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Audiovox VBP800 Overview and Features

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I'm a fairly new parent, my son being just 16 months old at the time of this review. Car trips aren't the same as they used to be and on the recommendation of some of our relatives we decided to investigate portable DVD players. Being a research hog I was determined to locate a system that would work well in the car and come with everything I needed to provide entertainment for my son on long trips from Myrtle Beach to Central Florida . This isn't as easy as it seems. While many portable DVD systems come with some of the necessary accessories, very few come with everything we were looking for. Here's the brief laundry list:

  • Flexible vehicular mounting system
  • Car accessory ("cigarette") power adapter
  • 8" LCD screen or larger
  • Remote control so the unit can be accessed from the front seat
  • Rechargeable battery backup for portable use
  • Dual headphone outputs

At this point it's important to note what the goal of this review is. This portable unit is being judged against other portable units in its class, not set-top DVD players like the Denon DVD-5900 or Yamaha DVD-2300 MK2 flagship players. The reason is simple: you'll probably never plug one of these into a television, and if you do it will likely not be a situation where home theater performance is expected or required. Let's be honest - what this unit aims to accomplish is mobile entertainment - primarily for kids in the back seat of an SUV or minivan. With that perspective in mind, lets continue on.

Features and Favorites

The Audiovox VBP800 met all of my previously listed conditions and then some. It came with just about every conceivable option, save wireless headphones (opting instead for FM modulation). Here are some basic features I found to be very helpful:

  • Speaker Defeat on Headphone Jack #2
    When my son gets older he'll probably get into using headphones in conjunction with a mobile DVD player system (actually, we'll probably force him to use the headphones.) Having an automatic speaker defeat on one of the jacks is a great feature to have as it allows one to enjoy a DVD without broadcasting to the rest of the vehicle.
  • Screen Mode
    Even though this button essentially has two modes: native and wide it is nice to be able to force 4:3 DVDs and content to fill the entire LCD screen (there's only 8" you might as well use it all.)
  • Credit Card Sized Remote Control
    OK, it's a little larger than a credit card, but the fact is, this little remote control allows you to manipulate the DVD player from the front seats by simply bouncing the IR signal off of the rear window.
  • Wireless Headphone (IR) Switch
    Even though the Audiovox VBP800 doesn't come with wireless headphones, it does support their use. There is a switch that activates or deactivates three IR transceivers, enabling listeners to adjust volume separately on the headphone controls (the unit accepts many different models of wireless IR headphones, but Audiovox sells model # IRHSCS.)
  • Locking CD/DVD Center Hub
    This may sound trivial, but when you are vertically mounting a DVD/CD player in a vehicle it is nice to have a locking center hub system that will securely hold your media for easy insertion.
  • Flexible DVD Player Mounting System
    This may sound obvious, but Audiovox' implementation of the mounting methodology is simple, straightforward and effective.

We'll go into these in more detail on some of these features, but we wanted you to get a quick overview of what to expect form this DVD-in-a-Bag system.

 

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