The 10 Best Portable DVD Players
This wiki has been updated 36 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Keep the kids happy and quiet on your next road trip, or watch your favorite movies when traveling by plane or train, with one of these portable DVD players. They come in a range of sizes, from handheld, personal models to large, laptop-size devices that more than one person can watch. Many of them also let you access your vast multimedia collection using USB and SD card readers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 11, 2020:
Since DVD is a relatively old-school format at this point there isn't really a rapidly evolving market for portable players, however we did remove a few entries on our list for this update due to concerns regarding availability. While the CutRip HD was among those that were removed, users who specifically want a true HD display are not without a solution. The NaviskAuto PB1421B boasts a screen resolution of 1920 by 1080, making it one of the few models on the market that allows you to enjoy 1080p content without downscaling. It's definitely on the more expensive side, but those who want to sacrifice as little quality as possible while viewing HD movies on the go will have a hard time finding a better option.
For our additions this time around we decided to focus on machines that offer compatibility with both Blu-ray and DVD discs. While these types of devices tend to be more expensive, they're also a more sound long-term investment since Blu-ray has become the main format for new releases. The NaviskAuto Sync Screen and Fangor 10.1" are both high-quality choices that allow you to get the most out of your DVD collection, but unlike players that are limited solely to DVD they also support your newer HD content, whether it be from a disc, SD card, or USB flash drive. However, it is important to note that both of these selections have a screen resolution of 1024 by 600, so although they support 1080p video formats they cannot deliver a full HD picture themselves. Given their small screen sizes this isn't necessarily a noticeable flaw, especially for young kids. If you're interested in learning about more options in this category, you may want to check out our article specifically dedicated to portable Blu-ray players.
While many users will find the typical flip-open design of most portable players perfectly useful, we decided to include the Bigasuo Mini Projector to add some variety. Of course this selection isn't as well suited for long trips in the car since it requires a flat surface and lacks a rechargeable battery, but those who are looking for something to use while visiting friends or camping may find that it's actually superior to models with integrated screens since it allows you to enjoy a much larger picture. While projecting on any flat surface yields decent results, pairing it with a small projector screen and a Bluetooth speaker allows you to create a fun theater-like experience wherever you go.
November 20, 2019:
There are a ton of no-name manufacturers of portable electronics, so we've dug through the available options to find the ones that live up to their claims and are especially reliable. For compact and relatively affordable models, check out the DBPower MK101, Cooau CU-969, Dr. J Swivel, and Apeman PV770, which vary mostly in size and resolution. The Fangor U611A, meanwhile, is actually two devices in one; the first plays the DVD and displays it on-screen, while sending an AV signal and electricity to the secondary display.
There are some great choices with plenty more real estate, as well. The Pyle PDV156BK is definitely one of the largest, although it doesn't have a true 1080p panel. The CutRip HD, on the other hand, does have a full HD screen, which is something not many models can claim.
We've also included some alternative options if those don't satisfy. The Amicool Optical Drive will, of course, require a laptop for use, but it is one of the least expensive and most reliable DVD drives available. We've also highlighted two of the best portable Blu-ray players, so if you're okay with making a considerable investment, they can keep you watching movies on the go even after you've exhausted your older titles and moved on to newer technology.
Entertainment On The Go
However, the demand for portable DVD players is still very much alive.
You might think that portable DVD players are nearly obsolete with the invention of convenient streaming and smartphone technology. However, the demand for portable DVD players is still very much alive. Many people, especially families with young children, are still in need of the convenience and entertainment that only a portable DVD player can provide.
Imagine, if you will, that you are on a camping trip far from any useable cell service. The kids have collected all the rocks and sticks in the general area, terrorized the local wildlife, and eaten most of the snacks. Night is beginning to fall, but it's not quite time to sleep. They are whining about being bored.
This is where the portable DVD player comes in. Hopefully, you had the foresight to charge it before you left the house, and the kids will have an hour or two of entertainment before bed while you have an hour or two of comfort and quiet.
Portable DVD players come with a lot of different features that make viewing your media more enjoyable and convenient. Some are thin and easy to carry with rotating screens that allow them to lay flat like the average tablet. You can purchase kits that will mount the DVD player to the seat of the car so your kids will stay entertained during your road trip.
Most come with headphone ports so the media can be enjoyed privately. USB and SD car ports allow for easy uploading of MP3s and other media files so they can be enjoyed anywhere. You can choose from DVD players with game controllers for added entertainment and WiFi connections to enjoy streaming wherever there is an Internet connection. Some even connect to televisions and come with remote controls.
No matter how or where you plan to use your portable DVD player, you are sure to find all the features you need to fully enjoy your movies, music, and games.
Don't Knock It Until You've Tried It
You might still be skeptical about purchasing a portable DVD player when there are so many other pieces of smart technology available. That would be a mistake because there are a number of benefits to choosing a portable DVD player over a notebook or tablet.
First, a portable DVD player is more compact than the average notebook or laptop and can be transported easily. While it's true you can play DVDs on most laptops, the portable DVD player takes up less space and can still store a lot of the desired media.
It can add more convenience and entertainment to your life without the added expense and risk of traveling with your expensive notebook or tablet.
Second, a portable DVD player is more convenient for the kids. You can have the peace of mind from knowing that they aren't surfing the Internet and finding objectionable content while still maintaining the boundaries of limited screen time.
Third, it is great for frequent travelers. Whether you need a way to keep the kids entertained on a long road trip or you want something to watch on the plane ride, one of these DVD players will be easy to take along and enjoy on the go.
Fourth, a portable DVD player is cheaper than purchasing a notebook or tablet, and you don't need a WiFi connection or a data plan to use it and enjoy your media. You simply preload your media files or take along your DVDs and have all of your movies, music, and games at your fingertips.
Finally, portable DVD players don't use as much power as a tablet or notebook. Some of them even have comparable battery lives so you can enjoy your movies and music for as long as you would with another device.
So don't snub your nose at the thought of purchasing a portable DVD player until you have explored all of the possible advantages. It can add more convenience and entertainment to your life without the added expense and risk of traveling with your expensive notebook or tablet.
A Brief History Of The Portable DVD Player
The first DVD player was created by Sony in conjunction with the Pacific Digital Company in Taiwan in 1994. Unfortunately, the first DVD players weren't released until 1996 in Japan. It wasn't until 1997 that they began being distributed for sale in the United States. Three years later, in 2000, DVD players were a common household item and being sold for affordable prices in most stores.
They were built with all of the same features and functions as regular DVD players and expanded entertainment horizons.
Panasonic released the first portable DVD player in 1998. They produced two different models with different screen sizes so their customers could enjoy their DVDs any time from anywhere. They were built with all of the same features and functions as regular DVD players and expanded entertainment horizons.
Even the earliest portable DVD players could play music and had headphone attachments for private viewing and listening. They were also capable of acting as digital picture frames to upload and display digital photographs and slideshows.
Today's portable DVD players come with a number of attractive features such as HD displays and Blu-ray capabilities. They continue to be sold alongside average DVD players and are sometimes preferred by parents of young children to tablets or notebooks.