How to Troubleshoot a DVD Player

by Stacey Anderson

    The popcorn is popped, the family is gathered around the TV – and the DVD player refuses to work. High hourly rates for technical service can be prohibitive, and who wants to wait for an appointment? With many families installing home theater systems, learning to troubleshoot the related equipment becomes essential. The DVD player is the central station from which the audio and video feeds flow. Remembering this, and following some basic troubleshooting techniques, you may be able to rescue the family movie night.

    Step 1

    Power off the DVD player. Unplug it for 10 seconds, then plug it back in to restore power and turn it back on. The DVD player is a small computer, and sometimes it needs to be rebooted.

    Step 2

    Leave the power on and the tray open for a few hours to dry out the device. If the DVD player was stored in a humid environment, the excess moisture can cause the disc to skip.

    Step 3

    Choose the DVD “Audio Setup” menu. If the soundtrack is set to DTS, and you are using analog stereo, the sound will not work. Try changing the audio to Dolby Digital 5.1.

    Step 4

    Switch to an HDMI cable for your audio and video output. An HDMI cable replaces the old RCA yellow, white and red connectors, and provides superior sound and video quality.

    Step 5

    Contact your manufacturer to see if the player has a firmware upgrade. If bugs appear after the release of a device, the manufacturer will release a DVD containing a firmware upgrade to fix these bugs. Generally, when inserted the firmware DVD displays an easy-to-follow menu for performing the upgrade.


    • If the disc is skipping, clean the surface of DVDs with a liquid disc cleaner and a soft cloth. Always wipe from the center outward, as if tracing the spokes of a wheel.


    • Never turn off the power to a DVD player that is performing a firmware upgrade. Doing so could irreparably harm the device.

    Required Items

    • Manufacturer firmware update DVD
    • HDMI cable
    • DVD cleaning solution
    • Soft cloth

    About the Author

    Stacey Anderson began writing in 1989. She published articles in “Teratology,” “Canadian Journal of Public Health” and the "Canadian Medical Association Journal” during her time in medical genetics studying birth defects. She has an interest in psychology, senior health and maternal and child health. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology with a minor in biology from the University of Calgary.

    Photo Credits

    • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images