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Best Backseat DVD Entertainment Systems: Parents, Bliss Out


2011 Toyota Sienna Limited

2011 Toyota Sienna Limited

Among the many features you can spend money on in the family car, one is perhaps most sought-after by passengers in the rear seat. In-car DVD rear entertainment systems, though often a bit costly, can make a big difference between back-seat peace and quiet and sibling rivalry gone awry.

We took a look at what’s available in the current crop of family vehicles and have come up with the following list of those with some of the best DVD entertainment systems. Not surprising, two of the best systems are in minivans. It seems that the more passengers you carry, the more you may want this kind of technology entertainment feature.

2011 Toyota Sienna

2011 Toyota Sienna

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Toyota Sienna

With its 16.4-inch screen, the Dual-View Entertainment Center (available as part of three Limited Premium packages with additional options, from $4,025 to $6,715) can be used either single screen or split screen. This allows rear-seat passengers to play a DVD movie on one screen while on the other, play a different movie or a video game using the compatible game console plugged in to one of two nearby 120-volt AC outlets. Parents can also control the entertainment center from the instrument panel. An external audio and video input jack allows for movies and video games to be supplied from the center console. Listen to audio using the Sienna’s built-in speakers or wireless headphones. Available as part of an option package, the Dual-View entertainment center in the Toyota Sienna Limited and XLS models includes two 120-volt AC outlets. A single-disc DVD player is standard, but a separate DVD player or compatible game system utilizing the center console’s video/audio inputs is required to use the split-screen function.

Another choice is the dual headrest rear seat entertainment system. This is a $1,999 accessories option featuring two seven-inch LCD touch-screen display monitors with integrated DVD players. Each monitor can operate independently to allow for separate video or video game use and includes a pair of infrared wireless headphones with two user selectable channels (A and B). Both monitors also feature RCA A/V jacks for connecting external inputs, such as digital cameras or video game systems.

2012 Honda Odyssey

2012 Honda Odyssey

Honda Odyssey

With just two inches less in screen size, the 16.2-inch Honda DVD Ultrawide Rear Entertainment System with HDMI technology is standard on 2012 Honda Odyssey Touring and Touring Elite models and available on EX-L ($1,600 more than EX-L model without the system). Honda says it “keeps the peace” with split-screen viewing capability. As with the Toyota Sienna rear-seat entertainment system, a separate source device is required to use the split-screen function.

Keep in mind that with seating for up to eight passengers, you might just need something in the way of rear-seat entertainment technology to make long family drives more tolerable.

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

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Chevrolet Traverse

Two rear entertainment systems are available on the seven- or eight-passenger Chevrolet Traverse LT and seven-passenger LTZ crossover models, in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive configuration. A rear-seat DVD player with overhead display, two wireless headphones with auxiliary input jacks and USB port in front console for connecting and charging a portable music device or playing music from a thumb drive is a $1,445 option.

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

2011 Chevrolet Traverse

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There’s also the dealer-installed $2,010 rear entertainment system with dual DVD players featuring two seven-inch diagonal headrest LCD screens built into the headrests for independent viewing, plus two wireless headphones and wireless remote.


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