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Discussion Starter #1
Received a video entertainment system on Thursday, just in time for a weekend trip. Here are some comments for anyone looking for a video system in their Odyssey.

We purchased a Steel Horse Video Traveler, the system often resold at various websites and in auctions. This was not the console unit, which required mounting holes in the floor and was a hair too wide to fit with the factory console. I was also a little concerned with having a picture tube in the vehicle because of the potential of glass shards, should the screen implode and scatter after a large bump or accident. We purchased the "Car/SUV" backpack version with an LCD screen instead.

This setup basically includes a mobile VHS video cassette player with AC/DC input, a 5" LCD screen with speaker, all necessary cables, and a backpack specially designed for mounting in a car. Normally, this setup is shown mounted between the two front seats with the screen at the top of the pack for viewing in most rear seat locations. Since we only have 1 toddler viewing, I mounted the pack directly behind the driver seat so it did not obstruct our access to the rear. I then removed the detachable LCD screen and mounted it on the back of the passenger headrest for our toddler in the second row. The cables ran nicely under the floormats.

This setup worked very nicely. The padding made the pack and VCR just a hair to thick to fit under the second row seats, but the VCP itself would fit easily if removed from the pack. The screen was very bright, and just fine even in mid-day. The viewing angle was generous side to side, but the contrast dropped off quickly if you were above or below the best viewing angle (not really a problem in a vehicle). There were no problems with video playback. No skipping or dropouts even on some pretty good bumps. Apparently, additional LCD screens can be added if needed.

Overall, it was a very nice setup, and kept our toddler happy when we couldn't. The only minor drawback was the mediocre built-in speaker. Just fine for our toddler, but it does not play clearly at higher volumes. A headphone jack is included, and we brought along our discman cassette adapter to play it through the van's audio system, but never used it.

http://www.survivethedrive.com is where I purchased our system, and they also offer rentals. Ours was a refurbished unit (previously used as a rental), and it was $200 plus $20 shipping. Ours was in great condition. I believe they might have a couple more of these left, as they recently upgraded their rental units from 5" screens to 5.6" LCDs with improved speakers. The service was very good, and I would recommend them for this. A close relative had rented from them as well, and also been satisfied with their service. Their prices on new units are just average, though.

I also considered buying a brand new unit. The best price I saw was $350 at www.autoaccessory.com for a 4" LCD system, plus they often have 10% or 15% off coupon codes at various sites like flamingoworld.com. They also offer similar systems with 5.6" or 6.8" screens, and versions with TV tuners, too.

Anyway, if you're looking for a portable TV/VCR unit, this is a reasonable choice. It's not going to look as nice as a built-in system or floor console unit, but it does offer portability from vehicle to vehicle and even indoors for a hotel room.

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 04-07-2001).]
 

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I just checked their site. That's a neat setup. How did you find the refurbished unit? Was it mentioned on the specials page?


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Jim
'01 GG EX
 

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Discussion Starter #3
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Jim F:
I just checked their site. That's a neat setup. How did you find the refurbished unit? Was it mentioned on the specials page?
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I was browsing e-bay and saw one of their auctions which had closed. So I called to see if they had more. Sounded like they had a couple more left.

I'm glad I don't have a built-in system, or the kid would have to have a movie every time we got in the car, rather than our usual routine of talking or singing. It's bad enough that he just learned that his audio tapes (Barney) work in the van, too. Having the system in only for long trips is ideal for us.


[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 02-23-2001).]
 

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Excellent point.

I know *I* didn't have a video system growing up. I didn't even have a built in cupholder on those long, boring trips.

I guess they weren't all that boring after all. I'm dying to take my family on those same trips.



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Jim
'01 GG EX
 
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