My DVD Won't Play

by Linda Donahue
dvd image by Tatu from

When a DVD won't play, it can be the fault of the player or the disc. Initial troubleshooting can be done easiest with two DVDs and two players to isolate the problem. However, sometimes (especially when dealing with an older machine) the player simply cannot read a disc that a newer machine can. This can be due to wear on the disc or because the disc wasn't as well mastered when it was manufactured. In that instance, all you can do is acquire a new disc.

Clean the Disc

Step 1

Dampen a soft cloth or paper towel.

Step 2

Wipe the playing side of the disc with the damp cloth/paper towel. Wipe from the inside ring out to the edge in straight wipes. Do not wipe in a circular motion.

Dry the disc with the same wiping manner. Now try playing the disc.

Test the Disc and Machine

Step 1

Play the disc in a different machine. If the disc plays in another player, then the problem is either with the first machine or the first machine is too sensitive to a disc that is not well-mastered.

Step 2

Check the disc for scratches if the disc still won't play. Use disc repair products available at most electronic stores. These products are just wiped on then wiped off.

Test the first DVD player by inserting a different disc. If it plays this disc but not the first, then the problem is again with the first disc. If it does not play another disc, the problem is likely with the player or its connections.

Troubleshoot DVD & TV Connections

Step 1

Unplug the cables connecting the DVD player to the television.

Step 2

Replug the cables and make sure the connections are tight. Make sure you have the DVD output cables going to the television input jacks. Note which input jacks you are using as your television may have more than one input source. (Each jack labeled input is a different input source.) Make sure your DVD player and television have power.

Step 3

Turn on your television. Use the button usually marked "input" on your television remote and scroll through the input menu selections to select the correct input source. Remember, each input jack is a different source. How the sources are listed will vary from one television brand to another. Your DVD may have been playing, but if your television is set to another input, you wouldn't see the DVD picture.

Press play and any other DVD operation at the DVD machine itself to eliminate the DVD remote as a problem.

Last Resorts

Step 1

Buy a DVD laser lens cleaner disc. These products are available online and at electronic stores.

Step 2

Insert the lens cleaner disc and press play. Let the machine run as long as the product instructions tell you do so.

Step 3

Further clean your DVD player by using a can of air duster to blow out accumulated dust in the vent areas.

Buy a new DVD player if all else fails.


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