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Old 11-17-13, 08:31 PM   #1
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Portable DVD players for cars?

I never thought I'd be the parent that would do this, but in our new jobs we live 6 hours away from the family. That means a lot of driving with the 3 year old during the holiday season (starting in two weeks with turkey day). She gets really antsy in the car and watching a dvd really calms her down. To this point, we've just brought a laptop and one of us has sat in the back with her, but we've been thinking about doing something a bit more dedicated and getting one of those portable dvd players you can mount on the headrest for the long drives (and using it as a dvd player on a tv that doesn't have one the rest of the time). Anybody use one and have suggestions for one that works well but isn't too expensive? We lack a tablet/smartphone/whatever, so just using that isn't really an option unless buying a tablet would be more cost effective (don't have/want a data plan though).
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Old 11-17-13, 08:41 PM   #2
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ipad
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Old 11-17-13, 08:53 PM   #3
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yeah, that doesn't meet my cheapness requirements. Bought a house within the last year and have lots of projects going on on it, want a new bed for me and the missus, lots of other demands for our cash. Plus, I just don't feel like handing over $600 to the cult of steve jobs.
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Old 11-17-13, 09:09 PM   #4
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huh, maybe those ipads aren't quite as pricey as I'd first thought. Still would prefer something a bit cheaper.
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Old 11-17-13, 09:36 PM   #5
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google nexus 7
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Old 11-18-13, 03:05 AM   #6
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an affordable android tablet(such as a kndle fire or N&N Nook) would work too. If you get a DVD ripping program(i'm sure you can get one that will even rip commercial DVDs, for personal use, of course), you can convert the DVD into a video file you can transfer onto the tablet.
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Old 11-18-13, 05:37 AM   #7
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Huh, did not consider the possibility of ripping dvds like I do cds (I'm old school and prefer to buy music as physical media that I can hold). I supposed that capability must exist considering all the torrents out there.

Looks like a 32 GB 8.9" fire can be had for a bit over $300. That's probably the max I'd want to go for this. My wife has been saying she wants a tablet though I'm not really sure that she knows what she wants one for, just feels a bit behind because her parents and co-workers all have one.

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Old 11-18-13, 07:01 AM   #8
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I can tell you the cheap ones do not last. We have had three or four over ther last 8 years. However, we have used them a alot. RedBox is your friend on really long multi day trips. Find one along the route and get new movies daily.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 11-18-13, 07:22 AM   #9
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Inverter with a chip modified gaming console attached to a screen mounted to the dashboard or the back of the front seat is a fabulously versatile system which can be done cheaply if you or someone you know has the knowledge.

Other than that, if you are sure you only want DVD capability, I would be looking at amazon to find DVD players with good reviews.
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Old 11-18-13, 08:29 AM   #10
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I can tell you the cheap ones do not last. We have had three or four over ther last 8 years. However, we have used them a alot. RedBox is your friend on really long multi day trips. Find one along the route and get new movies daily.
Hmm, that is a good idea about redbox. We have a fairly decent kid's movie collection, but that's something to consider if we go that route.

It is a shame that there don't seem to be decent quality ones anymore (I'd prefer not to spend $80-100 on something that I'll be replacing in less than a year). At least all the ones that swivel and flip so you can easily mount them behind a seat don't have all that great of ratings on amazon, but it probably is a dying technology. I'd prefer not to spend the extra hundred dollars just to get a newer one that plays blu-ray.

I had considered the Kindle, because it appears as though if you have prime you can download a certain number of their shows from their streaming offerings to take with you. That'd be useful. Plus, it's roughly $100 cheaper than what appears to be the equivalent Google nexus (though those may be better?). Many of our kids dvds are old and/or were bought used so don't have the digital download or whatever that many come with today. If ripping is a possibility, that might not be an issue.
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Old 11-18-13, 09:02 AM   #11
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Ever consider one parent sitting in the back with the child and simply reading, from one of several books that you bring along...
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Old 11-18-13, 09:13 AM   #12
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if you are going to go the tablet route, i wouldn't recommend anything but a Nexus 7 or an iPad.
the kindle fire is pretty much dead weight, and a B&N noook might as well be a paperweight.
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Old 11-18-13, 09:36 AM   #13
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if you are going to go the tablet route, i wouldn't recommend anything but a Nexus 7 or an iPad.
the kindle fire is pretty much dead weight, and a B&N noook might as well be a paperweight.
This + all your movies ripped to flash drives. Maybe one day Apple will see the light and realize a USB/micro USB port on a tablet makes sense. The cloud can't do it all everywhere. Oh that's right, then there wouldn't be much reason for people to spend the extra $ on the higher memory models.
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Old 11-18-13, 09:38 AM   #14
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Ever consider one parent sitting in the back with the child and simply reading, from one of several books that you bring along...
Yes, we do that now, but after 45 minutes straight of reading, my voice starts to lose out and I go nuts from the "plots" of books targetted to 2-3 year olds. Just looking for something to do in addition as we're about to embark on ~16 hours of driving over 3 days for thanksgiving.
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Old 11-18-13, 09:39 AM   #15
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This + all your movies ripped to flash drives. Maybe one day Apple will see the light and realize a USB/micro USB port on a tablet makes sense. The cloud can't do it all everywhere. Oh that's right, then there wouldn't be much reason for people to spend the extra $ on the higher memory models.
I didn't think the nexus had a usb drive it could play off either? Or is it a SD that it's lacking?
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Old 11-18-13, 09:48 AM   #16
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I didn't think the nexus had a usb drive it could play off either? Or is it a SD that it's lacking?
micro USB

Nexus Media Importer
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Old 11-18-13, 09:57 AM   #17
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And now my wife is talking about using a tablet to grade papers away from the computer. That means looking at the 9-10" screen size, which starts pushing the price up more to $400-500 (with operating system taking up huge amounts of room, 32 gb is looking much better than 16). Especially if a new Nexus 10 is coming out next week. Hmm, maybe time to revisit the idea of a $80 portable DVD player that gets used on long drives on thanksgiving, christmas, and summer vacation. If only used those 3 trips a year, might get a few years out of one.

Is Jsharr the only one who uses a portable dvd player like that? What worked best for you, Jsharr?

Last edited by himespau; 11-18-13 at 09:58 AM. Reason: completeness
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Old 11-18-13, 11:01 AM   #18
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Yes, we do that now, but after 45 minutes straight of reading, my voice starts to lose out and I go nuts from the "plots" of books targetted to 2-3 year olds. Just looking for something to do in addition as we're about to embark on ~16 hours of driving over 3 days for thanksgiving.
Books on tape.
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Old 11-18-13, 11:14 AM   #19
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Yup, have those. Of course, any book over 10 minutes and she loses interest, so they're not exciting and we go through a lot of them.
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Old 11-18-13, 11:22 AM   #20
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Books on tape.
Or Audible. Wife has a mp3 player that is dedicated to audio books. 8gb and currently on it- entire Harry Potter, Twilight, and Eragon series, plus a few odds and ends thrown in with some room to spare.

Audio doesn't take near the space has video does...
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Old 11-18-13, 12:44 PM   #21
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Yup, have those. Of course, any book over 10 minutes and she loses interest, so they're not exciting and we go through a lot of them.
Sorry... I am from the pre-DVD era... we seemed to find plenty to entertain my son when driving cross-country back in the day... have things changed that much in the car or country side to require some sort of TV in a moving vehicle?

We played games, we read, we sang... we looked at the different things outside the window... we just didn't have a TV in the car. Heck, we didn't even have big purple dinosaurs.
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Old 11-18-13, 02:35 PM   #22
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We usually did one of three things:

-Looked at car tags to see which one was the furthest from home.
-Played the quiet game/slept.
-Help Daddy find the police cars
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Old 11-19-13, 12:46 AM   #23
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I have a Toshiba Thrive which I'm happy with. It's half laptop/half tablet, but it has a full size SD card slot, full size HDMI and USB ports(with USB host capability), and a mini usb port for side-loading files. The textured back makes it easy to hold, and it is easily removed, allowing access to the user-replaceable battery. The drawbacks include a slightly heaver weight, the fact that it uses a laptop style charger, and not 3G capability(only b/g and maybe n wifi) but I like it a LOT.
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Old 11-19-13, 01:53 AM   #24
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I didn't think the nexus had a usb drive it could play off either? Or is it a SD that it's lacking?
Doesn't have either, at least not without jigging it with some funky accessories you can loose repeatedly and a specialized app
Certainly makes it a LOT less useful than I had planned. Googles obsession with online storage is getting on my nerves too.
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Old 11-19-13, 05:42 AM   #25
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Ended up just getting a cheap portable dvd player because we have a second tv in our basement and I'm thinking of setting up a trainer down there this winter and was thinking about getting some dvds to go with it.
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