View Full Version : portable dvd players

03-24-2007, 10:10 PM
We are driving down for the first time (last time was our first trip, but we flew) from illinois. We want to buy a portable dvd player to save our sanity. Anyone have any suggestions for something cheap but good? Does anyone have experience with the insignia brand from best buy? Those seem to be the cheapest, but i wonder why they are so cheap. We only need one screen; our kids are far apart enough in age that they will not want to watch the same stuff. It is actually mostly for our youngest who is 4. I am very afraid of driving across the country with him.

03-24-2007, 10:15 PM
The price of portable DVD players have dropped dramtically over the last few years. I wouldn't be too concerned with the brand name. I would be concerned with battery life and if it has a car adapter.

03-24-2007, 10:25 PM
We have an Insignia.
It is still kicking.

You genrally pay extra money for

Battery life
Screen size
Ability to see screen without looking dead straight at it
Output jacks

Having said that the Insignia we got came with a car adapter.
It is bulky.
It did come with two headphone jacks
We got a soft case at Best Buy for $25 to go with it that came with two headphones, headphone splitter, mounting straps to wrap it around back of front car seat.

All and all it is a lower model DVD player.
6 months and about 100 hours of use and it is still kickin. Paid $80 7 inch screen

Costco sells them too and Costco has a great return policy. Several(I've heard years to0_ months later you can return it if it stops working for full refund.

03-24-2007, 10:26 PM
The price of portable DVD players have dropped dramtically over the last few years. I wouldn't be too concerned with the brand name. I would be concerned with battery life and if it has a car adapter.

Good advice Jeff. I would also consider screen size vs. name brand. Odds are they are all made in the same factory some where in Asia anyway. Go cheap, big screen, battery and car adapter and you're safe!

There's some good articles on Cnet.com that can probably give you some info, too!

03-24-2007, 10:27 PM
from what we have seen they pretty much all have a 2-3 hour battery and a car adapter. I didn't think it would cost that much, but then my DH pointed out that we need to also buy a case to strap it to the car and headphones. (An extra $30 for a bag w/ accesories at best buy.) So that made the price climb for us; i didn't want to spend more than $100 tops. Now i see that is not very realistic.

03-25-2007, 12:27 AM
Hey there! We got a Toshiba portable dvd player for christmas from our parents. It was $150 from Costco. It has a 7 inch screen and came with a "travel pack" that had the bag with the straps for the car, a car adapter, and two sets of headphones. It is a WONDERFUL dvd player. I took it on the plane for my trip to WDW last month.

I SO know what you mean about being afraid to drive across the country with your son. I would not dream of making my son sit in the car for over 30 minutes without something to keep him occupied. We actually got it because we were supposed to move to Virginia this summer and I was SO dreading the 5 hour plane trip with my two boys, but now we aren't moving. In any event, the dvd player will definitely come in handy.

I do have to say, when you actually see the different brands of players side by side in the store, you can tell why some are so cheap. The insignia brand has a pretty bad picture quality compared to the higher priced ones. In addition, the cheaper ones are often very heavy and/or bulky, while the better brands usually feature slim design and less noise from the playback mechanism.

Go see them for yourself. You might as well get one that has good enough picture quality in case YOU ever want to use it. :)

Dopey's Girl
03-25-2007, 01:17 AM
I got a red polaroid DVD player with a 7 inch screen and I really love it. The sound and picture quality are really good and the battery life is great! I have no clue how much it cost (it was a gift), but it's been really great to have!

03-25-2007, 01:49 AM
That's mostly true, the majority of the internal workings of electronics are mainly made in the same places with the same parts, minus the very lowest or highest end models.

Unfortunately this proved true with the Coby and Insignia brands. Side by side with the midrange models they just didn't hold up so I had to go up to a $150 midrange model. Much better: can see the screen at different angles, no buffering errors or pauses, audio much louder and casing more solid.

My verdict: for a one time trip I went with the Insignia. Since we're doing this more often we had to step up a notch.

03-25-2007, 08:30 AM
Another vote for shopping around.

We got ours from BJ's Club. In general I have found that Best Buy and Circuit City don't have the best prices unless they are having a great sale.

We used one for the first time last summer and loved it! Something that worked well for us was to pick up a couple of DVDs before the trip and keep them for the drive home - that way there was something new to watch and it helped make the trip more enjoyable.

03-25-2007, 08:34 AM
We bought an Insignia DVD playew w/ 8" screen, car adapter, case and headphones. DD uses it every weekend going to her competions and uses the adapter when we have the car pool and battery (2-3 hrs.) when another family car pools. It has gone through alot of abuse over the last 6-months and still works just as good as the day it was purchased.

03-25-2007, 02:12 PM
How true that portable DVD players have come down dramatically in price over time. Four years ago my husband got a Magnavox portable DVD player for free as part of a promotion from work; the retail cost of it at the time was around $350. That particular player worked fairly well for us for over three years, although the battery life was about 1-1/2 hours and it would sometimes skip on bumpy roads.

We recently bought another DVD player for a long road trip (my vehicle has one built in, but we were taking my husband's vehicle, which did not--so we did not want to spend a lot of money). We bought a $79 Durabrand model from Walmart and it worked out very well. It is pretty slim and lightweight, has a 7-inch screen (the old was 5"), and it operated smoothly, without any skips. The stated battery life was 2 hours, but it ran for about 2-1/2 hours on a fully charged battery. Although some of the more expensive models would probably boast a better picture quality, it looked fine to us. :)

03-25-2007, 02:33 PM
To get the most bang for your buck so to speak, make sure your portable DVD player also comes with the same type of adapter cables that you can use to hook a video or digital camera to your tv and your kids can then use it on any tv as a regular DVD player (without the screen being on). My DD regularly uses ours in her room. She just takes the battery off and plugs it into the electric outlet. Ours came from SAMS Club a couple of years ago and had the travel kit with the case and car adapter. I think it was around $130 and if memory serves me, it's a Panasonic with an 8" screen.

03-26-2007, 12:56 AM
If you're looking to spend under a $100, and it's primarily for the 4 y/o I wouldn't be too concerned with picture quality. Even the worst picture quality is still good enough for a kid that's excited to "watch" tv in the car.

03-26-2007, 02:57 AM
If you're looking to spend under a $100, and it's primarily for the 4 y/o I wouldn't be too concerned with picture quality. Even the worst picture quality is still good enough for a kid that's excited to "watch" tv in the car.

Sounds like great advice. My Panasonic portable DVD is one of the high end models costing about $500. I bought it so I can play RAM discs from my DVD recorders then reuse the discs when I'm finished. For a player that will be used by your child, you don't have to get something so high quality. As other have said, you want something that has a good battery life. I bought an extended battery for my unit.

03-26-2007, 10:59 AM
I also have a 4 year old. We used to have a little portable DVD player and it broke after 2 years. We went to Target and they had one (don't remember the brand) on sale. But, it had two screens. The first screen was where you insert the disc and controlled the machine.

I immediately told my DH that we didn't need 2 screens, we only have one child. But, a man came up to me and said he also only had one child, but his wife was tired of turning around in the car, and getting car sick trying to change discs. So, now she kept the one screen up front so she didn't have to fuss with it. I thought it was a great idea, and now we own one with 2 screens also. Prices had dropped so much that it was less expensive than the first one we bought, and it came with everything we needed.

03-26-2007, 11:30 PM
I just bought a new portable DVD player in January - not for the kids - but for me. When I travel, I many times am going cross country for 6 -8 - 10 hours at a time. Movies sure help pass the time. I got a Phillips 8 in - fabulous picture AND a 6 hour battery life (yes, 6 hours, I've tried it!). It also came with auto adapter (which I can sometimes use on the plane too). I think it ran about $200. I did alot of research before, and we used to own a cheaper one for the car - which promptly broke after less than 6 months. This one seems so much sturdier, and there is no comparison on the quality of the picture. I'm thrilled with it! I do think that you get what you pay for. I was tempted to go cheap again, but am soooo glad I stepped up a bit.

03-27-2007, 11:46 AM
Last year when we were looking at getting one - Target had one for about $240. It had dual screens but you could also play 2 separate movies. I thought that was neat. Not sure of the price now. Good luck!

03-28-2007, 11:32 AM
i have one, and got one for my FIL who could care less what brand he has. They both work fine, but I would definately buy the extended warranty or product replacement for it. I worked for best buy and a few other electronics places when I was younger and there's a reason the salespeople steer you away from the cheap products. (because they are the ones that come back the most often due to defects.)