Road Trip DVD Players for Cars

by JoHarrington

Portable DVD players are a great way to entertain passengers on long car journeys. Favorite movies calm restless children, or inform those on educational trips.

When I first heard of DVD players fitted into vehicles, I admit that I burst out laughing.

It was grim humor, of course. I quipped something about some people being too addicted to their shows. Then warned that drivers really should be more interested in the view from the windscreen, not the box.

Then I saw a car headrest DVD player in action and finally got the point. It's not for the drivers (that would be silly). It's for passengers, particularly young, wriggly ones.

Ten Hours in a Car Bound for California

We didn't hear a peep from the pre-schoolers in the back seat. They were watching cartoons on their vehicle headrest DVD players!

Image: US Road TripAs a Briton, I'm not used to long, American style road trips. If I tried to drive hundreds of miles in any direction, I'd probably end up very wet.

Hence the summer of 2006 held many new adventures for me, not least the chance to settle down for a whole day driving from Nevada to California.

My lovely friend Shonna was at the wheel and it was she who picked up the mini DVD players.

I was dubious. Why would we need to watch movies en route?  The two British people on board were going to be enthralled with the unfolding scenery, we certainly didn't need any distractions. There were conversations to be had!

Plus, if I'm honest, I have a natural aversion to background noise, due to being deaf in one ear. I suddenly had visions of this exciting road trip turning into a nightmare. A whole day spent resenting the noise from television shows and movies, because it would exclude me from participating in conversations.

"They're not for us." Shonna reassured me. "They're for the children. And we do have headphones."

Ah! That was the other factor.  A baby in arm and a four-year-old would also be making this journey with us. I did wonder how that would go.

But their mother was right.  With rest-stops timed to coincide with the ending of animated movies, we didn't hear a single complaint from the back. Those children were entertained throughout and good as gold. The portable DVD players did the trick!

Portable Dual DVD Players for Cars

These mobile DVD players can be affixed to headrests, playing the same or different DVDs for the entertainment of those in the back.

DVDs to Calm Restless Children on Road Trips

Little ones need constant stimuli to keep themselves occupied. That's not always easy when motoring along.

I was frankly amazed by how quiet Shonna's young children were on that journey.

I couldn't help comparing and contrasting to a much shorter car trip in Britain, when my nephews were about the same age as her kids.

We'd been for a day out on the west coast of Wales. It had been fun and exciting, but also exhausting for the baby and pre-schooler in the car with me.

Naturally the return journey wasn't without its quibbles. They wanted to be home already.

As the only adult in the car, it was down to me to drive, keep the youngsters occupied and take responsibility for anything that might be amiss. For much of the drive across Wales, this was fine. We sang, I told them stories from the Mabinogion (adapted on the hoof for five-year-olds and infants) and we talked about what we could see from the window.

Then we hit a very long stretch of road, with high hedges concealing the majestic view of the mountains, and no way to easily pull over.

That was the moment when the baby started to cry.  I called out to him. I sniffed the air. I had his big brother check to see if he felt wet, then to give him his bottle. Nothing was obviously wrong and he didn't want feeding.

He screamed. And screamed. And screamed. (He's seventeen now, and I still recall the utter helplessness of having nowhere to stop, yet having to hear that desperate cry for attention.)

It took about twenty minutes of crawling through traffic and out onto an A road, before I could finally pull into a lay-by and check on my tiny nephew. 

As soon as I leaned over him, he stopped crying and gave me the most beatific smile known to humanity.  He was warm, dry, full and rested. He was just bored stupid.

It was hardly a condition reserved for the baby either. His five-year-old brother had memorably resisted my valiant attempts at distractions earlier in the same journey.  "Ooh! Look at the cwm!" I'd tried, injecting my voice with endless layers of enthusiasm. "Isn't it pretty?!"

"I'm sick of cwms!" Daryl had replied, arms folded and pouting. "Cwms are boring."

How I wished then that I'd known about portable DVD players for car journeys. I'm sure that Jim Carrey's The Mask and/or a few episodes of Teletubbies would have enlivened the trip miraculously for my young passengers!

Headrest DVD Players for Vehicles

It's not just movies that can be enjoyed on these journeys, but games too. All you need are controllers to play from the back seat.

Documentaries to Watch on Educational Trips

There's nothing better than arriving at places of notable interest knowing precisely what happened there. Car DVD players can make this happen.

I've recently discovered the wonder of watching DVDs in cars, when I did it myself. I was in a minibus en route to Auschwitz, when the minibus driver pressed play on a documentary about the camp.

Suddenly this episode from history was brought vividly to life, all of us watching in the certain knowledge that we were about to walk in those same footsteps. Fortunately not in identical circumstances, but upon the site. We would view those buildings for ourselves. We would stand upon those railway tracks.

It enhanced the experience dramatically, and ensured that we arrived at Auschwitz State Museum in a suitable (and informed) state of mind.

I could so easily do the same for visitors to Britain - playing documentaries about castles before I delivered them to Caernafon, or another about Owain Glyndwr, on the way to Sycharth. It would only take the purchase of a DVD player for my car to pull it off.

More Mobile DVD Players to Fit in Cars

Sylvania SDVD7027 7-Inch Portable DVD Player with Car Bag/Kit, Swivel Screen, USB/SD Card Reader ...

The Sylvania SDVD7027 7" Portable DVD Player makes it easy to enjoy your favorite DVD movies on the go. The progressive scan DVD player is compatible with a wide range of disc f...

View on Amazon

Philips PD7012/37 7-Inch LCD Dual Screen Portable DVD Player, Black

Play your movies and music in car! The Philips PD7012 featuring two 7" TFT LCD display screens let you indulge in enjoying your DVD movies, music and photos on the road. Install...

View on Amazon

Sylvania SDVD7027-C, 7-Inch Portable DVD Player with Car Bag/Kit, Swivel Screen, USB/SD Card Read...

"The Sylvania SDVD7027-C 7" Portable DVD Player makes it easy to enjoy your favorite DVD movies on the go. The progressive scan DVD player is compatible with a wide range of dis...

View on Amazon

Sylvania SDVD8737 7-Inch Dual Screen Portable DVD Player

Enjoy your movies on the road with two widescreen 7 Inch LCDs. This new 7 Inch dual screen portable dvd player is ideal for long or short trips! The exciting new sleek design is...

View on Amazon

Sylvania SDVD9000B2 9-Inch Portable DVD Player with Car Bag/Kit, Swivel Screen, USB/SD Card Reade...

The Sylvania SDVD9000B2 9" Portable DVD Player makes it easy to enjoy your favorite DVD movies on the go. The progressive scan DVD player is compatible with a wide range of disc...

View on Amazon

Sony DVPFX780 7-Inch Screen Portable DVD Player - Factory Refurbished

Enjoy entertainment on the go with the Sony DVP-FX780 portable DVD player. The DVP-FX780 features a seven-inch widescreen for easy viewing plus up to 4-hour rechargeable battery...

View on Amazon

Updated: 02/19/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 02/19/2014

Shonna - Yes! I remember you telling me! Ouch! Barstow was the place with all the dust in the air, wasn't it? Or was that Bakersfield? I know it was one of the places mentioned in 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'. >.>

You deserved a medal for that round trip. I'm forever grateful for it. <3

JoHarrington on 02/19/2014

Mira - I'm glad to hear it. Marvellous certainly covers what I've experienced with them!

Shonna on 02/19/2014

Oh Johnny, did I tell you about the drive BACK with the kids?! Got completely lost and took the wrong road back - it was one of those old twisty-turny spaghetti roads and I do believe I only drew an easy breath once we drove into Barstow LOL What a trip that was! MISS you, btw, Montana's lovely in the Spring hehehe - btw, you were both absolutely lovely and it was my pleasure!

Mira on 02/19/2014

Yes, DVD players can be quite marvelous in cars :). I enjoyed your tales in this article :):)

JoHarrington on 02/19/2014

You left me in shock and awe during that journey, Shonna. Not least with your multi-tasking - looking after British visitors, mothering two small children, sorting out our travel arrangements, driving us to Morro Bay AND home again alone with your kids. There's probably a prize in there somewhere for you!

Shonna on 02/19/2014

Lol brilliant! This is what saved me, driving for 2 days on my own with the kids from Vegas to Montana & back...twice...there are quiet times of sing-songing it and telling stories for us, too, but when they've had enough, now it's Black Butler and Totoro lol maybe a little Howl's Moving Castle. Plus, one of the secret benefits to Aspergers is that these kids have very specific interests. If I can get DVDs based on those, we're all set for days!

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