How Headrest Monitors Work

Headrest Monitor Setup

While a number of factory and aftermarket headrest monitors have a DVD player in the headrest, behind the screen -- remember, the screen slides out of the way to access the player -- there are a number of other system options. While the headrest monitor and DVD player combo may be the easiest to install, it also has some limitations. In many cases, it means that both headrests can't watch the same DVD. These systems also make it difficult for the monitors to show other media, like video games.

It may seem like a small point, but where the media players are located is actually pretty important. Some factory systems place the DVD player (or players) in the dash, making it relatively simple for the driver or front passenger to load discs for the passengers. Other factory systems place the DVD player in the rear cargo area. That allows for a lot of different types of media in the car. A large DVD changer can fit, and so can one (or more) video game systems. However, this placement has its downsides, too. It can't be safely accessed while the car is in motion. Also, if there's cargo in the cargo area, access to the media may be further limited. Plus, running the wires from the monitors through the vehicle and into the cargo area also complicates installation for aftermarket systems.

Other systems put the media between the front seats, facing the rear seat passengers. That allows for the back seat passengers to access the media players to change discs or games. On the other hand, such placement puts the media players at risk for getting kicked or stepped on as people enter or exit the car, and not every vehicle has enough space between the front two seats for a media player (or two).

The way many headrest monitor manufacturers try to solve these difficulties is by providing wireless remote controls with each monitor. That way, even if the media player is far away from the passenger, they're still able to control it.

We've been mainly focused on DVDs so far, but on the next page we'll discuss how headrest monitors work with video game systems.