Solve the issue by getting a unit that pulls down and swivels.
A critical aspect of the display unit is some sort of control. Remote controls are common, and they do plenty of good for your backseat passengers. Traditional players have buttons near the screen that offer a control system.
7. Built-in Connectivity Options
Research how a system plays video and the sources. A few connectivity options available in overhead DVD players include:
HDMI: The port allows using an HDMI cable lead to connect the player to devices such as a compatible external hard drive and laptop.
Infrared: Wireless connectivity for remote controls and IR car headphones.
Bluetooth: A popular wireless connectivity option that lets you connect your phone, laptop, and headphones to the DVD player.
USB and SD card readers: An ideal way to play movies without using optical disks. USB-compatible flash disks, hard drives, and memory cards are compact and offer lots of storage space.
Digital TV tuner: An excellent feature if you love watching TV while traveling.
The connectivity options are optional. Your overhead DVD player doesn’t need to have them all. While a single option may be enough, depending on your requirements, multiple media sources are better.
8. Supported Media File Formats
The file formats a player supports also determine its usability. Ensure your unit supports common media file formats, including MP4 and MP3. A player that doesn’t support these file formats will make it difficult to find video and music files to keep passengers entertained.
9. Installation Ease
Overhead DVD players are an aftermarket purchase for most people. So you’ll likely install the device. Make sure the model you choose is easy to install and doesn’t require a background in wiring, mechanics, or engineering.
Sound is a critical factor to consider when watching videos and movies. Many overhead DVD players don’t come with a built-in speaker. Instead, they have auxiliary ports.
A few models have speakers but no auxiliary ports. It’s advisable to find a balance.
Look for a model with a screen so you can listen to the video together. Other DVD players have an option to connect two headphones simultaneously. But they are not helpful for an SUV with about nine passengers.
Remember, if your unit doesn’t have speakers, you can always connect it to the vehicle’s aux system.
The best overhead DVD player and monitor can help make your road trips better. But these are fragile electronics and they need a lot of care and attention.
As you can see, these DVD players are available in several models, each with its unique features.
But the models we share today are among the best on the market and will work great for various customization goals. Take the pain out of your next long-distance trip by giving your kids and others something to keep them occupied.