Why Buy a Flip Down DVD Player?
Long car rides, noisy kids or just plain boredom can cause you to search for alternative sources of entertainment in the car. When the books give you motion sickness, the road trip games grow stale and the food is eaten, the final answer lies in a flip down DVD player. These ceiling-mounted media players allow you to take your favorite CDs, DVDs and MP3s on the road with you, providing hours of familiar entertainment.
These flexible devices do far more than play DVDs. Many of them allow you to connect external devices, like video game consoles. Still more, all of the players capable of playing DVDs allow you to play CDs, allowing you to broadcast an impromptu radio station into the headphones of those in the backseat while you use the car’s radio for those up front. Our top three flip down monitors, manufactured by Boss Audio Systems, Zicom and Pyle Audio, all offer an SD card slot, which allows you to display stored pictures on the device’s screen. Several criteria—which we will explain below—went into our rankings, by which we have determined the best ceiling-mounted DVD player currently available on the market. For additional information, look at our informational articles on flip down DVD players.
Flip Down DVD Players: What to Look For
In our research to determine the best flip down monitor, we discovered a few attributes that the top models all seemed to share. Among these are a high quality screen, several additional features associated with the device, remarkable usability and helpful customer support. The highest quality players we reviewed contained all of these attributes in surprising amounts. These categories are detailed below:
A large, high-resolution screen is a key ingredient in a ceiling-mounted player. It should be large enough to display the picture clearly but not so large that it obstructs your view of the back seat or the road behind you. Screens of the players on our lineup range from 10.4” across to an impressive 19”.
The best flip down DVD players do more than just read discs. Everything from CD compatibility, audio/video inputs for external devices, SD card slots and USB interfaces are included in the top models, granting convenience and flexibility to these powerful devices.
Ease of Use
A high-quality device that’s impossible to install is just as useless as one that is easily installed but impossible to operate. To get the most out of your player, be sure that it will be both painless to install and easy to operate.
Support & Warranty
Prompt and helpful customer service is essential for a device of this complexity. Proper documentation and responsive representatives will make installing and operating your player much more enjoyable. Look for products that include a warranty; some players can scratch discs or break, so it’s important to be sure that you’re covered in these events.
In your search for the flip down DVD player that best fits your needs, consider the research that we have compiled. Our side-by-side comparisons and concise reviews will help you identify the best product for you.
1.Boss Audio Systems
Headquartered in Oxnard, California, Boss Audio Systems is one of the leading manufacturers of audio and mobile electronics in the world. Everything from amplifiers and loudspeakers to signal processors and mobile video units are produced by this manufacturer. Included in this formidable lineup of technological developments is a very impressive flip down DVD player, with outstanding screen specifications and a large array of extra device features. The device is very easy to use and it is backed by an upgradeable warranty and all of the customer service avenues a consumer could ask for.
The Boss Audio systems flip down DVD player has a screen that is near the size of the average model with respectable resolution, but the real power in this device is in the extra features. Everything we looked for, from a USB interface and audio/video input to an FM transmitter and CD compatibility, was included with the base model of this product. This flip down DVD player also has added strength in the Support & Warranty category, offering telephone and email support as well as an upgradeable warranty, a helpful user manual and a FAQs section with applicable information. We were very impressed with this DVD player.
What set Boss Audio Systems’ device ahead of competitors Zicom and PYLE was its extensive feature set and exceptional customer support. It offered every additional feature and customer support option we looked for; it even offered a warranty (which by itself is hard to find for these products) with an upgrade option that allows you to extend the coverage up to three years. This flip down DVD player is convenient, compact, easy to use and filled with useful features. It is miles ahead of the competition.
12.1” FLIP DOWN TFT MONITOR WITH BUILT-IN DVD PLAYER
WITH BLACK, GREY AND TAN HOUSING/MONITOR OPTIONS INCLUDED
BUILT-IN INFRARED TRANSMITTER
SD/MMC MEMORY CARD PORT
- 12.1” TFT active matrix display
- Resolution: 1152 x 234 pixels
- Brightness: 500 NITS
- Wide-angle, off-axis visibility
- Front controls
- NTSC/PAL compatible
- Audio/video input connections
- Built-in dome lights
- Slim-line single unit design
- Wireless remote control
DVD Player features:
- DVD, DVD-R, CD, VCD, MP3 and MP4 compatible
- USB port
- SD/MMC card port
- Anti-skip mechanism
- Last position memory
- Infrared audio transmitter
- Built-in FM Modulator
At 12.1”, the screen on the Boss Audio Systems flip down DVD player is large enough to see clearly, but not so large as to obliterate your rear field of view. The resolution is slightly lower than some of our other models, but it is still sufficient for its purposes at 1152 x 234 DPI. The contrast ratio for these devices seems to be a fairly consistent 500:1, with this model being no exception.
The screen is a type of display called TFT-LCD, which is a variation of the standard LCD, or liquid crystal display. To improve the quality of the displayed image using this technology, a thin-film transistor (TFT) is used. This technology uses a thin layer of amorphous silicon on a panel of glass to allow the transistors to take up much less space on each individual pixel. This process increases the contrast of the display and drastically reduces production costs, delivering a higher-quality display for less money.
This category is where Boss Audio Systems’ flip down DVD player really thrives. Several additional options were included with the standard DVD player, ranging from additional audio/video inputs to an FM transmitter. In fact, so many features were offered by this model, that we used its feature set as the basis by which we rated all of the players on our lineup.
DVDs, CDs, VCDs, MP3 and MP4 discs are all compatible with the player in this device. This extensive flexibility allows you to choose between several entertainment options while on the road, including photos if you have an SD or MMC card compatible with this device’s card port.
Headphone transmitters come standard with this device, as well as an FM transmitter. These transmitters allow you to broadcast the audio directly from the flip down DVD player into compatible headsets or onto an FM frequency that you can tune your car’s radio to. With these two devices, you can either choose to leave the cabin in silence and funnel the audio into headsets for those in the back seat, or you can broadcast the sound to everyone in the car through the vehicle’s own stereo.
A remote control that allows you to control all of the many features included in this device comes standard with the purchase. The remote is thin and rather small; be careful you do not displace it, as it would be easily lost in a car.
Ease of Use
A flip down monitor is a complex device to install on your own. It is best to allow a professional electronics vendor or a mobile video/audio provider to install it for you. If you elect to install it on your own, this model will be one of the easiest to install. Boss Audio Systems made sure that this device was laid out in an easily intelligible manner.
Instructions for installation are included in the user manual that you can download from Boss Audio Systems’ website. The instructions are intuitive and thorough, making it easy to install the device yourself should you choose to do so. Keep in mind, however, that Boss Audio Systems will extend your warranty from one year to three years if you have the flip down DVD player installed professionally.
Support & Warranty
As mentioned above, the standard one-year limited warranty applies to this device, but Boss Audio Systems will lengthen this to a full three years if you have the player installed professionally. The warranty is a normal guarantee, insuring your device against faulty materials and defects in manufacturing. Your warranty will become void if damage is incurred on the player by neglect or abuse.
If you have questions regarding the flip down monitor, you can solve quite a few of them by a quick look at Boss Audio Systems’ online knowledgebase. It looks significantly different from the rest of the website, but it is clean and easy to navigate. Under the tab labeled “Support,” you can access this database and browse through the FAQs section, submit help request tickets and download user manuals. Most of our questions were answered by the documentation found in this manual and in the FAQs section.
For questions that are not answerable through any of the above means, a telephone line and email address are available. If you prefer, a fax number is available as well as a traditional mailing address. With this much documentation and so many ways to get in contact with them, Boss Audio Systems sets the standard for support in flip down DVD players.
With an exceptional set of features, impressive customer support and great usability, the flip down DVD player by Boss Audio Systems rises to the top of the competition. If you’re looking for a high-quality device with all of the important features and then some, look no further than this exceptional player.
Boss Audio Systems has produced a great flip down DVD player.
- This player has every feature we looked for as well as great customer support.
- The screen is slightly smaller than average.
The flip down DVD player comes from a manufacturer called Zicom, a sub-company of Accele Electronics, Inc. This massive device incorporates a large set of features into an even larger screen, bringing you high picture quality with all of the bells and whistles you could hope for in a ceiling-mounted video player. Zicom’s decidedly narrow product variety only further proves the quality of this product; with so few to choose from, they’ve made sure the products they offer are fantastic.
While the screen size and resolution are impressive and the feature set broad, this flip down DVD player really struggles in both ease of use and customer support. It does not come with a standard warranty, it lacks a user manual and none of the information in the FAQs section applies to the car DVD player itself. The website itself is confusing and poorly organized, and the player is more difficult to install and operate than most.
Ultimately, Zicom’s flip down DVD player’s lack of adequate customer support and lackluster usability kept it behind our number one product from Boss Audio Systems. What placed it ahead of its competitor in Pyle Audio was its powerful feature set, even though the two models have identical screen sizes and resolutions.
Zycom 19 inch overhead flip down monitor with built in DVD player features:
- 19 inch TFT active matrix LCD screen
- Built in DVD player
- Rear video inputs for gaming system or other video source such as an iPod video
- Black textured housing
- OSD – on screen display for monitor adjustments
- Includes mounting accessories and DC power cord
- Integrated USB Dock
- Integrated SD/MMC Slot
- Front Mounted DVD Controls
- Integrated Dome light with negative trigger
- Integrated FM Modulator
- 1 Video input
- 1 Video output
- PAL/NTSC Auto switching
- Compatible with DVD Video, CD, MP3
- High definition low reflection TFT LCD screen
- Resolution: 1440 x 900
- Dimensions: 21 3/8″ (W) x 17 1/8″ (D) x 2 9/8″ (H)
- Power consumption: 12Vdc @ 48 watt
The mammoth 19” screen of the Zicom flip down DVD player sets it apart from the competition. The only drawback to having a screen so large mounted to your ceiling is that it almost entirely obstructs your rearview mirror, causing you to rely solely on your side mirrors. For the enthralling entertainment such a display can bring to your noisy back seat, however, the sacrifice is worthwhile.
The enormous roof-mounted display comes with an impressive screen resolution of 1440 x 900 and a high contrast ratio of 500:1, typical of TFT-LCD displays. This is one of the two largest and clearest displays on our lineup; the other is offered by Pyle Audio. The monitor that comes with this full-featured flip down DVD player will not disappoint you.
Zicom’s flip down DVD player matched up perfectly with the features we found in Boss Audio Systems’ player. Every feature is effectively mirrored in this model, making it one of two perfect scores in our lineup. We were impressed that a device with such a large screen could incorporate so many useful features while maintaining a reasonable price point.
For external devices like game consoles and computers, a USB interface and audio/video slots are built into the player. An SD card slot is also available if you choose to use the player as an enlarged, electronic photo album. Zicom’s flexibility makes this model much more than just a car DVD player.
A slim, wireless remote control comes standard with the product, enabling you to control most of the device’s functions from the back seat. While this is convenient, it is also extremely easy to lose; be sure to store this somewhere secure. Losing a remote control in a couch at home is easy, but losing a remote control in a car is almost effortless.
Headphone transmitters and an FM modulator are included with this flip down monitor, allowing you the flexibility to listen through a separate, compatible headset or through the car’s own stereo. Having both of these options augments the usability and power of this device.
In addition to playing standard DVDs, Zicom’s player is also capable of reading CDs and MP3 discs. This, in combination with the FM modulator and headset transmitters, allows you to play one set of music through this device and another set through the car’s stereo. We were quite impressed with the engineers’ forward-thinking in this respect.
Ease of Use
Zicom’s flip down monitor is more difficult to install, due largely to its greater size. The total weight of the device can cause some sagging in the roof of your vehicle, meaning that you will need to install some sort of reinforcement, usually in the form of a sheet of metal attached to the headboard, to keep it stable. This can add significantly to the cost of installation, both in time and money.
Since there is very little documentation online about this flip down DVD player and there is no standard user manual, it can prove quite difficult to use until you get used to the controls. This product would rate much better if printed instructions or even a brief FAQs section on a website were included. As it stands, this product will give you quite a bit of trouble until you get used to it.
Support & Warranty
No warranty is included with the purchase of this device, meaning that you will be responsible for paying for any damage to the product. It’s likely that the vendor’s customer support would replace an obviously defective product or that they would allow you to return it for a refund minus shipping, but it is not stated in so many words anywhere on their website. However, you can purchase a warranty through an external company called Warrantech. This is the only guarantee we were able to find for this product.
If you have questions or concerns, there is no FAQs section or knowledgebase to turn to. Telephone and email support are available if you need to contact a representative. Ultimately, we were disappointed in Zicom’s customer service. This was their lowest point in our review.
The screen is fantastically large, and the extra features add great value to this flip down DVD player. Its sleek design and massive screen are balanced out by its nearly nonexistent customer service and lower usability. Overall, we felt Zicom’s extreme value and impressive device specifications made up for these oversights.
- The screen on this flip down DVD player measures a massive 19″ and it has every feature we looked for.
- There is very little customer support for this product.
Pyle Audio’s flip down DVD player shows how the above mentioned goals come together. The TFT-LCD monitor displays 19” of fully visible screen at a resolution of 1440 x 900, making this (along with the model by Zicom) the largest and most crisp screen in this market. These impressive specifications are combined with a full set of features, including every extra device feature we looked for but one. It falls short in its usability and customer support, however. It provides a standard warranty and a few customer service options, but ultimately it proves to be insufficient.
A slightly lower ease of use and the lack of an FM transmitter caused Pyle Audio’s device to rank below competitors Zicom and Boss Audio Systems. It may have a large and impressive screen, but that alone cannot overcome the crucial lack of customer support and low usability.
- 19” Wide Screen Hi-Resolution TFT-LCD Monitor
- Flip-Down Roof Mount
- Resolution: 1440 x 900
- Brightness: 450Cd/Sq.M
- Contrast Ratio: 500:1
- Overhead Console w/ Twin Dome Lights w/ LED
- IR transmitter Ready for Wireless Headphone
- Front Push Button Controls
- RCA Audio VIdeo Inputs
- Multi-System: NTSC PAL Auto Switching
- Slot-Load DVD Player
- DVD/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/MP3 Compatible
- USB SD Card Inputs
- Anti-Skip Mechanism
- Last Position Memory
- Full Function Wireless Remote Control
- Dimensions: 21.4”W x 16.7”H x 2.7”D
- Sold as: Unit
The screen on the Pyle Audio flip down DVD player is identical to that of competitor Zicom. With a 19” TFT-LCD screen and a resolution of 1440 x 900 dpi, this will be one of the most entertaining additions to your vehicle. The standard 500:1 contrast ratio also applies to this DVD player. This massive display will not disappoint even the pickiest of passengers.
The flip down monitor itself includes every major feature we looked for, except the FM transmitter. This just means is that you will not have the option of streaming the audio from your player to the car’s stereo without an external FM modulator. You will still have the option, however, of broadcasting the audio to compatible headsets, as an IR transmitter does come standard with the device.
This device, like many others, can also read CDs and MP3 discs, turning your flip down DVD player into a veritable jukebox. The headset transmitter will allow you to have the multi-channel audio capabilities that other models have, that is, you can send audio from the player to the headsets and reserve your car’s stereo for the radio. This feature is great for families with differing musical tastes.
External inputs like a USB interface and audio/video slots are present on the device for gaming consoles and other electronic devices requiring a display. For picture viewing, an SD card slot is also present, so you can enjoy the visuals of your road trip even while you’re returning home from it.
Ease of Use
The larger size and greater weight of this device make it slightly more difficult to install. As mentioned in a previous review, it may require an additional sheet of sturdy material in your vehicle’s roof to support its weight. Installation is also a complex process that is best left to a professional to ensure that it will function properly. The device, once installed and configured, will be somewhat difficult to use, as there is no documentation to aid you in familiarizing yourself with the flip down DVD player. Once you’ve become accustomed to the controls, it should be easy to navigate.
Support & Warranty
Pyle Audio offers little in the way of customer support. No FAQs section is available to answer questions you may have about the product. On the product description on their website, it is advertised that a user manual is “coming soon.” Expect to spend a lot of time discovering how this device operates, as there is little to no documentation, printed or online.
If you need to get in touch with a customer service representative, Pyle Audio offers a telephone number and an email address. These two avenues are the only methods by which you can obtain help with your device. Other avenues, such as live chat or user forums, are unavailable.
Pyle Audio does offer a one-year manufacturer’s warranty with their flip down DVD player, however. This added value is relatively rare in this industry, so this is a high selling point for this manufacturer. The warranty covers standard errors in manufacture, but does not insure against user-incurred damage.
Despite its shortcomings in the Support & Warranty and Ease of Use categories, the flip down DVD player by Pyle Audio remains one of the best on the market. The lack of an FM transmitter, while detrimental, does not do much damage to the overall value of this car DVD player. The enormous screen and high viewing resolution do a great deal in preserving the power of this device.
- Pyle’s flip down monitor measures a full 19″ across.
- This model is more difficult to use than most.
The parent company of Power Acoustik is Epsilon Electronics, Inc, a contender in the electronics industry for almost 30 years. They specialize almost exclusively in flip down DVD players, in-dash players and flip down monitors. They pride themselves on their commitment to quality and innovation, though they admit their pricing is not the most competitive. This candor is appreciated by consumers, and they have built a successful business on repeat customers who value the quality of Power Acoustik’s products.
The flip down DVD player produced by this manufacturer is respectable, but it’s just below average when compared with other products on the market. They have a user manual – which can be difficult to find with a lot of these devices – and most all of the necessary features, with the notable exception of a remote control. The screen is just average and the ease of use suffers due largely to repeated reports of the player damaging the DVDs placed in it. Don’t be too quick to overlook this product for its flaws, however. It is still a respectable flip down DVD player.
Ceiling Mount 12.1” TFT-LCD Monitor & DVD Player Combo
- Interchangeable Color Skins for Universal Vehicle Application (beige, black, grey)
- Extra Trim Ring for Sculptured Ceilings Included
- Video Playback from DVDR/RW, CDR/RW of VCD. SVCD, DivX, & MP4
- Car-Spec DVD Transport for Extreme Temperature Exposure
- NTSC / PAL Auto Selection
- On-Board Dome Lights
- FM Transmitter for OEM Integration
- IR Transmitter for Wireless IR Headphones
- Flash Memory for Last Position Memory
- 4 gb SD Card Reader for MP4 Playback
- USB Input for DivX & MP-4 Playback from Flash Drive
- 2 A/V Inputs for Auxiliary Sources (one at rear panel)
- 1 A/V Output for Multiple Components
- 4:3 Aspect Ratio
- 800 x 600 Screen Resolution (SVGA)
- 400 NIT Panel Brightness
- Dimensions: 2.5”h x 15”w x 13.7”d
The screen comes in at a slightly smaller 12.1”, making it one of the smallest flip down monitors on our lineup. The resolution sits at a healthy 1280 x 800 dpi, however, resulting in a very clear picture from almost any angle. The contrast ratio is the standard 500:1, and the screen is the expected TFT-LCD monitor type. Even though it is smaller than most, this flip down monitor still produces a high-quality image, making it compact enough that you can still use your rearview mirror but large enough to keep the kids in the back entertained.
All of the features we were looking for in a flip down monitor were present in Power Acoustik’s model, with the notable, and baffling, exception of a remote control. We were a bit confused by this seemingly glaring omission. All operations for this device are controlled with the buttons located on the console itself. This leaves quite a bit to be desired for this DVD player.
Several other useful features are present on Power Acoustik’s model, however, including both a headset transmitter and an FM transmitter. USB and audio/video inputs are present on the device, granting extra flexibility and utility. CD and MP3 disc compatibility are included, as well as a slot for an SD card.
Ease of Use
The device is moderately easy to use, being one of the easier devices to install. It is hampered in its usability by the omission of a compatible remote control, however. It also loses points here because of several reports of these players scratching DVDs. This problem is not reported by every user of the devices, but it is significant enough to note.
Support & Warranty
No factory standard warranty is included with this flip down DVD player. It does come with a printed user manual, however. If you lose this or need another copy, you can obtain one from Power Acoustik’s website. This manual provides some much needed documentation for a product with a high potential for difficulties, as reported by users of the device. If you need additional assistance, you can contact customer support via email or telephone.
In the end, this flip down DVD player’s history of malfunctions concerned us, but its feature set and decent screen specifications impressed us, leaving us to place it just below average on our comparison matrix. Power Acoustik could do better with their player, but we were satisfied with the placement this device earned.
Power Acoustik PTID-8920B In-Dash DVD AM/FM Receiver with 7-Inch Flip-Out Touchscreen Monitor and USB/SD Input
5 used from $89.09
- Built-in Blue Tooth 2.0: Safely make and receive hands-free phone calls, scroll contacts lists, and stream MP3's via A2DP from your enabled Smartphone
- SDHC Card Reader. Read up to a 32gb SDHC card for MP3 audio and MP4 video playback, or view & save photos with the JPG photo viewer.
- Full Operation Touch Screen Controls. You'll find navigating through the extensive features of PTID-8920B an ease with a tap of the screen to access all menus and settings.
This flip down DVD player is worth a look, but be sure you have back-up copies of your discs.
- The only feature lacking on this device is a remote control.
- The player occasionally scratches DVDs and it is somewhat difficult to use.
Xovision is an electronics manufacturer that specializes in car audio and video products, including flip down DVD players and monitors. Since their establishment in 1985, this company has sought to deliver quality products that have been tested extensively for usability and defects. They pride themselves on their ability to deliver high-quality merchandise at a reasonable price.
This pride and thoroughness is evidenced in their flip down DVD player. This efficient and tidy DVD player is the smallest in our lineup, offering a screen that is just 10.4 inches wide. It has nearly all of the features we were looking for in a ceiling-mounted player, with the notable exception of an FM transmitter. The customer service is slightly more robust than the majority of the manufacturers on our lineup, offering multiple ways to contact a representative as well as a one-year limited warranty. The screen may be small, but the well-rounded feature set and healthy array of support keep the Xovision flip down DVD player in our lineup.
The only feature lacking in the Xovision model is a built-in FM transmitter. While you can still manage to stream music through the car’s stereo and movie audio through compatible headphones via the IR transmitters, it limits the amount of people who can enjoy the movie to those with headsets. A little added flexibility here would help this model rank higher.
The other normal features of a flip down monitor are available with this model, including USB and audio/video inputs, an SD card slot for picture display, a remote control and headphone transmitters. In addition to playing DVDs, this player also reads CDs and MP3 discs. Despite the lack of an FM transmitter, this device still has a respectable set of extra features.
Ease of Use:
This device’s usability ranks just average in this comparison. It is quite a bit lighter than the other monitors in this review, meaning it will put significantly less stress on your vehicle’s ceiling. It is slightly less complicated than our other models, making it easier to install and operate. It also comes with a printed user manual with instructions on how to install, configure and use the device. Alternately, you can download the manual as a PDF on Xovision’s website.
Support & Warranty:
A one-year limited warranty is included with the purchase of this flip down DVD player, insuring your device against damage caused by faulty materials and manufacturing errors. Also included with the device is a user manual that can also be downloaded as a PDF from Xovision’s website. If you have additional questions that cannot be solved by an appeal to the manual, you can contact customer support via a telephone number or an email address.
While the screen of the Xovision flip down DVD player may not be as large as some of our other models, it is incredibly sharp. It has all of the features we looked for except an FM transmitter, and it has one of the more well-rounded customer support arrays. Don’t be too quick to pass this model up; it is still one of the best players we reviewed.