Best Car Video & Stereo Receivers

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 12, 2017
If a standard multimedia system in your car provides poor sound quality and has a limited set of features, you should think of changing it for a much better car video & stereo receiver. We tested the most popular of them and now you can choose the best car multimedia receiver from our shortlist. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Input
Display
Power Output
Channels
Features
Connectivity
 
PROS
This car stereo receiver is very functional as it supports all of the most popular formats. You can download and playback your favorite music as well as watch movies. The touch screen is very handy and convenient in use.
CONS
It has no separate volume control knob for adjusting the volume without getting your eyes off the road.
OUR VERDICT
Perfect and truly fully functional car video receiver that combines all cutting-edge technologies. Great choice for people who spend a lot of time driving.
detailed parameters
Type
2-DIN
Input
DVD, CD, USB
Display
6.2'' color capacitive LCD touchscreen, 800 x 480 pixels
Power Output
Peak - 50W per channel, Nominal - 14W per channel
Channels
5 channels (front, rear, sub)
Features
AM/FM Tuner, Compatible with MP3 players and smartphones,13-Band Graphic Equalizer, Multicolor Illumination Options, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, Video playback, USB Direct Control for iPod/iPhone
Connectivity
Bluetooth, USB, AUX
PROS
Jensen car stereo receiver has a simple and intuitive interface. The color touch screen provides a very nice image quality. You can choose one of many available display wallpapers suitable for your car interior.
CONS
Turning the radio on takes some time.
OUR VERDICT
If you want to have a versatile device that combines a GPS navigation system, media player, and other functions - Jensen VX7022 is what you need.
detailed parameters
Type
2-DIN
Input
DVD, CD, USB, MicroSD
Display
6.2'' color TFT touchscreen, 800 x 480 pixels
Power Output
Peak - 40W per channel, Nominal - 13W per channel
Channels
5 channels (front, rear, sub)
Features
AM/FM Tuner, Compatible with MP3 players and smartphones, Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, 10-Band Graphic Equalizer
Connectivity
USB, SD, AUX, Bluetooth, HDMI/HML
PROS
Flip-out screen is very handy for watching videos - you can just push a button and the compact stereo for car turns into a video player.
CONS
There's no voice control support in a hands-free mode, so you need to use a cell phone to make a call.
OUR VERDICT
That's the best pick for people who can install a single 1-DIN car stereo receiver but want to watch movies on a color screen.
detailed parameters
Type
1-DIN
Input
DVD, CD, USB, SD
Display
7'' color TFT-LCD touchscreen, 800 x 480 pixels
Power Output
Peak - 85W per channel
Channels
5 channels (front, rear, sub)
Features
AM/FM tuner, Compatible with MP3 players and smartphones, Multi-Color illumination options, Bluetooth hands-free audio streaming, Video playback, Equalizer, ESP
Connectivity
USB, SD, AUX, Bluetooth, Rear camera input, Steering wheel controls
PROS
This Pioneer car stereo receiver allows you to configure the contact list in your phone via voice control. You can also set up the backlighting.
CONS
Reading the display of this car stereo receiver might be somewhat difficult in sunlight.
OUR VERDICT
Apart from producing a perfect sound, this car stereo receiver gives you a full control over you calls while you're driving; works well in combo with your smartphone.
detailed parameters
Type
2-DIN
Input
CD-R, CD-RW, USB
Display
Dual-line multi-segmented LED-backlit LCD screen, Displays 13+4 characters
Power Output
Peak - 50W per channel, Nominal - 22W per channel
Channels
5 channels (front, rear, sub)
Features
5-band graphic equalizer, Anti-dust design, AM/FM radio, USB direct control for iPod/iPhone, Android music support, Voice control, Wideband Speech Handsfree Profile
Connectivity
USB, AUX, Bluetooth
PROS
This affordable car stereo receiver has an intuitive interface with handy buttons and controls. AUX input provides a good sounding - far better than you expect from an affordable device.
CONS
Your last volume settings reset when you turn the car stereo receiver off.
OUR VERDICT
It's an amazing stereo for car that has everything a driver needs: a bright display, decent sound, and an attractive price.
detailed parameters
Type
1-DIN
Input
USB, SD
Display
Four-line LED-backlit LCD screen
Power Output
Peak - 50W per channel, Nominal - 10W per channel
Channels
4 channels (front, rear)
Features
AM/FM tuner, Compatible with MP3 players and smartphones, Quartz digital clock, MP3 ID3 tag display (title/artist/album), Equalizer (preset tone curves)
Connectivity
USB, SD, AUX

What is a Car Stereo Receiver

It's impossible to imagine a car without a stereo system which allows you to maximize the pleasure of driving. Most modern cars come with proprietary car audio systems installed by manufacturers. However, some of those car stereo receivers, particularly on cheap cars, provide pretty nasty sounding and if you are a fan of an oldtimer, it might have no stereo for car at all. Also, trucks require car audio systems too. Some of these devices are for listening to music only, while others have screens, so you can watch movies or videos. Moreover, the best car video & stereo receivers have a voice control support, so they allow you to enjoy your favorite music without moving your eyes off the road.

Also, even the best audio for car simply modifies and transmits the audio signal, but the final sound is produced by speakers. Thus, we recommend you to read our brand-new comparison of the best Car Speakers.

What Features to Compare

The first feature you need to consider when you are about to choose a car video & stereo receiver is the Type, which also includes the source of input data. In general, there are 2 main types of car video & stereo receivers: 1-DIN and 2-DIN. They differ in size, though their other dimensions are the same: 7 and 6.3 inches respectively. But the height is different. 1-DIN is the standard for car stereos and such devices are 2 inches high. 2-DIN models are twice higher - 4 inches. As usual, 2-DIN stereos offer more features, but they are more expensive. As of the input source types, they are as follow:

  • CD - these car audio systems can read CD-R and CD-RW discs that are far more rarely used today, but many people still have lots of such discs with different music.
  • DVD - these car stereos can read DVD discs (that have a lot more storage than CDs), so you can watch videos.
  • USB - these car video & stereo receivers read the flash drives that are widely used all over the world today; of course, flash drives can store music and video files.
  • SD - these car media receivers can read the data (music and video) from SD card. As usual, most receivers have an SD slot apart from CD, DVD or USB support.

The next feature you are obliged to check is the Multimedia Capabilities of car video & stereo receivers or, in other words, the formats every stereo for car supports, the number of available channels, the power output, and the controls. Some audio formats are read with losses of sound quality, while others are lossless:

  • With losses - MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC.
  • Lossless - CDA, FLAC, APE, OGG, WV, TTA, MLP.

Here are the most popular video formats: AVI, FLV, MPG, MPEG4, MP5, RM, RAM, RMVB, VOB, SVF, MKV, MOV, 3GP, DVD, VCD, SVCD.

Power output is a really important feature for all car video & stereo receivers. The sound quality highly depends on it - the higher the power output is, the better sound you will hear. Optimal power output is 4x50 Watts, but remember that the speakers must be 3 times more powerful. As of the number of channels, most car video & stereo receivers have 2 or 4 channels. Moreover, if a stereo for car has a subwoofer, it means it has 5 channels. Make sure to find out if the car multimedia player has an equalizer, which allows you to configure sound settings according to your own preferences and to the music style you prefer.

The last major thing to consider is the Connectivity of a car video & stereo receivers. The best devices allow you to connect a cell phone so that you can receive calls via a car's sound system (bear in mind that driving and holding a phone is very dangerous and forbidden). Most modern car stereos have Bluetooth support, so you can easily stream the music from your cell phone to a car multimedia device. Apart from Bluetooth, you can play the music from your cell phone or MP3 player if you connect it to AUX slot of the car video & sound receiver. Finally, the most advanced devices allow you to connect a rear camera, so that you can see what's happening behind your car.

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Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120

Type

Pioneer AppRadio stereo for car is a 2-DIN device that can read quite a lot of media storage devices, such as CD / DVD discs (let's face it - many of us still use them), and USB flash drives. Some cheaper car video & stereo receivers read only the flash drives with the FAT32 file management system, but this model is compatible with both FAT32 and NTFS. Therefore, you can play music from your old CDs or enjoy movies from DVDs. In a nutshell, this device is truly versatile.

Multimedia Capabilities

This car stereo has a 6.2'' LCD touchscreen display, so you need to touch the appropriate areas on the screen to control the device. It's extremely convenient, particularly for watching photos - you can use the multi-touch capability of the screen to zoom the pictures in and out. No need to say, you can also watch videos and movies - it's pretty comfortable. If you need to drive to a place you've never been, just turn the GPS mode on and you will see the detailed map and the route you have to follow. Moreover, this stereo receiver has Apple CarPlay software that makes it compatible with Apple gadgets like iPhone 5 (and newer). In other words, iOS 8 and the newer versions are supported. Once you've established the connection, you can receive calls, set a route (using Apple Maps), and even use Siri assistant (it will read messages you receive, for example). Those who use Android-operated cell phones can do the same, too! As far as sound quality is concerned, this Pioneer model isn't trailing behind - the peak power of 50W per channel and 5 supported channels (front, rear, sub) allow you to build quite a decent sound system in your vehicle.

Connectivity

The installation of this car video and stereo receiver is quite simple since all you need is shipped in a supply package. To be more exact, Pioneer AppRadio comes with all the necessary adapters, an AUX cable (it allows you to connect your phone or iPod and listen to music from it), a USB cable, and so on. But that's not all - Pioneer stereo for car also has a Bluetooth adapter, hence you can quickly establish a wireless connection and use no wires and cables at all.

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Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120
Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120
 

Jensen VX7022

Type

Jensen car stereo systems are known for their reliability and functionality and this 2-DIN device is, no doubt, among the best in its class. The unit can read the most popular disc types: CD and DVD, so if you bought an album of your favorite band many years ago, you can easily listen to it now. Also, you can watch movies right from the DVDs. No need to mention the USB port connects any flash drives. Most modern car stereo receivers have one! And this model is not an exception. However, this device also has one major advantage - an SD card slot. SD cards are far smaller than USB flash drives and that's why many people prefer using them for storing music and audio files as well as images.

Multimedia Capabilities

Jensen car stereo receiver has a high-quality 6.2'' touchscreen display that supports the maximum resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. This display makes it possible to watch photos and videos without changing their size (and format). The unit reads all the most popular formats such as MP3 and WMA for music, MPEG and AVI for videos, JPEG for images, etc. The sound quality isn't the best but it's quite sufficient for a common driver; the peak power output is 40W per channel and the nominal power is 13W per channel. Additionally, this stereo for car supports 5 channels (front, rear, sub), so you can truly enjoy your favorite music. If you prefer listening to the radio, Jensen car stereo receiver has an FM/AM tuner, so all the popular frequencies are available to you! Finally, this device has a built-in GPS module, allowing you to use it as a navigation system. That's truly necessary and that's what makes 2-DIN devices far superior to their narrow 1-DIN counterparts.

Connectivity

This stereo for car has a built-in Bluetooth adapter, thus you can easily establish a wireless connection between this device and one of your gadgets (a cell phone, smartphone, iPod, iPad, and many others). Jensen has an AUX input that allows you to connect your MP3 player or a phone directly to the car receiver (using an AUX cable). Unlike many other similar devices, this car stereo has an HDMI input and if it seems useless to you - you're wrong! You can stream the picture from your smartphone to the 6.2'' display of this stereo receiver and it's even possible to connect a mini PC. If you need to charge one of your gadgets and there's no power outlet around, use Jensen car stereo! Its USB port is powered, so you can always charge your tablet, smartphone, or even laptop.

Jensen VX7022
Jensen VX7022
 

BOSS AUDIO BV9976B

Type

This BOSS video & stereo receiver is a small 1-DIN device but it offers all of the best capabilities of larger 2-DIN car media players. That's a true media system that combines music, videos, radio, and can even be paired with your smartphone. As of input methods, BOSS BV9976B can read CD and DVD discs, USB flash drives and even SD cards. Therefore, feel free to enjoy music from your old licensed CDs without any troubles!

Multimedia Capabilities

The first feature that catches your eye when you see this car stereo is a huge 7-inch screen that extracts and unfolds with a single push of a button. The display is based on touchscreen technology and that's why it's easy to configure the device and play videos or, for example, watch photos. The car video & music player reads most popular formats such as MP3, WMA, MP4, and many others. Also, BOSS has an FM tuner, so you can enjoy your favorite radio channels while driving. As of sound quality, this car stereo delivers the superb sound since its peak power output is 85W per channel. And an equalizer allows you to configure the sound settings in different ways. So, if you want to install powerful, high-end car speakers - this BOSS car DVD receiver is excellent. No wonder, this stereo for car supports 5 channels (rear, front, subwoofer). This excellent car video & stereo receiver also includes so-called ESP - a special system that buffers the disc and if it's interrupted, the playback will continue without lags.

Connectivity

BOSS car DVD receiver offers awesome connectivity opportunities. First of all, there's Bluetooth support, so you can connect your smartphone as well as MP3 player and stream music. Also, you can use apps like Pandora and Spotify via BOSS Bluetooth car receiver. If you are concerned about safety, you'd better use a rear camera and this car stereo system has a special port for it. Finally, you can play music from your MP3 player via AUX input. And don't forget that you have full control of the device via a handy wireless remote. The last (but not least) amazing feature of this car receiver is a steering wheel control input - you can easily use the steering wheel buttons to control the unit. It's very convenient, particularly when you're driving. Apart from comfort, the steering wheel control makes driving much safer since you don't get distracted from the road.

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BOSS AUDIO BV9976B
BOSS AUDIO BV9976B
 

Pioneer FH-X720BT

Type

Pioneer FH-X720BT is a 2-DIN car receiver, though it doesn't provide video playback. However, this is a superb sound system that can read the most widespread storage devices: CD-R, CD-RW and USB flash drives. So, you can easily play your favorite music without any problems. This model boasts a genuine Pioneer MIXTRAX technology which automatically makes mixes of tracks as if there were a DJ in your car. This technology helps you get the best of listening to music in your car or truck and that's an advantage for any real audiophile who can't live without high-quality sound.

Multimedia Capabilities

This stereo receiver looks quite awesome and all the controls are simple due to a large multi-control dial and an informative dual-line multi-segmented display. You can configure the screen settings - you can choose one of 5 colors of backlighting and 10 brightness levels. Speaking of formats this device supports, it reads the most popular of them: MP3, WAV, and WMA. This stereo receiver delivers a fantastic sound quality thanks to 5 channels (rear, front, subwoofer) and the maximum power output is pretty high - 50W per every channel (nominal output is 22W). This car audio stereo has a hands-free support - if you pair your smartphone with the device, you will be able to make calls and control your cell phone by voice commands. Don't hesitate to pick this awesome sound system if you use one of Apple gadgets - Pioneer supports iOS-based devices (they are connected via a USB cable).

Connectivity

Pioneer FH-X720BT has a built-in Bluetooth and that's why it gives you quite awesome connectivity opportunities. You can connect most of your gadgets that have Bluetooth - cell phones, tablets, MP3 players, etc. Also, there's an AUX input and you can stream any music from your old MP3 player. Just like nearly all of the best car stereo receivers, this Pioneer Bluetooth car receiver has a wireless remote which helps you configure the playback.

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Pioneer FH-X720BT
Pioneer FH-X720BT
 

BOSS AUDIO 612UA

Type

BOSS AUDIO car stereo receiver is a 1-DIN device which can be installed on nearly any car and truck. It's for audio playback only and video isn't supported - there's no screen for that. This model has no disс support, so you can't use it if you have a bunch of old music CDs. But, at the same time, this car audio stereo can read USB flash drives and SD cards and you can upload Gigabytes of the best music to them. This is a 'mech-less' device which means there are no mechanical parts (all receivers with CD/DVD support have), so it's more durable.

Multimedia Capabilities

BOSS AUDIO has a 4-line LED-backlit screen which isn't really big, but it provides all important playback information. Moreover, the screen displays ID3 Tag information which means it shows you the artist, track, and album name. If you want to listen to radio, this car audio receiver has an AM/FM tuner. The maximum power output is 200W or, in other words, 50W per channel which is a benchmark for such devices. In all, this media receiver has 4 channels (rear, front) and doesn't have a subwoofer support. However, this device is popular with common drivers who don't need the most exquisite sound quality. There's an equalizer so you can change the sound quality settings manually. There are several pre-configured settings: balance, treble, fader, and bass.

Connectivity

This is a rather simple car audio receiver and that's why it has limited connectivity opportunities. First of all, there's no Bluetooth support, so you can't use any hands-free technologies. Therefore, it's impossible to stream the music from your smartphone or tablet. Although, you can use AUX input for that. Thanks to AUX, you can quickly connect your iPod or MP3 player and enjoy the music played by BOSS car audio stereo.

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BOSS AUDIO 612UA
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