Sony makes it easier than ever for you to put a video system in your car. The MEX-R5 in-dash DVD player features a built-in transmitter that beams audio and video wirelessly to a compatible Sony backseat video screen (see "Accessories") — it's a full-car mobile video system made easy. Now, that's convenience.

When you're driving, pop in a DVD and send the signal to the backseat, where the kids can watch on the separate monitor and listen using wireless headphones. Meanwhile, you can enjoy another source, such as the MEX-R5's AM/FM tuner, up front. Everyone on the drive gets to be happy.

You also get playback of a variety of disc formats. The stereo plays your store-bought and burned DVDs and CDs, plus discs burned with MP3 or Sony Atrac3 files. Sony uses one of the best digital-to-analog converters in the business, so music and movie soundtracks will sound full, forceful, and lively. You can use the comprehensive sound controls to adjust the tone to fit your vehicle perfectly.

You'll love the way it looks in your dash, too. Its fluorescent display stands out, even in bright sunlight. To load your discs, you simply apply light pressure to the faceplate, and it slides straight down, exposing the disc slot. This "Synchro Flip" faceplate is easy to use, looks cool, and protects the player's insides from dust and grime.

And if you want to add more sources, you'll find a connection for a Sony CD changer on the back. Or you can choose to use the changer port as an input for a portable device, such as your iPod. You can also connect an XM satellite radio and enjoy some of the most diverse music and entertainment programming on the planet. There's also a standard video output, which allows you to connect any backseat mobile video screen.

Product Highlights:

  • DVD player with built-in amplifier (17 watts RMS/52 peak x 4 channels; CEA-2006 compliant)
  • detachable, Synchro Flip faceplate with fluorescent display
  • plays DVDs, DVD-Rs, DVD-RWs, CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs, and discs burned with MP3s and Sony ATRAC3 files
  • 2.4 GHz audio/video wireless transmitter
  • dual-zone capable
  • EQ7 tone controls — 7 preset EQ curves and 7-band equalizer
  • Dynamic Soundstage Organizer (DSO) "raises" the soundstage up to ear level
  • 24-bit Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter
  • XM-Satellite Radio-ready (you can add XM for under $100, plus subscription)
  • CD changer controls
  • "Aux Lite" auxiliary input (no adapter necessary)
  • RCA video output
  • front, rear, and subwoofer preamp outputs
  • SSIR-EXA AM/FM tuner
  • 18 FM/12 AM presets
  • wireless remote
  • DVD signal-to-noise ratio: 100 dB
  • FM sensitivity: 9 dBf
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

DVD receivers: They're not just for movies

DVD receivers add a new level of entertainment to your vehicle. You can watch a movie on the screen when you're parked on a Saturday night, or play a DVD through your rear seat video setup on the road. Touchscreen receivers allow you to breeze through menus with the tip of your finger. Most DVD receivers feature a USB input for audio from your iPod, and the ability to add an adapter that allows video to display on the screen. Some receivers even offer connections for a center speaker and a subwoofer, so you can build a full-fledged theater in your car, just like at home.

Hands-on research

What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • AM/FM/DVD/Changer controller receiver with a 10A fuse inserted into the chassis
  • Sleeve
  • Detachable front panel
  • Hard plastic front panel case
  • Trim ring
  • Power harness
  • RCA harness
  • RM-X704 Wireless remote control
  • 1 CR2025 lithium battery (installed in remote)
  • 2 Radio removal tools
  • 4 ISO-mount screws
  • 2 Face security screws
  • 1 Red wire tap
  • Operating Instructions (English/French)
  • Installation/Connections sheet (English/French)
  • Warranty sheet
  • Face security screw sheet

Product Research

General Features
DVD/Video CD Features
Changer Controls
Display Note

General Features

Drive S HX: The MEX-R5 features the Drive S HX chassis platform. Drive S HX includes the CD mechanism, audio stages, 12 V power supply, and tuner section. The CD mechanism includes an improved suspension to resist shocks, a new motor that draws less power, and a fast new low-current pickup that improves durability and CD playback accuracy. The Drive S HX chassis also employs advanced high capacity audio capacitors for improved audio signal stabilization. The 52W x 4 S-MOSFET Power IC produces clearer, more accurate sound, less distortion, and a higher signal-to-noise ratio than previous designs.

CEA-2006 Compliant: The specifications given by Sony for the built-in amplifier comply with the CEA-2006 mobile amplifier power testing and measurement standards from the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association). All manufacturers who comply with the standard can display the CEA-2006 logo on their product.

Synchro-Flip Detachable Face: This unit features the Synchro-Flip detachable face. The faceplate slightly slides down to reveal the CD slot, while at the same time, the control buttons flip outward. If you turn the ignition switch off without detaching the faceplate, a caution alarm will sound for a few seconds (only if you are using the built-in amplifier).

2.4 GHz Audio/Video Wireless Transmitter: The MEX-R5 features a built-in transmitter that beams audio and video wirelessly to a compatible Sony backseat video screen.

MP3 Playback: This unit can play MP3 files recorded on CD-R, and CD-RW discs in ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, and Romeo formats. Each disc should have a maximum of 256 folders and 1,000 files/folders. During MP3 playback, the unit displays any recorded ID3 Tag information.

Zone x Zone: Activating the Zone x Zone function allows you to simultaneously listen to separate sources in the front and rear. In the front, you can choose the tuner, CD/DVD, or AUX. The rear zone is automatically set to CD/DVD.

Dynamic Soundstage Organizer (DSO): Sony's Dynamic Soundstage Organizer uses proprietary circuitry to induce subtle phase shifts, simulating a sound source that is placed higher than the actual speakers in the vehicle. For example, when the DSO function is used in a vehicle equipped with speakers mounted low in the front doors, it creates virtual speakers in the dash to raise the soundstage. This unit offers three levels of DSO, each with a larger and higher soundstage. You can store the DSO setting for each source.

EQ7: You may select one of the following EQ presets: Xplod, Vocal, Club, Jazz, New Age, Rock, or Custom. For each preset, you can adjust the following frequencies: 62Hz, 157Hz, 396Hz, 1kHz, 2.5kHz, 6.3kHz, and 16kHz. The level of each frequency can be adjusted from +10dB to -10dB in 1dB increments.

XM Satellite Radio Controls: This unit can control the optional XMDirect XM Satellite tuner when used with the Sony Smart Digital Adapter. The optional tuner and adapter, along with an antenna and subscription, will allow you to receive XM Satellite Radio. XM Satellite Radio programming features over 130 channels of programming beamed coast-to-coast, including 68 channels of commercial-free, digital-quality music, and more than 60 channels of news, talk, sports, entertainment, children's programming, and information.

SSIR-EXA Adaptive Reception: The SSIR-EXA tuner is equipped with "Adaptive Reception". The Adaptive Reception feature has two modes ("IF Auto" and "IF Wide") for optimizing FM reception. The "Wide" mode decreases the tuner's selectivity but results in better frequency response. The "IF Auto" mode automatically adjusts the tuner for a good balance between frequency response and minimum station-to-station interference. The Adaptive Reception feature cannot be turned off.

Best Tuning Memory (BTM): This feature selects stations with the strongest signals within the selected band and stores them in order of their frequency.

Station Memo: You can assign a name of up to 8 characters in length to each tuner preset station. Station Memos can be used with the List-up function to locate a station.

2-Volt Mono Subwoofer Preamp Output: In addition to the 2-Volt front and rear preamp outputs, this unit includes one 2-Volt mono subwoofer preamp output. A low-pass filter (see below) can be used to filter high frequencies from the signals output by the subwoofer outs.

High-pass Filter: The front and rear preamp outputs have a selectable high-pass filter that may be set to 78Hz, 125Hz, or off.

Low-pass Filter: The subwoofer preamp output has a selectable low-pass filter that may be set to 78Hz, 125Hz, or off.

Aux Lite Auxiliary Input: The MEX-R5 has an auxiliary input on the rear panel, allowing you to connect a separate audio source, such as a portable MiniDisc or MP3 player, or the audio output from a mobile/portable DVD player. In the past, Sony receivers required a separate adapter, however, this unit's "Aux Lite" input allows you to directly connect the auxiliary unit to the receiver's stereo RCA input jacks.

Note: If a CD/MD changer is connected to this receiver, you will not be able to connect an auxiliary source without an adapter (158XA300).

45-Degree Installation: For flexibility of installation, this unit can be mounted between 0 (horizontal) and 45 degrees.

Wired Remote Compatibility: In addition to the supplied wireless remote, the receiver can be controlled by an optional wired rotary commander (item 158RMX4S). Once the wired remote is connected, you can use the menu system to change the control direction of the remote, depending on which side of the steering wheel you choose to mount the remote.

DVD/Video CD Features

MP3 Playback: This unit can play MP3 files recorded on DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD+RW discs in using the UDF Bridge format. Each disc should have a maximum of 256 folders and 1,000 files/folders. During MP3 playback, the unit displays any recorded ID3 Tag information.

JPEG Disc Playback: This unit will play JPEG files recorded onto CD-R and CD-RW discs using the ISO9660 Level 1/Level 2, Joliet, and Romeo formats. This unit will also play JPEG files recorded onto DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD+RW discs using the UDF Bridge format. All JPEG files on a disc can be played back in a slide show. The amount of time an image is displayed can be set to one of the following: 5, 10, 20, 40, or 60 seconds.

Direct Access: Using the supplied remote, you can directly access any title or chapter on a DVD, and any track on a Video CD.

Multi-Angle Display: This function allows you to choose the viewing angle of scenes that were shot from a number of different angles. 

Note: This function is limited to DVDs recorded with multiple camera angles.

Monitor Type: You can choose one of the following monitor types:

  • 16:9: select this when the aspect ratio of your monitor is 16:9
  • 4:3 Letter Box: displays a wide picture with bands on the upper and lower portions of the screen
  • 4:3 Pan Scan: displays a wide picture on the entire screen and automatically cuts off portions that do not fit

Scan Search: When playing a DVD, there are four fast-play speeds in both directions. When playing a Video CD, audio CD or MP3 CD, you can choose from two fast-play speeds in each direction.

Repeat Play: When playing a DVD, you can repeat the current chapter or title. When playing a Video CD or audio CD, you can repeat the current track. When playing an MP3 CD, you can repeat the current track or the current folder. When playing a JPEG CD, you can repeat the current image or the current folder.

Shuffle Play: When playing a DVD, you can play the chapters in the current title in random order. When playing a Video CD or audio CD, you can play the tracks on the disc in random order. When playing an MP3 CD, you can play the tracks in the current folder or the tracks on the entire disc in random order. When playing a JPEG CD, you can play the images in the current folder or the images on the entire disc in random order.

Zoom: When playing DVDs or Video CDs, you can enlarge the picture using the zoom feature. You can choose one of two zoom settings (2x or 4x). Once the image is enlarged, you can move the image around on the screen.

Dynamic Range Compression: This function reduces a Dolby Digital soundtrack's dynamic range so you can hear quieter dialog without being overwhelmed by loud sections. You can choose a setting of Standard or Wide Range.

Digital Audio Output: You can choose the type of signal that passes through the optical digital output:

  • Downmix PCM: choose when connected to an amplifier or decoder that is incompatible with Dolby Digital, DTS, or MPEG audio
  • Dolby Digital: choose when connected to an amplifier or decoder that is compatible with Dolby Digital
  • DTS On/Off: choose On when connected to an amplifier or decoder that is compatible with DTS

Picture EQ: You can choose the picture quality suitable for the interior brightness of your vehicle. You can choose from the following:

  • Light Off: allows you to choose from the following daytime options:
    • Daytime: suitable in a bright place
    • Sunset: suitable when it gets a little dark
    • Shine: suitable in a very bright place
  • Light On: allows you to choose from the following nighttime options:
    • Night: darkens the monitor
    • Midnight: darkens the monitor more than the "Night" option
    • Theater: brightens the monitor
  • Auto: automatically adjusts the mode; the options are different depending on the Light Off/On setting
  • Custom: allows you to adjust the following: color, brightness, contrast, and tint

Changer Controls

Compatibility: This unit is compatible with Sony Unilink CD/MP3 and MD changers.

Multiple Changer Control: A maximum of 5 CD changers, 5 CD/MP3 changers, or 5 MD changers may be connected to this receiver. When connecting CD, CD/MP3 and MD changers, you may connect up to a total of 7 changers (but there must not be more than 5 of one type of changer). When connecting more than one changer to this receiver, you must use the Sony XA-C30 source selector.

CD Text/MD Memo Display: When used with a compatible CD changer and a CD Text encoded CD, this unit will display the CD Text information. When using a compatible Sony MD changer, this receiver can display disc and track names that have been prerecorded on MDs.

Disc Memo: When a changer with the Custom File function is connected to this unit, you can enter names, up to 8 characters long, into memory for up to 110 discs. After a disc has been given a custom title, you may search for the disc, by title, using the List-up function.

Display Note

Display Illumination/Clock Display: Pressing the Off button once will turn off audio output, but the clock display and face/button illumination remain on. This makes the clock display and face/button illumination "Keyed" instead of "Unit On" only. To turn the unit off completely, you must press the Off button for two seconds.

Note: When installing in a vehicle without an accessory power wire at the radio location, you must turn the radio completely off (this defeats keyed operation), or you may wire the accessory power wire of this radio to an alternate source of accessory power to retain keyed clock and face/button illumination operation.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Sony MEX-R5 Reviews

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lots of little problems

Written By crasher1339, Connecticut on Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I bought this unit with the matching video screen (wireless) for use in my minivan. Its major appeal to me was the XM capability combined with DVD player. While it provides good playback, it has a number of drawbacks:

Very finicky DVD playback. The disc has to be absolutely clean or I get errors and hangups. It also seems to take a long time for discs to start when inserted into the machine.

Poor ergonomics. The preset buttons are all in a line and not very prominent, and also set right next to the display, scroll and select buttons, which are the same size and shape, making it difficult to select presets by feel when driving.

Very difficult to learn screens to adjust different settings. Some of these can only be adjusted through the video screen, which is difficult as the video screen is in the backseat, while I'm in the driver's seat. I have to either really stretch, or move to the back seat to make adjustments.

The wireless video is very subject to any kind of interference, giving a very staticky picture. I ended up hardwiring it to the video screen, which gave much better picture quality and no interference. Also, to hardwire it involves grounding the blue wire. The manual talks about linking the grounding wire to the parking brake, which I imagine they do for liability concerns. This is not a problem when the video is going to the back seat.

The above problems notwithstanding, this is the only head unit I could find at a reasonable price that delivered the functions I needed, and I can't say I'm dissatisfied with it. I just wish Sony had done a bit better job with some of the problems listed above

Sony MEX-R5

Written By Anonymous, Pittsburgh, PA on Friday, March 17, 2006

Not a bad unit. Not a whole lot of special features that separate this unit from other in-dash DVD systems. I didn't get to try the wireless video. That might be a pretty useful tool if you wanted to upgrade to car video.

This unit will play MP3 DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW up to 1000 songs. That's pretty decent. It cannot read DVD-DL discs. Also, it has a really long load time on MP3 discs. I guess the more music you have on the disc the longer the load time. That can be a bit annoying.

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