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Road Trips

How to Add a DVD Video System

(ARA) - Whether you’re setting out on a cross-country trip, or just headed to the beach this summer, there’s certain to be a familiar refrain from the back seat:

“Are we there yet?”

Years ago, quieting the kids might have meant sorting passing license plates or playing “I Spy.” But thanks to revolutions in video technology, it’s easier than ever to build a mobile video system that’ll keep the whole family entertained during any trip.

“In-car video is one of the fastest-growing areas of mobile electronics. Being able to watch movies or play video games is a great way for passengers to pass the time in their vehicles,” said Dan Hodgson, vice president for business development at Crutchfield Corporation, the leading Internet and catalog retailer of consumer electronics (

Here are some basic ways to add video to your car:

All-in-one systems bring it all together

An all-in-one system is a convenient and cost-effective way of enjoying movies in the car. The state-of-the-art Sony Mobile DVD Dream System ($999.99) includes everything you need for a convenient video set-up. It features a DVD player that mounts under a seat or in a center console, a set of wireless headphones, and a retractable overhead monitor that is perfect for vans or SUVs.

The player connects to the monitor with a single cable that also supplies the player with power and ground. A wireless remote gives you full control of the player.

“The all-in-one system is popular with families because they can get it up and running quickly,” Hodgson said.

Video by the dashboard light

An in-dash system keeps the monitor within reach of front seat passengers. It also provides better viewing angles in sedans than a system with an overhead monitor. Several manufacturers, including Alpine, Kenwood, Clarion, Pioneer, and Panasonic, produce in-dash DVD receivers that look like standard car receivers.

With the press of a button, a motorized display flips out, providing a brightly-lit LCD display of 6 1/2 to 7 inches. For instance, the Kenwood Excelon KVT-911DVD offers a 6 1/2-inch monitor with touch-screen capability. This DVD receiver also plays CDs, and has a UHF/VHF TV tuner. A hideaway module lets you add a game system or VCR.

“In-dash DVD is popular because you can do so many more things that just play movies,” Hodgson explained. “With many of these receivers, you can play everything from DVDs to MP3 CDs, or even use the display for a navigation system.” As a safety precaution, in-dash video does not operate when the car is in motion.

Adding components for a custom system

It’s also possible to put together a system to meet particular individual needs. Farenheit and JVC offer stand-alone mobile DVD and VHS cassette players, respectively, that are an affordable introduction to mobile video.

Custom video headrests from Vizualogic ($599.99, all models) are a way to add a video display without slicing your existing headrest to install a monitor. These replacement headrests with a 7-inch monitor are available for most vehicles, and are designed to blend into your car’s interior color scheme. Cables run unseen through the tubular chrome posts, and the headrest has three adjustable viewing angles.

For more on mobile video, check out the online Crutchfield guide at

Editor’s Note: Founded in 1974, Crutchfield Corporation is the nation’s largest direct integrated marketer (catalog, call center, and Internet) of consumer electronics products. It offers a convenient, full-service shopping destination to buyers of car and home audio/video products. Providing an unprecedented level of customer service, Crutchfield is noted for its high integrity, product expertise, and technical support. Mailed to approximately 7.5 million households, Crutchfield’s catalogs include comprehensive explanations of product and technology intended to help consumers make informed buying decisions. Crutchfield was the first authorized audio/video retailer on the Internet, launching its Web site ( in the summer of 1995.

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