Many people use DVD players to access digital media in their vehicles. However, with the advent of enormous, inexpensive hard drive storage and excellent playback software, many car owners are looking to replace their conventional DVD players with drives that reliably store and play back audio and video, while eliminating the need to insert and remove external optical media.
Portable Media Players
Many newer car stereo systems have USB (Universal Serial USB) connectors that accept direct connection to an external hard drive and playback device. This can be useful if you want to transfer your digital storage device back and forth between vehicle and home. In this case all that is required is an external video device, such as an iPod Video (5th Generation or later), a car stereo capable stereo or surround playback, and a video monitor connected to the internal installed stereo system. One or more monitors may currently be installed in your car if it already contains a DVD player.
Hard Drive Installation
A useful method of replacing a DVD player with a hard drive is to have the DVD player literally removed and a digital device featuring a hard drive installed internally. Most car stereo stores offer self-install and custom install video playback devices with built-in hard drives and memory. These can be useful because the owner needs only a flash drive to port over the digital media they wish to access. It also is desirable if the owner would like to store digital media for playback in car without an outside device necessary for playback. Installed hard drive players are also compatible with newer MP3 and portable media players for transfer of digital files onto a internal hard drive.
If mobile video display is your primary plan for your new hard drive device, the best strategy is to consult a stereo installer, as installation requires wiring the device to a video monitor and initialising an operating system that can display your digital media. More DYI-adventurous types can find great tips online. But modification of electrical equipment in your car can void the warranty, so check with the manufacturer before attempting a car modification.