The Best Car TV You Can Install Yourself

Best Car TV

Do you remember when a car TV was only for the limousine crowd? Or when you could only watch television at certain times of the day and only in one specific location? It's funny, right? But that's hardly the case anymore. Today, thanks to technological advancements, you too can watch live and recorded TV programs at any time of the day and in multiple locations β€” even while zipping down the road. Some new vehicles even come already pre-installed with car TV systems. Most don't, though. And fortunately, that's not a problem anymore either.

Today, you can easily buy a car TV, and install it yourself. Some don't even need to be installed. You just need to put them where you want them. And not only can you watch live programs, but you can also tune into your pre-recorded content or even stream.

But now the question is, how do you find a great car TV? The answer is to know your options β€” and to know your needs.

driver seat

Different Ways to Watch

It's awesome that we have more options for watching TV now, unlike in the past. You can view pre-recorded material. You can stream using your mobile data, and you can use an antenna to watch local broadcasting. Or you can splash out on satellite equipment and a subscription. But this last one is complicated, and it's expensive, too. And the truth is, for a road trip, you really don't need the hassle. Instead, let's take a look at the two most interesting β€” and easiest β€” options: antenna and streaming.

Antenna

Do you want to watch free, local broadcast content while on the road? You'll need some special equipment. First, you'll need a video display unit. You'll also need a tuner. Finally, you should buy an antenna. You can buy these pieces separately, though some display units come with some of the pieces built-in. One way or another, most of the car TVs we reviewed in this article will allow you to watch antenna TV.

The display unit

Antennae

Streaming

Streaming means watching digital content over an internet connection. Through streaming, you can watch most internet content. As long as you have a fast internet connection, you can stream most programs. What will you need to get started?

Data service

Display unit

Car TV: Hardware Options

Now that you know what kind of equipment you need let's take a look at the design.

You could, for example, install your car TV permanently or you could have a portable one. Also, you could have one that attaches to the dashboard, or to the headrests. By contrast, you could mount a flip-down model to the ceiling. Finally, you could have someone install it for you or you could install it yourself. Some of these units can also double as a backup camera, so maybe a dash-mounted set fits your bill.

But the important thing is, you don't need to mess around with complicated installation instructions or expensive installation professionals. There are a lot of car TV models that you can get up and running yourself, quickly and easily. You just need to know what to look for.

How to Choose the Best Car TV

What are the major factors to consider in choosing the best car television? They include:

  • Cost
  • Size
  • Location
  • Extra features
  • Performance

Cost

Size

Location

Stationary or flip-down?

Extra features

Performance

The Average Cost of a Car TV

You should be able to get a good car TV for between $100 and $200. Really? That's all? Yes. If you want satellite TV in your car, the extra equipment and service subscription will cost more. But do you really need it when there are so many other entertainment options available?

How We Reviewed

We consulted reliable tech sites such as lifewire, qualitymobilevideo.com, yourmechanic.com, and others, to find the best models. Then we looked at each model's specifications, rating, pricing, and the pros and cons of each model. Finally, we considered consumer ratings, to see what actual owners of these units thought of their purchases.

So, which car TV model will fit your needs?


12 Inch Portable Digital ATSC TFT HD Screen Freeview LED TV for Car,Caravan,Camping,Outdoor or Kitchen.Built-in Battery Television/Monitor with Multimedia Player Support USB Card LEADSTAR
  • 12.1" digital 16:9 screen with 1280x800 SD resolution; H.265 Freeview TV / ATSC TV (MPEG4) for USA and other countries,Our TV can be use in all ATSC countries
  • Long life LED Panel, Support play JPEG/MP3/MP4/MPEG/WAI/VOB/RMVB/AVI/MKV/M4V 1080P video by SD Card HDMI-in or USB.
  • Built-in 4000 mAh Li-Polymer, stereo loudspeakers and Earphone socket; DC power supply from mains (110-240V 50/60Hz)
  • FM function,Audio-video, input function;Super slim fashion design;Small screen for car or kitchen.(UN regulation power adapter,Manual(English/French/Spanish),antenna,remote control,Windscreen Car Mount Holder,AV line).
  • We are the manufacture of portable car TV over 16 years.Support technical service by 24hours Service online and 365 days warranty.

Leadstar's digital portable LED TV is a sturdy 12-inch system. Just put it where you want it, and you're good to go. You can use it in all ATSC countries β€” and that includes North America. Its main features include a LED panel, remote control, built-in stereo loudspeakers, port for earphones. You can use it with an antenna, and also and for streaming.

The screen has an SD resolution of 1024 x 600 and a screen size of 16:9. It comes with a USB jack, so you can watch and listen to media saved on your flash drive. It has a mini-antenna and high sensitivity tuner which will make reception easy. It weighs 3.6 pounds. If you charge it fully, the battery lasts about three hours. Leadstar provides technical support and a one-year warranty. It's rated 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon, where you can find it for between $$ and $$.

Most users praised it β€” that it works as advertised. It can receive up to 80 channels.

Some users think it's a tad pricey and instead of plastic, it could have benefited from something sturdier. It also lost points for not being compatible with a DVD player. Finally, it has no WiFi capability.

Rockville RDP711-BK 7” Black Car Headrest Monitors w/DVD Player/USB/HDMI+Games
  • Rockville RDP711-BK 7” Black dvd/USB/SD car headrest monitors with ir transmitter and HDMI input
  • 7” high resolution monitors
  • One Front Loading dvd Player, RDP711-BK Rdp71 + One a/V unit RDP711-BK Rhp7
  • 800 x 480 screen resolution.16:9 (wide screen) or 4:3 (letterbox) switchable Aspect ratio
  • Built-in FM transmitter for wireless audio playback through vehicle stereo system.NOT compatible if you have motorized headrests or rear seat air bags

The Rockville RHP7-BK7 is a pair of mobile television monitors that you can easily attach to the headrests in your car. It has metal poles with which you can attach it. The Rockville comes in a variety of colors, so you can choose one that matches your vehicle. It has a 7-inch screen and has a resolution of 480 x 234. You can use it both with antennae and for streaming. It weighs 5.6 pounds, and you can use it in all kinds of vehicles. It has speakers and IR (Infrared) transmitters. It's rated 3.9 out of 5 stars

It's difficult to determine if there's a warranty. You can expect to pay between $ and $$.


Tyler TTV703 10" Portable Widescreen LCD TV with Detachable Antennas, USB/SD Card Slot, Built in Digital Tuner, and AV Inputs
  • 10'' Widescreen LCD TV delivers sharp, clear picture through multiple Antenna Options
  • USB/SD inputs for external audio/video playback, Dual AV inputs for use with DVD player or Game System
  • Powered by AC/DC (adapters included) or Built in Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery
  • Full Band Digital TV Tuner supports ATSC/ NTSC

The Tyler TTV703 is a portable and rechargeable TV. It has a built-in digital tuner, so there's support for ATSC/NTSC. You'll have a great viewing experience because of its multiple antennas. It has AC and DC adapters so that you can use it at home, and on the road, and its battery lasts for an hour and twenty minutes. It has a 10-inch screen and weighs 3.5 pounds.

You can use it for gaming and also with a DVD. You can use it with antennas and for streaming. It is rated 3.8 out of 5 stars. Its price on Amazon is between $ and $$. Most customers love it, though some users deducted points for battery life.

10.1” HD Monitor for Mini TV & Car Video Player & Computer Display TFT LCD Color Screen for Car Backup Camera & Home Security System Built in Speaker Support BNC/AVI/VGA/HDMI
  • 10.1 inch Computer Display: High resolution : 1024*600 RGB; Aspect ratio: 16:9;Built-in speaker;Power supply: 9-30V DC(AC adapter: 12V); Video system: PAL / NTSC.
  • Multi-functional Mini TV Screen: It support VGA / AVI / HDMI / DVD / PC / CCTV / TV, compatible with security system, vehicle monitor, backup camera system, it is suitable for gaming, computer and so on.
  • 2-channel video inputs: Automatically switch to backup camera picture when car backup. And back to your DVD/VCD video when you finished car reverse.
  • Easy to mount and pack: The stand is perfect allowing you to adjust the viewing angle and rotate the screen to meet all your needs. Portable to carry so that you can enjoy your favorite shows at home, on car or during travel. There are four holes on the back of the monitor, so that you can hang it on the wall as a TV. (screws not included). Include a remote control, requiring a CR2025 button battery. (battery not included)
  • Worry-Free Service: 30-day Money-Back Service; 12-month Replacement, Any questions, please contact us, we will reply within 18 hours.

This unit has a very high resolution of 1024 x 600 RGB. And it supports TV/AVI/VGA/DVD/PC/CCTV. You can also use it to play games, and it can serve as a backup camera for your vehicle. What's more, you can use it with an antenna, as well as for streaming. It's highly portable since it weighs only 2.43 pounds.

It's rated 4.3 out of 5 stars, and its price ranges from $ to $$, though it's not clear if there's a warranty.

Pyle 7-Inch Car Headrest Mount, DVD Player, USB LCD Screen, Headrest Screen, Car Seat Monitor, Widescreen Monitor, IR Transmitter, Car Video Player, Headrest Covers, Remote Control, Black (PL73DBK)
  • KEEP KIDS ENTERTAINED: The Pyle headrest with built-in DVD player is perfect for long road trips It provides otherwise bored kids with an entertaining audio and video experience
  • UNIVERSAL VEHICLE COMPATIBILITY: Pyle DVD monitor player allows you to easily install the headrest posts into all of today’s car makes and models
  • WIRELESS HEADPHONE SUPPORT: Car audio tv headrest system also features an integrated FM transmitter and IR transmitter for wireless IR headphone support
  • CONNECT OTHER DEVICES: Connect additional multimedia devices to the Pyle DVD player for car via the included wiring harness that features RCA (audio/video) connectors
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX: The car audio tv headrest includes headrest monitor assembly, power and wiring harness, cigarette lighter power cable and remote control

The Pyle Headrest Display is seven inches, with a built-in DVD player. It weighs 4.4 pounds, and its display resolution is 1440 x 234. You can use an SD Memory Card Readers and USB Flash with it. Its video system is PAL/NTSC compatible. You can easily mount it in any vehicle.

This unit is available from Amazon, where it has a user rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars. That's a budget unit, which will cost you about $ to $$.

SuperSonic SC-2812 Portable Widescreen LCD Display with Digital TV Tuner, USB/SD Inputs and AC/DC Compatible for RVs (12-inch)
  • Experience stunning picture result with cost-effective LED backlighting
  • 16 9 aspect ratio to display content on full screen
  • ATSC digital tuner to connect you with free-to-air HD television signals in North American region
  • Horizontal Viewing Angle 165Β°
  • Vertical Viewing Angle 165Β°

Supersonic is another inexpensive unit that may be worth your time. It has a built-in digital tuner and a powerful resolution of 1280 x 800. The display is very bright at 500 nits. It is portable at 2.9 pounds. You'd need to buy an external antenna for better reception, and you'd need a streaming device if you want to stream. It's rated 3.7 out of 5 stars. It sells for $$ to $$ on Amazon.

Many users rave about the television. However, some complained that the manual was not easy to understand and that the picture quality is a bit poor when viewed from an angle.

Tv in the backseat of a car

Our Pick

Which car TV was our favorite? We liked the Leadstar Portable. Why? Well, first, it's attractive and sturdy. It also has a mini antenna and high sensitivity tuner, which helps with receptivity. It also has a decent consumer rating. And, lastly, because it has a warranty of one year.

Which features are most important to you in a car TV? Do you have a model you'd like to recommend? Tell us about it in the comments!

Last update on 2021-06-19 at 17:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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