- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 11, 2003

With the holiday travel season quickly approaching, thousands of D.C.-area families will be on the road again. And if you’ve got younger children, that journey to grandmother’s house — or beyond — can be a real trip.

Looking for a sure cure to the kiddy chorus of “are we there yets”? Enter the mother of all back-seat coping strategies — the onboard DVD player.

Millions of parents are learning that DVD players are the key to road trip tranquility, especially when the joys of counting cows and out-of-state license plates lose appeal.

No longer bulky and super costly, today’s in-car video players are compact wireless marvels featuring excellent sound and picture quality. And, while the children are happily (and quietly) wearing their earphones in the back seat, viewing the latest theatrical release or playing the latest video game, front-seat occupants are free to dial up Willie Nelson or other adult audio entertainment.

That’s the main reason why about one out of three minivans and SUVs that roll off manufacturer’s assembly lines are equipped with DVD players. With a centrally located retractable overhead screen, second-and third-row passengers can easily view videos.

And the onboard DVD revolution is not limited to just SUVs and minivans. Some manufacturers are equipping their upscale models with two video screens.

In the rear passenger cabin of the new Jaguar XJ sedan, an available multimedia system allows passengers to access DVDs independently of each other.

Sales of portable DVD players that easily can be installed for in-car use are also booming.

The declining price and availability of DVD discs is another big factor in their growing popularity.

In fact, they may soon be getting lots cheaper.

Movies on disposable DVDs are set to arrive in convenience stores, pharmacies and other outlets in a four-city test of whether Americans will pick up a limited-life DVD as an alternative to dropping by a video rental store.

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