How to Buy Diagnostic Tools for Your Vehicle

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How to Buy Dashboard DVD Players

Watching movies or television programmes in a car is an idea that would have seemed ludicrous only a few years ago, but now is quite commonplace. Even since the introduction of the technology, watching movies or television in a car has transformed from something only passengers in the rear seat could enjoy, to one that those in the front of the car can enjoy as well. The key to this is the dashboard DVD player, a device that turns a car's console into an entertainment centre. Dashboard DVD players can be found in many electronics stores as well as online at eBay, where vendors offer a number of options.

When buying a DVD player, it is not just a simple matter of selecting one and plugging it in. There are several factors that should be considered before making a purchase, so as to allow buyers to make an informed purchase. These factors include understanding components and compatibility, as well as which features are most desirable. With the right information, buying a dashboard DVD player can be a fun and exciting prospect for drivers and passengers.

Understanding Components and Compatibility

Before buying a dashboard DVD player, it is important to know whether or not it would be compatible with existing car components. Some Dashboard DVD players are designed to be used with existing stereo systems. This means that they send a signal to the stereo system via a radio station, and use the existing system to play the audio part of a DVD. Such DVD players are highly versatile and only require a power source and a place where they can be mounted.


There is, however, another more popular option that is basically a device that can be installed in a car in place of the stock stereo. For the most part, these devices play CDs and MP3s as well as DVDs, which means that they can be a legitimate replacement and upgrade for an older stereo. In this case, these DVD players usually need to be installed by a professional, and consideration must be given to whether or not a car's speakers and antennae can be used with the DVD player. Some DVD players actually allow users to receive television signals, which usually requires an additional television antenna. It is also important to ensure before buying that a DVD player that it would fit into the dashboard console using the standard openings.

Device Compatibility

When buying a dashboard DVD player, it is important to determine not only if it is compatible with the car, but if it is compatible with other devices as well. For many people, listening to music or audiobooks on CD is a relic of the 20th Century. The more popular alternative is to use an iPod or other MP3 player. These devices usually connect with stereos and other audio equipment via USB cable. If this is a preferred method of listening to music, it is important to make certain that a dashboard DVD player has at least one USB port. Multiple USB ports allow users to connect a number of devices, including a Bluetooth system for a mobile phone. There is also the option to listen to music or view videos that are stored on a thumb drive, as these devices are USB compatible.

Other Devices

There are many other devices that can be useful for a driver and passengers in a car. Among these are GPS devices. In some cases, a dashboard DVD player can be connected to a GPS device, which can then display maps and directions on a screen usually reserved for videos. If this is a desirable option, it is important to look for it when buying a dashboard DVD player.

File Compatibility

Listening to music with a CD or a portable MP3 player is not the only option. In many cases, people may wish to burn their MP3s onto a CD and listen to them that way. For this reason, it is important to know what kinds of files a dashboard DVD player can support. This applies not only to music, but to video files as well. Some dashboard DVD players can play files in the MPEG or AVI format, which makes them far more versatile than other devices.

Region Compatibility

DVD manufacturers divide the world into different regions. A DVD from one region cannot be played in a DVD player from a different region. This is important to keep in mind not only when buying a dashboard DVD player, but when buying DVDs as well.

DVD Region

Assigned Areas


Canada, United States


Western Europe, Japan, South Africa, Greenland, Middle East


Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea


Australia, New Zealand, Latin America


Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa




Reserved for unspecified future use, media screeners


Reserved for cruise ships and airlines



It should be noted that increasingly, DVDs are not region locked, but this is still not common. Blu-ray discs have different region assignments than DVDs.

Understanding Dashboard DVD Features

Not all dashboard DVD players are alike. Many of them have features that are not found in all models. For this reason, it is important to evaluate all dashboard DVD player features and determine if they are desirable.


It should be noted that it is not safe for a driver to watch any videos while driving. There are, in fact, laws in many places that strictly prohibit this. Manufacturers of dashboard DVD players support these laws and the idea is that drivers should not be distracted, for this reason there are several safety options that are put in place.

One option is simply that the DVD player cannot be engaged while the car is out of park. While this is quite safe, it does limit use to times when the car is stopped. A more common solution is for the screen to be angled towards the passenger side of the car, permitting others to watch videos without allowing the driver to see anything. Another option is for the screen to retract when the car is in motion and can only be used when it is not playing videos, such as when it is connected to a GPS device.

Separate Screen

Not all dashboard DVD players have a screen. In fact, some of them are sold separately so that the user can find a screen that they can place anywhere they wish. Dashboard DVD players without screens are usually able to fit into smaller spaces, which makes them more compatible with older or smaller cars. A separate screen also means that the screen can be mounted in the back for passengers or children to enjoy while the content is controlled from the front.


A touchscreen is a very popular option for dashboard DVD players. For the most part, a touchscreen functions as a universal controller for all car audio and visual functions, such as controlling radio stations, accessing GPS features, or answering a telephone connected via Bluetooth. A touchscreen is also arguably less distracting for a driver to access.


A dashboard DVD player can be a great way for passengers to pass the time while on a road trip, or to distract children when going to a local store. Dashboard DVD technology continues to improve, with new features, like touch screens, appearing all the time. When buying a dashboard DVD player, it is important to understand whether or not it is compatible with existing car devices, or if it can be installed properly in place of an existing stereo. There are also compatibility concerns when it comes to the devices that can be connected to a dashboard DVD player, as these DVD players can also function as a stereo and play CDs and MP3s.

One of the best ways for a dashboard DVD player to connect to other devices like iPods is to include a USB port. Along with this, it is important to evaluate a dashboard DVD player for region compatibility in order to allow users to watch their DVDs without any problems. Dashboard DVD players usually come with a screen, but there are separate screen options as well as touch screens that can transform into a general controller for car features. Understanding all of these factors can make it possible for any buyer to make the most informed choice possible.

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