Whether you are in the market for your first auto sound system, or are looking for the next upgrade to your already great one, you should consider getting a head unit with integrated DVD playback. These come in a few different varieties to fit different budgets and desires. Read on to find out more about these bits of ultra-cool tech.
Integrated Display Head Units
There are head units available that have integrated LCD panels to display both DVD video and information or cool visualizations during audio playback. Some of these integrated panels are even touch sensitive, allowing total control of your player via the video display. The panels may either be fixed and visible at all times, or have motorized slide-out action that keeps the display hidden when not in use.
The major advantage of these types of units is they are pretty much plug and play. There is no need for the additional expense of both an external panel and the installation of it. You pay for this ease of installation and lower cost by having a (usually) much smaller display than buying one separately.
Video-Capable Head Units
These types of head units usually have an integrated DVD player, but display the video on separate LCD panels hooked up to a video output on the back of the unit. These units are somewhat cheaper than the ones with integrated displays (especially the touchscreen versions), but have the additional expense of a separate LCD panel that must be purchased and installed. You can get much larger panels than are available on the all in one units, and can select the ones that best fit your budget and viewing preferences. Plus, these kinds of head units can drive multiple displays for the ultimate in awesomeness.
Hybrid Head Units
These types of head units have both an integrated video panel which may or may not be touch sensitive, and also provide external video outputs. These kinds of head units are the most expensive, but provide lots of flexibility in installation, display options, and control. You can easily add additional panels later on, using the integrated display in the meantime. I recommend this type of video head unit over both of the others, as it is both usable out of the box and provides the most future-proofing of all three choices in terms of expansion capabilities.
Regardless of which type you choose to use, it is highly recommended that you have these installed by professionals. Mounting an LCD panel in a car and making it look good, be functional, and safe is a job best left to a professional. LCD panels are extremely easy to crack if you aren’t careful installing them, and since a car is a vibration prone environment, they must be mounted as securely as possible to avoid breaking later. And they are not cheap! Anytime you are dealing with such expensive equipment, it is best to have the installation handled by professionals who can provide a warranty. And a lot of manufacturers won’t warranty your parts unless you do have them installed by a professional shop. If you are going to spend the money on a video head unit for your auto sound system, you should spend the extra to make sure that it is installed right the first time.