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How to Troubleshoot a DVD Player

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011

Here's an unpleasant scenario - You are at home, cozied up on the couch with someone special, about to watch a DVD. You press "Play," only to find your DVD player unresponsive. Try fixing it with some quick and easy troubleshooting tips and avoid a night of boring reruns.

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    Slow and Low

    If your DVD player starts to slow down just a few minutes into the movie and the audio becomes so low you can just barely hear it, if at all, try this troubleshooting step. Shut down the DVD player and unplug it from the television (or cable/satellite receiver). Disconnect the DVD player's power connection as well. Leave the DVD player completely unplugged in this manner for at least thirty seconds. Plug it back into the television and then plug it into the wall. Turn the DVD player back on. If this fixes the problem, it may have been a "soft code" issue. Disconnecting and reconnecting the DVD player will reset these codes and may resolve the issue. If it happens again, or if this fix does not work at all, it is time to buy a new DVD player. The repair for this type of problem would probably cost more than a new machine.

    Incidentally, power cycling a DVD player in this manner can fix a number of quirky problems. Try it before attempting more difficult troubleshooting and repairs.

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    Bad Connection?

    Another troubleshooting step to try on a DVD player with audio or video problems is to check all physical connections. It may be a simple case of the power cord or AV connectors coming loose or not being plugged in at all. Sometimes you can fix a DVD player by making the connection a bit more snug. Also, make sure the connections are in all the correct ports. An AV connector plugged into the wrong jack can cause black and white video or loss of audio. If you have another DVD player or other device with the same type of connections, switch out the power cord if possible as well as the AV or other connections. Replacing a frayed or broken cord might be the only type of repair you need.

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    Check the Remote

    If the DVD player is not responsive to the remote, make sure you troubleshoot the remote control first. You might be able to fix your "broken" DVD player by simply replacing the batteries! If fresh batteries do not fix the issue, check that a button on the remote is not permanently 'stuck' (pressed in) or that nothing is blocking the signal from the DVD player to the remote. If the DVD player is pushed back into the entertainment center, for example, it may not have a clear signal.

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    Verify Settings

    DVD player menus and settings vary from brand to brand and model to model. However, troubleshooting any settings on your DVD player might be an easy fix. Check to be sure that the right television settings are selected, such as "Wide Screen," and verify that the correct television channel is entered. While you are at it, troubleshoot by verifying the TV settings as well. Your television may require you to select a certain input or mode option, or you may have the TV tuned to the wrong channel for the DVD player. Refer to your TV and DVD player's instruction manual. (If you didn't keep the manuals when you purchased the TV and DVD player, Google the brand with the word "manual" to find an online version.)

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    Check for Updates

    Troubleshoot by checking for service packs. You have probably updated your computer before, but have you ever thought about updating your DVD player? Many newer DVD player manufacturers offer firmware updates that can be downloaded onto your computer and burned onto a DVD. Once you have burned the update, all you have to do is pop it into the DVD player and follow any on-screen instructions. The update will include fixes and patches that might repair an issue you are experiencing. Check the DVD player's manufacturer's website to see if updates are available.

    If your troubleshooting does not fix the issue you are having with your DVD player, or if you have decided it is simply easier to purchase a new DVD player, read Blu-Ray vs. HD DVD to help you decide what type of DVD player you should buy next.