Playing itunes movies in car

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by mattwolfmatt, Aug 4, 2011.

  1. mattwolfmatt macrumors 65816


    Jun 7, 2008
    Hello, I'm looking for a way to play itunes movies in the car for a long trip. Ideally the controls would be in the front with screens in the back. We're looking at this dual screen DVD player, but it appears there is no video in (I have the iDevice to HDMI converter AND the iDevice to RCA converter). Ideal would be the ability to play separate movies from two iDevices to each screen, but if only one can go, that's fine too.

    Here's what I already own:
    iPad 1
    iPod touch (most recent gen)
    Apple HDMI cable
    Apple RCA composite cable
    Apple TV 2
    iPhone with data & tethering

    I'm not sure how the AppleTV can be used, but I'm willing to try it. Of course I'm willing to buy the dual screen dvd player or other stuff too.

    Surely I can't be the only one with this problem. I have 150+ movies in iTunes format, and no way for my 2 year old to watch them (I don't trust her with iPod touch nor iPad). My 5 year old does okay with iPad in the car, but we're one spilled drink away from a very upset dad.

    Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    No video inputs on the dual screen you've chosen pretty much eliminates it unless you want to play physical disks.

    Why not just get something like this? I've no idea what installation costs would be but it has 2 video inputs that would allow you to connect iPhone/iPad/iPod and it will work with wireless headphones which are also relatively inexpensive ($60-80 for 2 sets) but so worth it (keeps my 3 kids happy and allows mommy and daddy to keep their sanity by not having to listen to kids movies for hours on end :D).

    We sprung for the built in options on both of our vehicles and while ridiculously overpriced, I'd do it again every time. My old iPhone 3GS is loaded with their movies and permanently plugged into the inputs on my vehicle.
  3. mattwolfmatt thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 7, 2008
    Thanks, I will look more into monitors. Still, the installation is a little much for what we use it for.
  4. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    Seems like you are over complicating this - just load up what videos you want on your iPads and be done with it. You can even turn on the new Guided Access to disable kids from accidentally leaving the movie.

    A Seagate WiFi drive would give you a TB of storage and will stream off of battery power for 8 hours - I'd imagine they have a car adapter.
  5. institute macrumors regular

    Oct 10, 2012
    And it is probably cheaper to buy an iPad protective cover that would stop the kiddies from doing any harm.
  6. GarrettL1979 macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2012
    Yeah, we bought an otter box. Works great when you have little kids.
  7. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    I had to deal with this problem a couple of years ago when my 1-year-old son stopped sleeping reliably during the 2+hour car trip to grandma's house.

    I got an earlier version of this:

    There are multiple brands of this dual-screen DVD player system. (The one I posted above is significantly cheaper than the one you linked. . . part of the difference might be that my system is 7" screens while yours is 9" screens. . . and is being sold by best buy which is not the cheapest place to buy this kind of thing.)

    Anyway, the system I use is basically two cheap 7" screens with velcro pouches that allow you to strap them onto your headrests. One screen has a built-in DVD player and acts as the "source", the other is just a "dumb screen" that takes video/audio input from the first screen. So, used as intended, both screens play the same content at the same time.

    Like you, I have all my content in iTunes, and wanted to just have a dumb-screen that could take input from my ipad2 or iphones. So I use only the "dumb screen", and send it video/audio through its input from an iPad2, going through the old iDevice-to-composite cable. The screen with a built-in DVD player sits at home in a box in the closet, unused.

    I tried to find a simple small "dumb screen" with A/V input for sale on its own for lower than the cost of this dual-screen DVD player system (which is < $100). But I failed to find what I needed, surprisingly. (Who wants to carry around DVDs any more when you can store all your kids' movies on your phone?)

    Now, if your goal is to drive kids entertainment to two separate screens, from two separate sources, this is my advice: You have two options:

    1. Purchase two of these systems. That will get you 4 screens total: 2 "dumb screens" with the critical A/V input, and 2 screens with built-in DVD player. Store/sell/give-away the 2 screens with build-in DVD player. Use your iPad 1 with RCA composite cable to drive one of the screens, and another iDevice with appropriate cable to drive the other.

    Total cost: ~$180 for two dual-screen DVD player systems.
    Downsides: Higher cost for two systems than just one. You will need to dedicate and manage two iDevices from the front seat. (The front passenger should take charge of this task.)
    Upsides: you can control both screens from the front seat. You can play separate content on each screen.

    2. Purchase just one system. Drive the dumb-screen with your iPad 1 and composite cable, and use a USB-drive or SD card to drive the other screen. (this particular version of Sylvania's dual-screen player has an input for SD cards and USB drives on the screen with a built-in DVD player). You can load the USB drive or SD card with videos.
    Total Cost: $90 for one system.
    Downsides: you will only be controlling one screen from the front seat (the iDevice-driven one). The other system will need to be configured (ie: the movie chosen and "play button" pressed, in the front seat and then clicked into place on the head-rest. Or the front-seat passenger will need to get good at operating the screen's buttons by reaching-around the headrest.
    Upsides: you get different content on both screens. Frankly it's probably less of a hassle to drive the content on one of the screens from the USB-drive or SD Card, as you won't need to have a cable running to an ipod in the front seat. Less clutter.

    Some added notes:

    -I haven't implemented two screens yet (I have 2 kids now, but my youngest child doesn't yet get bored in the car seat, so I have not yet set up a screen for her). I would think you'd want to find a way to use headphones so the audio from two different movies playing at the same time won't drive you and the kids crazy. I like the wireless headphone idea, but not sure if you could easily implement it with this set-up. I'm pretty sure these screens have headphone jacks, though, so if your kids can handle wearing wired headphones, that should work.

    -You might have a problem with AV adapter cables for your more recent iDevices (like your current generation iPod Touch). The Apple AV Composite cable works for the devices with the 30-pin connector (your iPad 1, for example). But it won't fit the newer devices with the "lightning" connector. And, as far as I know, if you try to use the apple composite AV cable with the lightning-to-30-pin connector adapter, only the audio will make it out but not the video. To send video from a lightning-connector iDevice to a composite video input, you'll need something like this. (~$80): These cheap small screens do not take HDMI (and why should they? there's no point in sending HD video to a screen this small.)
  8. mwulf67 macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    I used a bungle cord stretched between the headrests of the driver and passenger seats with an ipad in a bookcase case flipped and draped over it...instant video player for these in the back, fuss, no muss...

    Maybe this isn't the solution for you, but I echo the sentiment that are has to be a simpler solution for what you're trying to do...
  9. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    The bungie-cord idea is not bad, but it wouldn't work for me since we often have to be looking back to the back seat to interact with the kids, hand them snacks/water, access bags stored on the backseat floor, etc. And an ipad hanging in front of our faces would get in the way.

    I like the idea of just strapping an ipad to the headrest, and there are ways to do that. Like this:

    Why not just hand the kid the ipad?
    I have tried that in the past. It works in a pinch, but here are some reasons why I prefer a fixed screen on a headrest:

    -My kids are small (a 3-year old and a 1-year old) and they have trouble holding an ipad at the right angle for viewing for long periods of time in the car.
    -They might get frustrated for some reason and throw the iPad, or they might fall asleep and drop the iPad. Even if the iPad were protected in a protective case, we'd eventually get the "I want iPad!" whine once the kid realizes they actually want the thing. Which means we have to fumble around for the thrown/dropped device on the floor of the back seat, from the front seat.
    -Also, the kid holding the ipad means the kid cannot also easily hold a snack-cup or water cup. Which makes it hard to work a mobile meal or snack into a long drive.

    If you have a head-rest mounted screen, you don't have to worry about any of that. Also you have godlike control over what they are watching and WHETHER they are watching anything at all ("oh, you hit your sister? TV off!" or "ok, thats enough movies for now") without having to play tug of war with the kid to get the ipad out of their hands. When the kids get older it's probably fine to just hand them an ipad. At this stage, I want fixed screens and control.
  10. mattwolfmatt thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jun 7, 2008
    Thanks for replying to a thread over two years old. As you may have guessed, it's been solved.

    Also, "simply loading up the iPads" isn't an option since 1. I don't own two iPads and 2. I don't trust my 3 year old holding an iPad. Clearly, you don't have kids.

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