Here is my review of these “cheaper” headrests on eBay… A bit long, but hopefully it will help someone.
Had a 2003 4Runner with these. http://www.onfair.com/Car-Audio-Video/Car-Headrest-Monitors/2x-GREY-7-Car-Headrest-DVD-Player-p7714622-2-1.html Though I had cloth interior, I bought the black that matched my Sport Edition perfectly, so it did not look bad at all. One failed after about 9 months. Unfortunately it was used about 10 times/trips, since it would only be trips to the lake, camping, etc. Here are my findings
· Cheap Remotes were not switchable to A or B and would only work on one unit. I originally called in to replace, however he kept telling me to look for an A/B switch, though there was none. He offered little help and was not interested in helping me much by getting me a correct unit replacement. Was not a big deal to me since I could control all on the players.
· The zipper cover is a must. Did not want theft, but also our hot sun to damage them. Looked good closed up and would be difficult to see from outside if they were DVD’s.
· 7”, just fine for a kid; surprisingly viewable and acceptable video quality, brightness, etc. ( I could see an issue if you do not have tinted windows…)
· Wireless headphones a must, but cheaply made broke one rather quickly. Worked Ok; again for kids but weak audio quality. They had cheap foam ear covers.
· Like the speakers in the unit, even thought they were poor quality. This is handy for when batteries fail, or headphones break. Though you can hear them up front, it still allows conversation rather than playing over the stereo.
· Horrid buttons on the player itself very confusing. Too many options/button with cryptic functions. Ok for adult who can use their melon to figure it out, but tough for kids; worse having an adult from the front seat trying to help when they cannot see it. This was a hassle for us almost every trip to help the 3/6 year old kids.
· Games are horrid as well. Cannot manipulate volume once loaded, or change to wireless headphones. If you are buying these for the games, move on…
· Failure. Unsure what the failure was, however I would get a red LED and no other sign of power to one of my DVDs. Fuse Ok. Again, this failed after about 10 uses, but did not impact the other unit.
· Loved the ability for both kids to watch individual movies, or use the master DVD to watch the same movie. They almost always watched their own… Watching two different DVD’s is a huge and a nice feature…
· Decent quality aesthetically, but also Video. Did not look bad, but unfortunately did not last long.
· Not a high end solution; got lucky with the color match, but it in no way matches the rest of the seat per the imitation leather vs. my cloth. It did not look “wrong” however since the vinyl matched many touches/accents in my vehicle.
· Off road seemed to be fine with no skips on tough/rocky terrain.
Just bought a new 1020 CM Tundra and previously in previous years with our Honda Odyssey learned that a DVD for these road trips are a must with kids, so this was the first option I bought for this truck. Unfortunately, I also wanted a hard tonneau cover and carpet liner as for keeping gear dry and dust free, so you can easily see I would be out a quick $3K cash. I looked at the Headrest and Roof Models. I just don’t like seeing the DVD in the rear view mirror, so rooftop model was out, though Alpine and Audiovox units were interesting for mid range $800 or so. Headrest DVD’s are either fairly cheap it seems, or very expensive so either $300 or $1300/more. So, in an effort to put off the inevitable higher expense for the good units, I bought http://cgi.ebay.com/GREY-Pair-9-Headrest-LCD-CAR-Monitor-2-DVD-Players-USB_W0QQitemZ310214668913QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAU_Car_Parts_Accessories?hash=item483a3c3271 . It is a gamble hoping they last a year allowing me time to budget the good ones in for a higher cost later. I just installed these over this past weekend, so not too much on quality other than “initial” opinion. BTW, whoever the people are on this board saying they install them in 45 minutes are nuts. It took me a few hours both times, however I am type A and ensure all wires are tie strapped; ran through appropriate wire channels/carpet, etc. ensuring there is no rattling; connection failures and it looks factory. In performing this, I had to remove the center console on both vehicles as to get to power but also using good electrical/grounding connectors as well. 45 minutes to me seems like a bit far fetched unless you are a pro; to which case install probably still is not “great”. I know I’m slow, but come on… Just like all these people that paid $10K under invoice… Sure… J
That said, here are my findings of these 9” units…
· For my kids, I like the simple button scheme on the DVD better than my previous units, showing only major functions. Power/Volume/Play/Rewind/Forward/Pause/Stop/Eject. Buttons are large and coupled with the design/screen inset; it is not largely appealing to the eyes. Looks a bit cheap, but what does one expect for the cost. Plastic color also does not scream “quality”.
· Zipper flap again is a must and they look pretty good when closed/not in use.
· Color is off hue for my cloth seats, so you really can tell they are not original. With my previous 4Runner, they matched and one would have to question if they were original since they match the vinyl accents perfectly. They don’t look horrid, but you can tell they are not meant to be there. For my “utility/off road/camping/boating” truck, I am Ok for now…
· My Tundra (and 4Runner) use the 12mm adapters. Now the 12mm adapters fit tightly/perfectly in the Tundra and are tight to the seat, however when sliding the actual main posts/DVD down into the adapter, these are loose so you can easily rattle metal to metal noting much movement. The DVD player/headrest cannot be raised either as the locking mechanism/height adjustment will not hold, so the player has to rest on the seat. Just driving on the highway for my first trip, I noticed these to rattle/make considerable noise while driving and will just not do( Ican’t image what it will be like on a dirt road). I have not attempted a fix yet, but believe I will only be able to resolve the noise issue and have to live with the non adjustable aspect of it. Now, the units I put in my 4runner were tight and did not rattle. Surprisingly, though they were 7” displays the actual size of the headrest was only a hair smaller (Less than an inch on all measurements).
· Remotes are better than my previous units, though they appear compatible with both A/B automatically. This means if you are any more than a few inches away from the specific DVD you want to control; you will control them both… Ouch… Yet as long as you put the remote directly in front of the intended unit, they still work pretty well and only required for advanced functions such as changing audio from speaker to headphone, or master/slave mode of DVD play, etc. Really once the DVD’s are setup, I don’t anticipate much requirement for our kids anyway. I also took a permanent marker to mark the 3 buttons we would likely ever use, being FM, Audio Source and Video Source as so we can switch easily without looking through the 50 or so buttons on the remote while trying again to decipher the cryptic codes. They do use commonly used AAA replaceable batteries, so that makes me feel better than the old “watch battery” units I had. Arguably the DVD died before the battery change, so…
· Games. Same as 7” unit. Horrid games, many in Chinese. Difficult to impossible for a kid to pick out a title, and once the disc is inserted you cannot change volume levels. Poor design/quality and worthless feature, though the remote controller gamepad is not bad. You really have to want it…
· Headphones appear nicer and fold smaller than the previous ones. Better quality; not just foam headpieces and also appear to block out exterior noise better. A/B switch has to be set properly, but what is odd; if you sitting behind DVD A, with headset B, it will still work, just sound bad and cut out with little head movement. So, the kids have to try to keep this strait and parents need to understand how to troubleshoot. The manual has nothing to show usage for usage of headphones, so I had to figure out that you need to press an un-described button on the remote to change the IR to the headphone. It worked quickly but then had to troubleshoot the horrid quality of switching from A to B. The good news is I also tested my old headphones, so now I have an extra unit in case one of these break. I would recommend buying an extra.
· FM modulator so DVDs can play on the car stereo. Tried it, and it sounded fairly good, however who knows what would happen with interference on the street. I tried many of those iPod/FM adapters in the past often getting interference, so I shy away from these now.
· Video quality is fine for kids, and even just for passing the time for adults. Don’t expect to be dazzled, but it will pass the miles. Not sure on brightness yet as I have not tested in a real world situation. I am a bit concerned for car sickness though. Where the 7” seemed perfect sitting about 2’ away, these seemed almost too big for being that close. Watching the video I saw, showed lots of movement that affected my head a bit. Arguably, I was getting over being sick, so it may be just me. A test with the kids and our famous canyon with many switchbacks will let me know the final result.
In the end I have to caution you on these units. The units for my 4Runner were more aesthetically appealing and it seems to be a hit or miss on these players as I do note less satisfaction with the look of these 9” units; even the usability seems better. The construction and lack of inherent quality is easily noted and they are nowhere near luxurious. Not to forget, the failure of one of my old units either. So, if you are Ok with getting a solution that gets the job done, without looking astonishing, these might be it. If you are one of those who likes to show off your truck or take great pride in its appearance, go elsewhere. Before kids there is no chance these would be in my vehicles, however things change and thought quality for me is huge in most facets of my life, this type of thing will suffice until they agitate me enough to do it right… Normally I am not one for second chances, but this time I went in knowing I only expect these to last about a year until I can feel good enough about putting out the money again.
Hope this helps!!!