Update: Opinions updated and questions addressed here
The Durabrand 7″ Dual-Screen Portable DVD Player is a portable DVD/CD/MP3-CD/JPEG-CD player with connectors for two 6.2″ LCD monitors and an additional A/V input that can be viewed on one screen while the other one is showing the DVD. The real kicker about this is that the total cost of this system (DVD player, 2 monitors and all necessary accessories) is only US$278.
Is it worth it?
My wife and I were recently shopping minivans, and one thing on the list of nice-to-haves was the DVD system. The van we ended up getting didn’t have one, but my wife informed me that we were getting one she saw on WalMart’s web site. This was the Durabrand PVS1960 dual screen system, and for the price, I figured it was worth a shot.
What’s in the box?
The main unit, two LCD monitors, AC and DC cables, monitor mounting straps, video cables, remote and carrying case.
The main unit is a small Region 1 DVD player (although I have found a multi-region hack that I have yet to try). The monitors are sturdy little aluminum-cased tilt-screen things, each with on/off switch, headphone jack, volume control and laptop-quality speakers built in.
Some pictures can be found on the support site.
The setup was simple, the quality of the monitors is nice and it works exactly as designed. It’s not the quality of of what you’d get with an Alpine or Blaupunkt system, but this little gem is roughly $1200 less than those. It doesn’t skip (so far), and it hasn’t had a problem with any of the discs I’ve tried.
The fact that is has two separate monitors is a real bonus. Using the extra A/V input, you can have one screen showing a DVD and the other playing PlayStation or whatever. That’s the kind of thing that helps pass the time on really long trips.
There’s no internal battery, so when you power the unit off, you can’t resume where you left off. You can leave it in standby and plugged in to the cigarette lighter, but I’m one of those people who isn’t comfortable leaving stuff drawing power in my car like that.
Other than that, there’s not really anything bad about it. It would be nice if the video cables were a little longer — they’re 6.5′, and you can’t have the main unit in the front seat and the screens in the third row and have the cables tucked away neatly — but it’s completely workable. Also, the quality of the sound from the speakers built in to the monitors is a bit on the tinny side, but we want our kids using headphones anyway, don’t we?
If you have more than 1 kid (or other kinds of people that want to watch DVDs or play games in the car), you like the idea of having the two screens doing different things, and you don’t have a boatload of money to spend on your car theater, then this is definitely worth the roughly $300 either from WalMart.com or your local WalMart.
Update July 19 2004
Two full weeks of (almost) daily use, and I have reached the conclusion that this product is worth the money. Some of the comments have mentioned sound problems, complaints about the length of the DIN cables and the fact that the unit runs a bit on the warm side. Cable length can be solved by purchasing the longer ones off the support site, I haven’t seen any sound problems (with or without the headphones), and I don’t leave the main unit in the carrying case, so heat isn’t an issue. All in all, it’s been a solid unit and a wise investment so far. Keep in mind that your mileage will vary, and that quality control can’t catch every bad apple.
I will shortly be picking up an FM transmitter to take advantage of the car’s stereo, so look for further updates. Since comments close two weeks after the original article date, no other comments can be posted to this article. If you have questions or comments that you would like addressed in an update, post a comment using our comment system below.