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Why Your DVD & Blu-ray Disc Won’t Play

Q. I love watching Blu-ray movies. The picture is just awesome! But sometimes when I put in the disc, a message on screen says ‘no disc” or ‘disc error.’ Is there anything I can do to eliminate this? — Ellie, Boise, Idaho.

For starters, make sure the disc is compatible with your player. Some older models — particularly some units manufactured several years ago — can not play some new releases. Not many, but there are a few.

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If you think this is an issue, you might try downloading the player’s latest firmware to see if there’s an upgrade that can resolve any compatibility problem. Check with your player’s manual to learn how to download the firmware; by the way, you’ll need the player connected to the Internet to do the download.

One other compatibility issue: Blu-ray players manufactured in the U.S. usually can not play discs made outside the U.S.

But if compatibility doesn’t seem to be the problem, take the disc out of the player and wipe it off with a soft cloth. You would be surprised at how just a small amount of dust can cause your disc not to play. (This is also true for DVDs that won’t play.)

If that doesn’t do the trick, look the disc over to make sure there are no cracks or indentations. You think dust can cause a problem, wait until you see what can happen if there’s a crack in the disc. (Again, also true for both DVDs and Blu-rays.)

Still having problems? Wipe off the tray of the player with a soft cloth and try again.

If you’re still unable to play the disc, there’s always the method of last resort with any technology product — re-set your player. Unplug it and keep it unplugged for about 20 seconds and then plug it back in.

If the disc still won’t play after that — and your player will play most every other movie in your library — there could be a problem with the disc. I would suggest returning it and getting a new copy.

One last note: Some players have Parental Control features which can prevent you from playing a disc that exceeds the age limit set in the feature. So make sure your Parental Control option is off when you play a movie rated PG or higher.

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Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann

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About TV Answer Man (1738 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

2 Comments on Why Your DVD & Blu-ray Disc Won’t Play

  1. Sometimes an entire batch or run of a particular Blu-ray is defective. It’s happened in the past and the mfr has had to do a recall. It’s extremely rare & usually more of defect with the soundtrack or sync & the like, but it could affect playing the disc in theory. Also eventually your BD player’s mfgr will stop supporting it with updates, which are required to keep up with the constant movie studios adding new copy protection codes to discs. Or the mfgr goes out of business altogether, like Oppo just did.

    I don’t own or have experience with the new 4K UHD discs/players. They may or may not have similar issues.

  2. So I’m watching Gilmore Girls DVD’s on my PlayStation Pro 4… The first season played fine, the second season had 1 disc that wouldn’t play, there were no visible marks on it, but I figured it must have an issue. I’m on Season 3 now and 2 discs are now having issues, and the DVDs are in perfect condition! This is my 10th time watching these DVDs. This is the only time I have ever had a problem. I even tried playing the problem disc in my PlayStation 3 with no luck. There might be a new update, but they were recently updated automatically a couple weeks ago before we moved into our new home. We are living in an area without an option for good internet, because of living in a rural area, so no internet right now… hence the watching of DVDs! Do you really think an update is really the problem when I’ve watched these DVDs on older updates before, and in the last couple weeks there might be an update for my PlayStation 3 and 4 that would effect my DVDs from 2006?

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