Q. I think Blu-ray discs have a better picture than streaming. By far! But I sometimes get error messages when I put a disc in or it might eject for no reason at all. Do you know why this happens and how it can be fixed, if it can? Loyal reader. — Burke, New Bern, North Carolina.
Thank, Burke. I agree that Blu-ray, whether it’s a high-def or 4K version, offers a better picture than streaming. But I also agree that, like streaming, Blu-ray can offer occasional technical challenges.
If you are having trouble playing a disc, here are four things you can try to resolve your problem:
1. Make sure the disc is compatible with your player.
Some older Blu-ray players — particularly some units manufactured several years ago — can not play some new releases. Not many, but there are a few. 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.
2. Clean the disc.
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. 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.
3. Clean the player.
Still having problems? Wipe off the tray of the player with a soft cloth and try again. Dust can accumulate in your player faster than you think so cleaning the tray every month or so is a good idea.
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.
Burke, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann