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Discussion Starter #1
I posted the following in Electronics forum, but it did not generate a lot of interest. I guess a lot of us do not go below "Accessories" folder :)



Just when I thought I finally made up my mind about a "mobile theater" solution for my MDX, a friend threw a monkey wrench in my plans by suggesting Audiovox "Video-in-a-bag" system.

Costco and a few other retailers now carry new 5" vbp2000 system and even newer vbp3000 2 x 5" screens system with tv tuner and a possibility to watch 2 different sources on those 2 screens. (video, tv, or video game/dvd through A/V inputs)

Quite attractively priced as well. ($270/$500 I believe)

I never owned/dealt with Audiovox before. So, any insights and suggestions will be appreciated
 

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My experience comes from over ten years ago when I was working in the sight and sound department at a Service Merchandise (please don't hold their recent bankruptcy against me! ;) ).

Anyway, at least back then, Audiovox was total and complete crap. We got more of their items returned for being defective than any other brand I can remember. People bought a lot of it because it was so cheap, but it just taught me another chapter in "You get what you pay for".
 

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vip9,

Consider getting a DVD player from www.theautoaccesories.com. They have a few units with A/V inputs that also play VCDs and MP3s all for around $200 or less. You can place it under your seat, and then get a roof mount LCD (7" instead of the 5" from Audiovox), which will run about $350.

It's a bit more, but just another suggestion. I saw a screen at "The Wiz" from Audiovox, where unless you stared at it straight on, the picture wasn't too good.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
MDXtrous,
I pretty much made up my mind - I want nothing "permanently" attached to the car.
I was a "Hit-Enter-Key-To-Place-Your-Order" away from getting a portable DVD player (see various discussions on Mobile theater solutions) when this Auodiovox alternative showed up.

I have my motives to consider a portable VCR rather than a portable DVD player.

The "bad" part is I cannot see these products. Costco in Brooklyn does not have them. Most other retailers still carry a 4" vbp1000 - a product which is 5 years old (if not more)

Good thing, I still have 3+ months before the summer "exodus" to the mountains begins.
 

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VIP9 -- I just went through the same searching you did, exploring all the alternatives (convenience, cost, etc) from drop downs, to bag systems, to portable DVD players. Here are the alternatives I came up with and what I am doing.

Bag systems. You can get an Audiovox VCP bag system with a 4" or 5" screen for around $229-$299. Sears or Best Buy carries them. Funai is another mfgr which can be bought at Best Buy for $250 for 4" screen. Pros: Cheaper. Most older titles (and kids shows) are in VHS format. Not permanent. Cons: Unsightly (mounted with straps). Have to remove it or hide it to keep from being stolen. Smaller screen. Wired headphones. Poor visibilty from 3rd row seats.

Portable DVDs. Prices range from $499 to $1299 for a 5" to 8" screen. More $ gets a bigger screen. Yahoo Shopping is a good price source, sometimes you can save up to 20-40% off direct retail. Bought a Toshiba 8" DVD SPP1500 for $813. Retail at Best Buy was $999 at the time. Pros: Picture quality and screen size. Portability outside of the car. Cons: Costlier. Issue of mounting and safety (although there is a thread on some who either strap or velcro to the console lid). Less visibilty from 3rd row seats.

Drop down. Prices ranges from $1200 to $1900 installed for a 5 to 7" with VCP or DVD (slightly higher cost). Mfgs are Audiovox, Accelevision, Alpine, Jensen, Pioneer, Clarion. Some come with TV tuners (to get local broadcast tv), wireless headphones, remotes, etc. Some come in packages (Audiovox is one), or you can cusotmize with individual components (DVD vs. VCP). Pros: Clean looking fit when professionally installed. Little setup, always available for the kids for the quick (30-45 minute trips). Safe installation. Better visibilty from 3rd row seats. Cons: Permanent (although I have been told you can remove it and patch the mounting holes). Costlier system.

A note on Audiovox - Many people I know and retailers I spoke with (even some who do not carry the product line!) actually speak highly of Audiovox. They claim the screen is clearer and on a cost basis, the best value for the money. Audiovox's history dates from installing tvs in RVs and have significant info on mobile products. In my comparison, Audiovox was the best against comparably priced mfgrs products.

My solution - I purchased from Yahoo an Audiovox pacakged system (MVP300D) with 6.8" Drop down screen (non-tuner, VOH681), DVD player (MVDVD4), FM modulator (to play thru the stereo, FMM100) and 2 wireless headphones (MVIRHS) for around $850, including shipping and NO TAX. Retail on this same system at Circuit City was $1300, excluding tax and no installation. I will have it installed which will cost me $300. I am in for $1100 versus the $1600 to $1800 I have been quoted for the same system elsewhere.

I liked the fact that I did not have to deal with installing the thing each time (although I know I can hide the DVD in the console) when I take my kids across town. It is out of the way (not in the footwell for the bag or console for the dvd). It looks like it belongs in a $42K+ vehicle. I do not have Barney on DVD!

I welcome any additonal questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
P911 - thanks a lot!
Your post gives me answers to some of the most important questions I had.

If you could only elaborate on that "research" that Audiovox came out on top of...

I am 100% certain I do NOT want "installed" components. Also, I do not need an additional DVD player, so a pricey portable DVD is out of contention unless this Audiovox system proves a bust. I already used my laptop for DVD-playing entertainment. It will be hard to beat a 16-incher :)

The 2-screen system w/TV tuner which allows to watch 2 different inputs on those screens seems to be most appealing at the moment. Perfect solution for 2nd and 3rd rows as well as for different-interest different-age passeners as well as occasional in-house use.

I am certainly concerned about reliability. Not that I think Audiovox is bad, I simply do NOT know, hence - this thread.

Is it true that Audiovox is a vendor for Nissan Quest minivan entertainment system?


P911 - thanks again
 

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vip9,

There's a Portable that Panasonic just came out with that has a 9" screen. It's the LA-95, and if you do a search on www.pricescan.com, it can be bought for $749. Just another consideration.
 

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vip9 said:
I already used my laptop for DVD-playing entertainment. It will be hard to beat a 16-incher :)
I've tried this too. Problem is that it is low and wobbly, has led to carsick passengers (!!)

The high mounted screen might be better, because passengers can see the outside in the periphery of their vision. This helps to prevent motion sickness.
 

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I just did 800 miles in the vehicle with my IBM T21 laptop on the flipped back console. For the record it fits perfectly, just snug without any straps. A cassette adapter got the sound into the car's system (Someone else here suggested that), and the kids watched several DVD's.

I know the laptop is more expensive, but if you have one anyway it is worth looking into. The screen is much larger than the portable DVD players, and the kids could play games on it.

The only drawback is that the seat kind of blocks the cooling vent on the side of the laptop, and the DVD drive is on the side, so it has to be lifted out of place to change the movie, but other laptops might not have these issues.

MASSMDX

gg touring & Nav
 

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I posted one alternative here. Would require 2 small caps after removal, but relatively non-invasive, and relatively inexpensive too. I'm not a fan of the video-in-a-bag stuff -- I think they're bulky and the screens tend to be small. In general, Audiovox stuff IMO is decent quality and good value at the "mass market" of the spectrum.

I'm not recommending the system in that other thread yet, however, as I'm waiting for some additional parts from the manufacturer that they said they'd send to me.

Feel free to PM or email me for info in the meantime.
 
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