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Buyers Guides > Portable DVD players with wireless headphones

Take a look at our range of wireless headphone portable DVD players

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Portable DVD players have proved a boon for parents of young children on long car journeys and travellers of all kinds on buses, train, aeroplanes and so forth. They provide bright, high resolution visual entertainment from a device that is compact, completely portable – operating from a 12-volt power supply, or rechargeable batteries – and often, nowadays, simple enough to be operated by a small child. That said, playing back audio from a DVD through speakers in a car can often prove distracting or tiresome for the driver and front seat passenger and while wired earphones or headphones can provide a solution to this problem they can also restrict movement and make physical use of a portable DVD player more difficult. Similar problems occur with wired headphones when exercising, for example and even Bluetooth® wireless headphones can be problematic on board an aircraft, not to mention some as yet unresolved health issues.

For these reasons, many parents and travellers are choosing to use their portable DVD players in conjunction with wireless, IR or "Infrared" headphones. Infrared has a shorter range than Bluetooth®, typically 20' or so and requires "line of sight" between portable DVD players and wireless headphones. However, low frequency light waves are far away from the 2.4GHz frequency band used by Bluetooth®, microwave ovens and the like and, as such, are known to be safe. Line of sight is also likely to be less of an issue with a portable DVD player, since by definition you are likely be in close proximity to the player most of the time.

Wireless IR headphones work via an infrared transmitter, which may already be included in portable DVD players or can be added as an optional extra. The Nextbase SDV47 7" portable DVD player is an example of the first type and can actually be purchased as a wireless twin pack, including two DVD players, two IR transmitters and two sets of wireless headphones. The Mustek PL408T portable DVD player, on the other hand, is a slightly larger 8.4" model to which an infrared transmitter can be added and wireless IR headphones bought as a separate item. In either case, IR waves are transmitted from the portable DVD players to the headphones, where they are transferred to dynamic drivers which eliminate noise before being reproduced on the headphone speakers. Electromagnets create vibrations in the headphone speakers, just as in standard, wired headphones, to create the sound that we finally hear.

Wireless IR headphones tend to be the larger over-the-ear type, principally because they need to accommodate larger batteries. However, given that they are likely to be used for long periods with portable DVD players, this is probably no bad thing. Larger, plusher headphones are typically not only more comfortable to wear for long periods, but the extra padding helps to eliminate background noise and they are easier to use – and less likely to be lost – if small children are involved. You can, of course, also connect as many sets of wireless headphones as required to a single wireless transmitter, which means that two, three or more children can share a portable DVD player in the back seat of a car.