Dealing CD, DVD, and VCR Player Problems

CD, DVD, and VCR players let you know right away when they need attention. Although they're relatively trouble-free, when these electronic devices get dirty, they won’t play at all or the picture on the television screen looks fuzzy. On rare occasions, a power cord, belt, or tray must be replaced. Here are a few quick fixes:

  • If the device doesn’t work, make sure that the power cord is plugged in and that the fuse or circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. If devices are also plugged into a remote power strip that has a circuit breaker, check the reset control.

  • Look at the connections between the device and the speakers or television set. Then inspect the cord and on-off switch for damage and if you see any, replace them.

  • If the DVD player gives you a picture but you can’t hear anything, check connections and settings on your TV set.

  • If the disc skips or sounds scratchy, it needs to be cleaned.

  • If the slide-out tray doesn’t work, clean the disc. Then get out your owner’s manual and follow instructions. Replacement parts are usually available from the manufacturer or at an electronics center. If you have a multi-disc player, see if one of the discs is jammed. If the tray attempts to eject but doesn’t, remove the cover and see that the disc is in place and not blocking the tray.

If you’re getting constant dirty-disc errors on your DVD player, put in a different disc. If that one works, the first disc is the problem. Clean it with a soft, lint-free cloth slightly dampened with a few drops of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. You particularly need to clean the disc if you borrowed it from a library or video store. They don’t have time to inspect each disc when it’s returned and clean it if needed.

If the drive still doesn’t work, you may have a faulty player or the drive may need cleaning. Always try cleaning the disc first before you focus on the player.

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