Most of us have put on a movie to keep the kids occupied and buy a little time – 15 minutes to prep dinner, or a few minutes to make an important phone call. Holiday car trips to visit friends and family are just around the corner, and the prospect of being able to pop in a movie on the road to ensure a quiet and peaceful drive is very appealing. Great idea, but it sounds expensive and complicated, right? Take heart – some car DVD players cost less than you think, are as easy to operate and install, and have cool accessories.
DVD players for cars are now widely available, and there's something for every taste and budget. If the $1500.00 price tag doesn't give you sticker shock, check out the Sony Dream System - it includes a 7-inch overhead monitor, a DVD player and cordless stereo headphones. It also plays CD's, CD-R/RWs and comes with a remote control. At the other end of the spectrum, a more affordable option is the Centrios Portable DVD Player, which costs about $300.00. Like the Sony, it plays CD's and CD-R/RW's and comes with a remote. A carrying case to suspend or mount it in the car is sold separately.
Plug and play
If you're not handy, don't sweat it – installation is a snap! All you have to do is plug the DVD player into the 12V power supply of your vehicle (translation - location of your former cigarette lighter!) and you're ready to go. There are three ways to secure a DVD player in your car:
1 Invest in a simple headrest mount - it positions the machine on top of a front seat so the people in the row behind have a clear view.
2 Use mounting brackets (they come with some models) to attach the DVD player to the ceiling of the car.
3 Look for a carrying case that suspends the machine between two front seats.
Now that you've taken the plunge - it's time to check out the toys!
•If they don't come standard with your machine, wireless headphones are a must! Ahhâ€¦ the sound of silence!
•If your DVD player is not hard mounted, invest in an AC adaptor. You can take it into hotels on the road, or right into Grandma's house, where they don't have cable!
•If it's not included, get a remote control - it sounds silly, but if you can't reach the machine from where you're seated, it could be dangerous to remove your seatbelt while the car is moving.
•If your gang is into video games, be sure to get a DVD player with gaming inputs. You can hook up a video game console and keep the kids occupied for hours.
For your viewing pleasure
Forget Barney and The Wiggles - talk about carsick! Mix it up with classics and current flicks, and check the film's rating to be sure it's appropriate for your child's age. Here are a few suggestions for movies the whole family can enjoy. Happy Trails!
•Anne of Green Gables
•Babe: Pig in the City
•The Nutty Professor
•The Sound of Music