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In-Pillow vs Clamp-On Headrest DVD Players

We Have a PhD in Headrest DVD Players

At OnFair, we’ve been laser focused on selling (and using) headrest DVD players for over 11 years.  You could say our family has a PhD degree on headrest DVD players like no other family in the world.  In the beginning the choice between in-pillow or clamp-on was not a choice as the only models available were the in-pillow style.  Over the past few years the clamp-on model has become more and more popular as well as possibly the only option for newer vehicles.

The Difference Between In-Pillow and Clamp-On Headrest Monitors

You’ve been searching...and searching...and searching...for hours and hours for the best headrest DVD players for your family and for your vehicle and you’re still unsure if you should get a headrest DVD player that’s built into the headrest pillow or one that clamps onto your current headrest posts?

Before we evaluate factors of convenience for each model, let’s first look at the most important factor that may require you to make this decision for you.  This factor is based on if your vehicle is equipped with “Active Headrest Technology”?  We go into greater details on what is Active Headrest Technology and how it works here, if this is the first you’ve heard of it, take a look. 

Assuming you’ve already researched if your vehicle has Active Headrest Technology or not, and you’ve discovered your vehicle DOES have Active Headrests then the decision of in-pillow or clamp-on headrest DVD players has been made for you.  You’ll want to go with the clamp-on headrest DVD players ONLY.   While in some cases it’s possible to do, we strongly recommend to not remove your factory headrest pillows if your vehicle is equipped with Active Headrest Technology.

If your vehicle DOES NOT have Active Headrest Technology, then the choice for in-pillow or clamp-on headrest DVD players is still an open choice for either one, so let’s dive deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Advantages of In-Pillow Headrest DVD Players

The first and most obvious advantage of in-pillow headrest DVD players is the “Factory Look” they offer.  Most people who see AUTOTAIN HEADREST DVD PLAYERS for the first time will get the impression the headrest DVD players were built-into the headrests and the headrest pillows are factory headrest pillows.

Additionally, with the in-pillow headrest DVD players, it’s much easier to conceal all the power and audio/video wires from sight, again, giving that factory look install.  This also reduces the chances of wires getting kicked by little feet and accidentally disconnected.

Most built-in headrest DVD players include zipper covers to conceal the video screen when not in use.  This zipper cover increases the factory look while also helps reduce the possibility of someone wanting to break into your vehicle to steal the DVD players.  Additionally, newer models include a removable zipper cover, so the cover can be removed while using the DVD player and re-attached when not in use.

With built-in headrest DVD players, the video screen is a few inches farther away from the backseat passengers than with clamp-on headrest DVD players.  These additional few inches offer a slightly wider viewing angle for passengers that may be sitting in the middle seat.

With built-in headrest DVD players, the possibility of someone bumping or breaking the DVD player while climbing in or out of the vehicle is greatly reduced.

List of Advantages for In-Pillow Headrest DVD Players:

  • Factory look
  • Easy to conceal
  • Can hide all the wires and cables
  • Can cover screens with a zipper cover
  • Wider visibility
  • Less chance of bumping or breaking

Disadvantages of In-Pillow Headrest DVD Players

With adjustable headrest posts and post sleeve adapters or VERSA headrest posts, the built-in headrest DVD players offer a “Near Universal” fit opportunity.  However, due to the very wide range of vehicle seat and headrest configurations, built-in headrest DVD player don’t fit “All vehicles”.  Before buying in-pillow headrest DVD players, it’s VERY IMPORTANT you measure a few things to measure for compatibility.

While we’ve done all that we can to make the in-pillow headrest DVD players as easy to install as possible, depending on your comfort level with connecting cables and running wires, there will be a tad more effort required to run the power and a/v wires down and through the seats.  Depending on your vehicle seat design, many seats have removable back panels to allow for easy access and making this task even easier.  Also, we’ve combined all the necessary wires into 1 wire (rather than 2 wires in older models) to make the install easier with the need to only run/snake 1 wire down through the seats.

As you know, car manufacturers have come up with 1,001 different colors for vehicle interiors.  To offer a “Universal Headrest DVD Player” we’ve come up with 3 colors that offer a match or “near match” to most of the vehicle interior colors on the market.  It’s possible the built-in headrest DVD player pillow will not be a 100% match to your vehicle interior.  However, we’ve heard from 1,000’s of customers over the years that the colors are a “perfect match” from many and a “near match” from many and that the difference is a non-issue.

If you’re unsure which of the 3 colors to select, or if you would like to see the colors before choosing the best headrest DVD player package for your vehicle, take FULL ADVANTAGE of our FREE HEADREST COLOR SAMPLE offer here.

List of Disadvantages for In-Pillow Headrest DVD Players:

  • Not totally a "Universal fit"
  • More effort to run wires through the seats
  • 100% color match may be difficult

Advantages of Clamp-On Headrest DVD Players

One of the most obvious advantages of the clamp-on headrest DVD players is how easy they are to install!!  AUTOTAIN clamp-on headrest packages include high-compression spring loaded mounting brackets with post sleeves to accommodate all post diameters and a tight fit.  Simply add the posts sleeves, squeeze the bracket together, and insert between the two posts and release.  The headrest bracket is installed.

With clamp-on headrest DVD players being easy to install, they are also easy to remove (if desired) when not in use.  You have two choices.  You can remove only the DVD player and keep the bracket in place between the headrest posts, or you can remove both the DVD player and the headrest bracket in minutes.

In addition, some families like to move the clamp-on headrest DVD players from vehicle to vehicle. With the easy ability to install or remove them you can quickly remove the DVD players from one vehicle and re-install them into a second vehicle in minutes.  AUTOTAIN offers the ability to purchase additional mounting brackets and power cables if you’d like to install brackets and cables into multiple vehicles and then move the DVD players from vehicle to vehicle with ease as needed.

With the AUTOTAIN spring loaded headrest mounting bracket that are designed to adjust to most post distances, clamp-on headrest DVD players are nearly compatible with all vehicles.  If the factory headrest posts are very close together (3.5” or less) the clamp-on headrest DVD players may not be compatible.  So, still a good idea to measure your posts before ordering.

When you choose clamp-on headrest DVD players, you have one less concern about a color match.  This is a concern mostly for in-pillow headrest DVD player pillows.

Most high-end luxury vehicles have shifted from offering in-pillow headrest DVD players to the clamp-on headrest DVD player design.  This is mostly due to the same reason we described above, “Active Headrest Technology”.  Active Headrest Technology was first introduced in high-end luxury vehicles as an additional safety feature and as vehicle manufacturers re-designed their headrest pillows, they had less room for a DVD player to be built-into the factory headrest pillow.  Therefore, external clamp-on headrest DVD players was the only option.

One HUGE advantage of clamp-on headrest DVD players is the ability to enjoy the DVD players outside of the vehicle when using the home power supplies.

List of Advantages for Clamp-On Headrest DVD Players:

  • Easy to install
  • Easy to remove
  • Can use in multiple vehicles
  • Nearly universal
  • Less concerns about a color match
  • Can enjoy outside of the vehicle

Disadvantages of Clamp-On Headrest DVD Players

In general, clamp-on headrest DVD players don’t offer that “Factory Look” as much as in-pillow headrest DVD players offer.  However, over time as more and more luxury vehicles offer clamp-on headrest DVD players as the only “Factory Option”, perceptions will adjust, and clamp-on DVD players will become known as a “Factory Look”.

Another disadvantage of clamp-on headrest DVD players versus in-pillow headrest DVD players is the possibility of having them bumped or broken when your backseat passengers are climbing in or out of the vehicle.  You have backpacks, water bottles and large winter coats all as possible things that may hit or scratch the DVD players.

With clamp-on headrest DVD players, it becomes more difficult to hide “out of sight” the power and RCA audio video sharing cables.  AUTOTAIN clamp-on headrest DVD players offer power cables that you should be able to run down through the seats, but this is easier or more difficult to do based on the design of your vehicle seats and your comfort level with running a wire through the seat.

List of Disadvantages for Clamp-On Headrest DVD Players:

  • Not a factory look
  • Easier to bump or break
  • More difficult to hide all the wires