Rear-Seat Entertainment

When traveling with kids, it’s important to keep them entertained and happy on the road. Whether traveling across town or cross-country, a rear-seat entertainment system is a must-have accessory for the family car. In fact, many manufacturers of new SUVs, vans and crossovers equip these vehicles with rear-seat video entertainment options from the factory. If your car doesn’t have rear-seat video, don’t worry. Automotive electronics retailers offer a wide variety of high-quality rear-seat entertainment products at a fraction of the cost of a factory system.
Let’s take a look at some of the options awaiting you at your favorite automotive electronics retailer.

Overhead System

The most common rear-seat entertainment system – from the factory or aftermarket – is the headliner-mounted flip-down video screen. This single monitor setup is a popular solution because it allows all of your rear-seat passengers (even those in the third row) to share in the entertainment experience, yet it folds up out of the way when not in use. Virtually all aftermarket overhead video systems feature built-in DVD playback plus A/V jacks for connecting other sources, like iPods, portable media players and game systems.

Headrest Monitors

If you have more than one rear-seat passenger, sometimes one screen just isn’t enough. One of the best multi-screen solutions is headrest video screens. Usually 7- to 10-inches diagonally, these screens either mount to the front seat headrest posts or are flush-mounted into the back of the driver’s and passenger’s headrests. An MECP-certified technician can install aftermarket screens into your existing headrests. Another great choice is a headrest that’s custom-made for your vehicle with built-in recessed screens, giving you a factory-looking fit and finish. One of the key benefits of headrest monitors is that your backseat passengers can watch different programs from different sources at the same time. Most systems feature built-in DVD playback, plus many have inputs for connecting iPods, tablets, gaming systems and memory cards.

The Soundtrack

You have multiple options for listening to the audio from your rear-seat entertainment system:
Listen through car speakers:
While the noise from one (or more) rear seat shows can be nerve-wracking for drivers, there are instances where you’d want to be able to play the movie or show’s soundtrack through the vehicle’s speakers. If your vehicle’s radio (factory or aftermarket) has an AUX-in jack, you can connect the audio output of the rear-seat video system using a standard audio connector. If your car radio doesn’t have inputs, or if you prefer to go wireless, then shop for a rear-seat system with a built-in FM transmitter.

Listen through headphones:

You’ll most likely want your passengers to use headphones while watching a show or movie in the back seat. With most rear-seat systems you can either plug in headphones with the standard 3.5mm jack or go wireless. Many overhead and headrest systems feature built-in radio frequency (RF) or infrared (IR) wireless headphone transmitters which can transmit stereo sound to any number of compatible headphones. If you have more than one screen, you’ll want two-channel wireless headphones. An A/B switch lets users select which program they hear. Keep in mind that your installer can add a headphone transmitter to an existing system or wired-only rear-seat video system.


Choosing an aftermarket rear-seat entertainment solution for your vehicle is easy and affordable. From overhead monitors to headrest video and wireless headphones, automotive electronics retailers and MECP-certified technicians can help transform your backseat into a mobile home theater.

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