Find out why your burned DVDs won’t play

It’s incredibly frustrating when burned DVDs won’t play. You’ve burned data to disc and put it in your DVD player only to see an error or find that nothing works.

There can be several reasons why a recorded DVD cannot be played. Below is a checklist that can help you figure out why it’s not working so you can repair the drive and avoid the problem in the future.

If none of these tips work or you’ve verified that your hardware isn’t the problem, try re-burning the DVD to a brand new disc.

What type of DVD disc are you using?

There are several types of DVDs that are used for certain reasons, such as DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R, DVD-RAM, and even double-sided, double-layer DVDs. Also, some DVD players and DVD recorders only accept certain types of discs.

Use our DVD Buyer’s Guide to make sure you’re using the right type of DVD for burning, but also check your DVD player’s manual (you can usually find it online) to see what types of discs it supports.

Are you really “burning” the DVD?

Many DVD players do not support reading video files from a disc as if it were a flash drive or other storage device, but instead require that the videos be burned to the disc. There is a special process that must take place for the files to exist in a format readable by a DVD player.

This means you can’t just copy an MP4 or AVI file directly onto the disc, put it in your DVD player and expect the video to play. Some televisions support this type of playback through connected USB devices, but not through DVDs.

Freemake Video Converter is an example of a free application that can burn such video files directly to a DVD, and many others exist as well.

You also need to have a DVD burner connected to your computer for it to work.

Is your DVD player compatible with home DVDs?

If the burned DVD works fine on a computer but won’t play on the DVD player, the problem may be with the DVD (the DVD player may not be able to read that type of disc or data format) or with the DVD itself. DVD Player.

If you purchased your DVD player within the last two years, you should be able to use it to play recorded DVDs on your home computer. However, older DVD players won’t necessarily recognize and play home-recorded DVDs.

One thing that works for some people, depending on the DVD player you have, is to burn the DVD using an older format than the player supports. There are some DVD burning software that support it, but others don’t.

Maybe DVD labeling is getting in the way

Avoid sticky DVD labels! They are marketed for labeling DVDs, but in many cases, they will prevent an otherwise fine DVD from playing.

Instead, use a permanent marker, inkjet printer, or Lightscribe DVD burner to put titles and labels on the disc.

Scratches on the DVD can prevent playback

As with CDs, scratches and dust can prevent DVDs from playing properly. Clean your DVD and see if it will play.

You can also try running the DVD through a disc repair kit to help fix skipping or skipping DVDs due to scratches.

To prevent scratches on your DVDs, be sure to always store them in a properly closed case, or at least place them label-side down (disc-side up).

Try a slower DVD burn speed

When you burn a DVD, you will have the option to choose the burning speed (2X, 4X, 8X, etc.). The slower the recording, the more reliable the drive. In fact, some DVD players won’t even play discs recorded at speeds greater than 4X.

If you suspect this may be the cause, burn the DVD again at a lower speed and see if that resolves the playback problem.

Maybe the disc is using the wrong DVD format

DVDs are not universal; what is played in the United States will not be played everywhere in the world. There is a possibility that your DVD is formatted for viewing in Europe or encoded for some other region of the world.

North American DVD players are designed for NTSC discs formatted for region 1 or 0.

Could be a bad burn

Sometimes you get a bad result when burning a DVD. It could be the drive, your computer, a speck of dust, etc.

Learn how to avoid DVD burning errors.