In car DVD players review and compare

In-car DVD players may seem like a good idea for keeping kids occupied, but read this report before buying one — for safety’s sake.
 
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  • Updated:5 Oct 2007
 

02.Results

The following models scored the best results in our test 

What to buy
Brand Price
Next Base SDV47-AM $320
Luminaura DJV-706BA $349
Philips PET708/75 $370

Note: even though we have listed some 'What to buy' models above, in our opinion any of these in-car DVD players could have a negative impact on passenger safety in the event of a crash. See Safety concerns.

What about the rest?

  • The Axion LMD-4702RU was the easiest to use but its sound quality and faulty disk handling were poor.
  • While the Axion LMD-2708QE fared slightly better in terms of picture and sound quality, its ease of use was very poor.
  • The Coby and the Omni both had very poor faulty DVD handling. Also, the COBY wouldn’t play region 4 (Australian) DVDs until our testers obtained a code sequence from the distributors to enter via the remote control.
  • The Teac and DSE models appear to be clones, differing only cosmetically from one another. Both were unable to play our faulty DVD at all. But the Teac did come with an AC adapter. The DSE is the only model that doesn’t.
 

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Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below 

  Performance
Brand / model (in rank order) Overall score (%) Picture quality score (%) Sound quality score (%) Ease of use score (%) Faulty DVD handling score (%) Price ($) RRP
Next Base SDV47-AM
www.next-base.com
63 64 73 60 58 320
Luminaura DJV-706BA 56 60 45 40 84 349
Philips PET708/75 www.philips.com.au 54 59 77 52 28 370
Axion LMD-4702RU www.axiontv.com 52 54 44 68 31 249
Coby TF-DVD7750 www.cobyusa.com 50 56 69 52 18 298
Axion LMD-2708QE www.axiontv.com 47 56 58 34 41 198
DSE G7132
www.dse.com.au
45 61 53 54 0 * 299
Omni PDV742 www.galas.com.au 45 60 52 42 18 399
TEAC DV-P380G
www.teac.com.au
45 61 54 54 0 * 399
 

  Features and specifications
Brand / model (in rank order) Type Headphones (H) or earbuds (E) supplied Carry bag AC adapter Games Regions playable ** Player dimensions (H x W x D, mm) † Weight (kg) ††
Next Base SDV47-AM
www.next-base.com
Player with screen + 1 remote screen E Y Y All 45 x 210 x 175 1.4
Luminaura DJV-706BA Player + 2 TVs E Y Y Y All 30 x 220 x 140 1.8
Philips PET708/75 www.philips.com.au Player with screen + 1 remote screen Y 2, 3, 4 40 x 205 x 150 1.5
Axion LMD-4702RU www.axiontv.com Player + 2 remote screens Y Y 2, 3, 4 30 x 165 x 140 1.3
Coby TF-DVD7750 www.cobyusa.com Player with screen + 1 remote screen H Y All 45 x 180 x 165 1.3
Axion LMD-2708QE www.axiontv.com Player with screen + 1 remote screen Y Y 2, 3, 4 40 x 200 x 150 1.4
DSE G7132
www.dse.com.au
Player + 2 remote screens E Y Y 2, 3, 4 35 x 210 x 175 2.4
Omni PDV742 www.galas.com.au Player with screen + 1 remote screen Y Y All 45 x 210 x 150 1.3
TEAC DV-P380G
www.teac.com.au
Player + 2 remote screens E Y Y Y 2, 3, 4 35 x 210 x 175 2.3
 

Table notes 

  • * A zero for this score indicates that the player would not play our test disc at all
  • ** Instruction manual may state otherwise.
  • † Rounded up to the next 5mm, all protruding parts except the cord included, unit closed, and battery pack attached if supplied.
  • †† With the player/monitor in a bag if it's supplied; with its rechargeable battery (if supplied); without any disc or accessories.

Scores

The overall score is made up of:

  • Picture performance tests: 30%
  • Sound quality: 20%
  • Ease of use assessment: 30%
  • Faulty disc handling: 20%

Code regions

The global DVD marketplace is divided into eight zones, listed below:

0 - Will play in any player.
1 - The US and its territories and Canada.
2 - Japan, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East.
3 - Southeast Asia and East Asia.
4 - Australia, NZ, Pacific Islands, Central and South America.
5 - Indian subcontinent, former Soviet Union and Africa.
6 - China.
7 - Reserved for future use.
8 - International territories such as aircraft, cruise ships, etc.

How we tested

Our testers assessed the picture quality of each player by viewing standard patterns and both still and moving pictures. Most of the assessment was done in our lab, but testers also viewed the players in a car, to see whether there was movement of the screen, if it skipped or whether the screen was affected by reflections.

For sound quality, testers assessed technical quality of sound produced through the analogue stereo headphone socket using an audio analyser. They measured level linearity, total harmonic distortion, signal-to-noise ratio and channel separation. Listening tests were also done on the sound delivered through the in-built or included loudspeakers, and through a good-quality pair of headphones (they didn’t test the supplied earphones or headphones).

For ease of use, testers checked that the on-board controls and remote controls were a good shape and were adequately sized and spaced, and that any labelling was easily understood and in a contrasting colour. They looked at how easy on-screen menus and indicators were to read, understand and navigate, whether installation instructions were easy to follow and if the players were easy to both install in the car and remove.

Faulty DVD handling assessed how well the players can handle a disc with imperfections. Testers used a commercial-test DVD with interruptions in its data layer.