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Headrest DVD Player Monitor Screen Resolution and Aspect Ratio

Are you searching for a new headrest DVD player and curious what screen resolution you should get?  No worries, let’s make it simple and explain what to look for.

What is Headrest Monitor Screen Resolution?

The screen resolution for your headrest monitor is simply the number of pixels displayed horizontally and the number of pixels displayed vertically.  The normal way screen resolution is written is 1280 x 800 for example.  In this example, the screen would have 1280 pixels horizontally and have 800 pixels vertically.

headrest dvd player aspect ratio explained

What are pixels in a Headrest Monitor?

The term pixel is short for “Picture Element”.  A pixel is the smallest unit of an image.  Pixels are usually round, rectangular or square and typically arranged into a square 2-dimensional grid but can sometimes be staggered as well.  For LCD screens, most pixels will have 3 sub-pixels each with one of the primary colors of red, green or blue.  By combining the 3 primary colors together at varying intensity, you can then produce the many other colors in the picture.

what is a pixel on a tv

What is the Aspect Ratio for Headrest Monitors?

The aspect ratio for headrest monitor screens is the ratio between the width of the monitor and the height of the monitor.  There are 2 main aspect ratios used for headrest DVD players. 

The 4:3 aspect ratio means the headrest monitor screen is 4/3 or 1.33 x wider than its height.  This is an older aspect ratio before high definition (HD) video.  The screen appears to be nearly square as the height and width is only 33% wider.

The 16:9 aspect ration means the headrest monitor screen is 16/9 or 1.77 x wider than its height.  This aspect ratio is also known as “wide screen” as the screen appears much wider 77% (nearly twice) than its height. 

Headrest monitor screens come in many different shapes and sizes.  It’s possible to have a headrest monitor screen be a different size than 1.33 and 1.77 and still have the capability to play 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio movies.

Most headrest DVD players will play both aspect ratios without any issues.  However, if the screen size isn’t exactly the same ratio, the headrest screen will need to compensate for the difference by adding black bars on the side or top and bottom.  This allows for the full image to be displayed without cutting off the top, bottom or side edges of the image and missing important parts of the movie.

The DVD you’re using will determine the aspect ratio of the movie.  If the DVD is in 4:3 format it can only be played in 4:3 format.  If it’s in 16:9 it can only be played in 16:9 format.  Some DVD’s come with the ability to play in both formats or “Full Screen” mode where the movie will zoom to fit all 4 edges of the screen.

What is High Definition for Headrest Monitors?

You’ve heard the term “High Definition” or HD for short.  Over the years you’ve seen your TV stations change from broadcasting in “Standard Definition” to broadcasting in HD beginning in 1993 and growing each year after.

  • The first HD resolution is called 720p.  Its resolution is 1280x720 (that’s where the 720p comes from).  The letter “p” stands for “Progressive Scan”.
  • Next is the 1080i resolution at 1920x1080.  The “I” stands for “Interlaced”. 
  • Next is 1080p resolution at 1920x1080 again but with “Progressive Scan”.  We won’t go into details between interlaced or progressive scan here. 

What is Ultra High Definition (UHD) for Headrest Monitors?

You’re starting to see even higher resolutions TV screens coming out.  Some say 4K or 8K on them.  As you can guess, the resolution for 4K and 8K screens are even greater than the resolution size for HD screens.

  • 4K UHD resolution is 3840x2160.  Also known as 2160p.
  • 8K UHD resolution is 7680x4320.  Also known as 4320p.

Do headrest monitors screens come in UHD or 4K?

At this time, headrest monitor screens do not come in UHD or 4k resolutions.  Can you imagine trying to cram nearly 4,000 pixels into a 9” (diagonal) screen?  Not sure it’s possible or necessary at the moment.

Should you Buy a Headrest DVD Player with HD Resolution capabilities?

That’s a good question.  I say the answer depends.  It depends on your use.  Here are 2 factors to consider.

1)      It depends on your children’s age.  For example, if you’re children are younger, most likely all they’ll be watch are cartoons.  Most cartoons are produced at a lower resolution and therefore will only be displayed at the lower resolution anyways.  Remember we talked about the DVD format being the limiting factor earlier.  If the DVD being played is at a 4:3 aspect ratio then having headrest monitor screens with higher resolutions will not even be utilized.

2)      If you’re mostly playing DVD’s.  So one of the limiting factor of a DVD is that it can only play up to the 720x480 (480i) video resolution.  This is something most people don’t know.  They may buy a headrest DVD player with higher resolution however while playing the DVD it is being played at the 720x480 resolution.  The headrest DVD player will simply “Upscale” or stretch the image to the higher screen resolution.

To play truly HD movies on headrest DVD player screens, you’ll need to play the movie from the USB, SD or HDMI ports saved and rendered in the same HD format.  Many newer models of headrest DVD players can play movies up to 1080p format from the SD, USB or HDMI ports onto their screens.  Note, there are some limitations of file size and formats so keep that in mind.

What is Liquid Crystal in a Liquid Crystal Display LCD

We learned in chemistry class that substances can be in one of three states, a liquid, a solid or a gas.  Do you remember?  So, a liquid crystal (used in LCD screens) breaks this rule as it’s both a liquid and a solid at the same time.  Say what??

One unique property of liquid crystals is when they’re in the liquid state, they all point in the same directly.  This is called the Nematic Phase.  When the crystals cool they form into layers that can still slide and move but remain flat and don’t move from layer to layer.  This is called the Smectic Phase.  Did you know that? 

The LCD screen on a headrest DVD player consists of a back area that contains a bright light.  This bright back-light is typically produced by LED lights or by other means.  The front area of the LCD screen consists of a layer of pixels (which we described earlier) where each pixel has 3 sub-pixels that contain a red, green or blue filter.  When the sub-pixel is turned on it will allow the back light to flow through the colored filter and that color will be displayed on the pixel.

Technically, it gets more complicated than this.  There are horizontal polarizing filters on the front and vertical polarized filters on the back of the pixel to allow light in or not.  Much like polarized sunglasses.  But we won’t go into that much detail today.  You’re welcome.

About OnFair

about onfair

OnFair is the leading online provider and most passionate about offering only the best headrest DVD players on the market.  They work directly with factory engineers to design and develop the most advanced features and capabilities available and then offer them to you in their exclusive AUTOTAIN branded headrest monitor packages.

Because they've been doing this for over 11 years as a family business from Lincoln, Nebraska, some would argue they've earned their PHD in headrest DVD players as it'll be nearly impossible to find anyone more passionate and more experience with the product.

Want to know more about the OnFair story, check it out here.