Our DVD Receiver Roundup
John Pollard spent the first six years of his time at Crutchfield on the phone helping people as an Advisor. He later joined the writing staff, focusing on car stereo gear. He was born and raised in Charlottesville, VA and has been an A/V enthusiast ever since he helped his father install his first car stereo many moons ago. He left Crutchfield for the idyllic wonderland of Seattle. In his spare time he can still be found installing car stereos, playing video games, listening to music, and spending time with his lovely wife.
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In-dash DVD receivers are more popular than ever - as prices have come down, more and more people are discovering the benefits of having a big touchscreen in the dash. So which one's best for you?
We gathered five models from some of our top brands, and performed extensive tests to see what each one excelled at doing. Watch our DVD Receiver Roundup video for more details.
Click on a DVD receiver to explore its features
Ideal for system-building
Clarion's VX401 has a bunch of great features, but the fact you can easily add even more functionality stood out to us the most. Connect a satellite radio tuner to the dedicated input, and you'll get full touchscreen control of channel selection, plus song and artist info on the display. Clarion also offers a GPS module that adds turn-by-turn navigation with 12 million points of interest and maps of the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The selectable 2D and 3D maps on the 6.5" screen make the nav an excellent traveling companion.
Enjoy tons of iPhone® apps
If you're an iPhone owner, you'll love App Mode on JVC's KW-AV60. This smart feature acts like a gateway, letting you select and control apps with your iPhone, then play them over the receiver. For example, you can add GPS by purchasing the MotionX-GPS Drive app on your iPhone — you'll see its maps and directions on the receiver's 6.1" touchscreen. Other supported apps include Internet radio options like Pandora® and iHeartRadio, and video sources like Netflix. You can only view video content while parked, of course.
Fast interface, great iPhone controls
Kenwood's DDX719 impressed us with a lightning-quick interface that was easy to navigate and music controls that responded quickly. We found it easy to pull up music on our iPhone with the built-in search functionality; the music started playing with almost no delay. Other menu options were laid out intuitively on the huge 6.95" screen, making it easy to read source and song information at a glance.
Excellent Bluetooth® features
Pioneer's AVH-P3400BH came equipped with Bluetooth that was a breeze to set up and even easier to use. We particularly loved the phone icon on the right-hand side of the screen that allows for one-touch access to a slide-out phone menu, which makes placing or receiving a call a simple task. Caller ID info looked sharp on the 5.8" screen. We also liked the Bluetooth wireless audio streaming, which played a number of sources, including stored music and the audio from a few Internet radio apps.
A beautiful, easy-to-read screen
The Sony XAV-64BT had one of the best-looking screens we've seen. Details on the interface were sharp and every option easy to read thanks to the high-resolution, 6.1" screen and crisply rendered icons. The screen didn't wash out when viewed from an angle, and the images and text remained vibrant and legible. This helps when driving, because you can see info on the screen without having to tilt your head away from the road.