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DVD FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Basic DVD FAQ for consumers

DVD Intro

DVD Buying

DVD Start

DVD trouble

DVD players and DVD recorders give you the ability to play a variety of media including DVDs such as movies, audio music CDs, photo CDs, DVD Audio discs and more. With a home theater setup you can achieve a spectacular environment to enjoy your content.

Getting your environment setup and addressing issues which arise with hardware and operations can be confusing to first time buyers. You may find the answers to a few questions below as well as some basic terminology. 

1. How do I connect my DVD player to my TV?

First you need to determine what connections are available on both your DVD player and your television set. Your TV set must have one of the following connections in order to connect your DVD player.

  1. Component video: 3 cable (red, green, blue) connectors
  2. S-Video: 1 cable (black) 4 pin connector.
  3. Composite Video: 1 cable (yellow) connector.
  4. RF: (1 wire coaxial cable)

Rear of  DVD player (with added illustrations for clarity purposes.)

Output jacks from left to right
>>Digital Audio OUT includes orange coaxial and black optical jacks.
Choose ONE of these two connections, either one works fine, for Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. 

>>5.1 channel audio OUT jacks.
These jacks will only be present on the DVD player if it has a built-in decoder.
Audio cables (RCA) would need to be connected to the appropriate input jacks on a A/V receiver.

>>Component Video OUTPUT jacks. Red, green, blue video cables go to component video TV input jacks.

>>Composite Video OUTPUT jack. Cable goes to TV (yellow) composite video input jack.

>>S-Video OUTPUT jack. 4-pin black S-video cable goes to TV S-video input jack.

  DVD Player back panel  

Hookup instructions:  

Most current DVD players have composite video (yellow) , S-video (black 4-pin) and component video (red, green, blue) jacks on the back panel which gives you potentially three different ways to hookup your video to your TV. Your TV has to have these same three connection options in order to allow all three options. But you only need one option to achieve your video hookup requirement. Choose one of the three connection options. Component video is best if your TV has these 3 jacks, with S-video a second choice and composite video an alternative third choice if that is all you have on your TV set. 

It does not really matter which connection option you choose, any one of the three will work fine, but the video quality will be better with component video, less with composite video and S-video somewhere in between. 

Plug in the cables:
Connect a yellow tipped RCA-type video cable to each (TV to DVD player) for composite video or connect an S-video cable to each (TV to DVD player) for an S-video connection or use the three color (red, green, blue) component video connections. You want to connect the DVD OUTPUT jack to your TV INPUT jack of the same color.

composite video cable

DVD players typically come with a composite video (yellow) cable and two audio cables (red and white) for stereo sound. You can plug these 3 cables in for a composite video hookup and stereo audio hookup. See diagrams for more.

For older TVs without anything but a RF (antenna) connection, you will have to buy a RF modulator box to connect the DVD player because DVD players do not have RF coaxial type jacks. These boxes are available at local retail stores. The modulator will enable you to connect the DVD player to your TV's coaxial or cable connection; you can then view your DVD movies on Channel 3 or 4.

2. How do I connect my DVD player's audio?

After you have connected your video cable connections which lets you see the picture portion of the DVD movie, you will need to determine what audio connections your DVD player has and what type of audio connection you desire in order to hear the sound portion of the DVD. 

The digital audio
(Dolby Digital 5.1) surround sound on a DVD may require an Audio/Video receiver with the proper decoders and inputs (the receiver drives the six speakers) or if you just have a stereo (2-speakers) TV or home stereo setup, you can hookup the red and white audio cables from the DVD player analog audio output to the TV or a stereo amplifier

2-channel stereo RCA cables

You may have to setup the audio portion of the DVD player via the setup menu to specify which audio output you are using, either PCM stereo or Bit-stream digital multi-channel (5.1 surround). See connection diagrams for more. If you have a all-in-one "home theater in a box" with a DVD player and all 6 speakers included, you have less connections to worry about but these types of setups often limit your potential for the most robust audio achievable.

  • Digital Audio ? (Best sound quality). Will require a receiver with Digital audio inputs.
  • 5.1 Channel/Surround ? Provides very good quality surround sound when used with a Home theater receiver and 5 speakers plus a subwoofer. Use either coax digital audio cable usually plugged into the orange jack or optical digital audio cable (usually black) from DVD player to receiver. The receiver decodes the surround sound and drives the speakers. Be sure to select proper audio output using DVD player remote on DVD player setup menus. Select either audio PCM (stereo) or bitstream (5.1 surround).
  • Stereo Audio ? Good sound using two speakers (right and left) to produce stereo sound. Can be connected directly to the stereo television set without a receiver. The cables for this connection usually are RED and WHITE. Can also be connected to Audio/Video receiver with red and white cables.
See cable connections for more.

3. How do I access the DVD players setup menu?

Using the remote control for the DVD player, press the SETUP or MENU button. This will take you to the setup menu where you will have the following options: Language setup, Screen setup, Audio setup, and Custom setup. This menu is where you will set the DVD player to the desired setting for the previously listed categories.

4. Why is there no video when I use the DVD player?

First make sure that the DVD player is correctly connected to the Television set. Next you will want to note what you actually do see on your television screen. 

    1. Blue screen
    2. Black screen
    3. Static
    4. Screensaver

For instance, music CD?s will not produce an image on the television. Also if you have connected your dvd player to a A/V receiver you must make sure that you have connected the receiver to the television for video, and that it is set to the proper video input.  Finally you will want to make sure that you have set the TV to the correct video input as many televisions have multiple video inputs.

5. Why is the remote control not working?

If you believe that your remote is not functioning please attempt the following troubleshooting tips, 

    1. Make sure that there is a fresh set of batteries in the remote and that they are correctly lined up ?+ to +? and  ?- to -?.  
    2. Make sure that there is a clear and direct line of sight from the remote to the sensor on the player.

6. When I play a DVD movie why is the picture rolling/scrolling?

Cause: The DVD player might be set to PAL setting which is not compatible with Televisions which are NTSC.

Solution: Setup player to NTSC setting.

7. What functions can be performed with the DVD player remote?

1. POWER - Turn on/off DVD player

2. TV SYS. - Switch between NTSC/PAL

3. INFO - show information (ex. Track/Time/Audio settings)

4. A-B REPEAT - Set player to repeat track or point A to Point B

5. GOTO - Jump to specific Chapter/Scene



8. SLOW - Slow motion

9. PREV. - Previous chapter

10. PLAY/SEL.- Play or/and Select

11. F.BWD - Fast Backwards 

12. MENU - To bring up ROOT (MAIN) MENU

13. PBC - Press once DVD is recognize to go straight to Movie bypassing the Menu.


15. SUBTITLE - Set Subtitles to ON/OFF/LANGUAGE

16. ANGLE - Change angles when available

17. ZOOM - Zoom in 

18. EJECT - Eject Disc

19. SETUP - Enter Setup 


21. PAUSE/STEP - To pause dvd and Frame Advance

22. CURSOR - To move cursor on screen in Menus

23. NEXT - Next Chapter

24. F.FWD - Fast Forward

25. STOP 

26. VOLUME - Volume up and down

27. AUDIO - Use to switch audio playback (available on DVD DISC) 5.1 , or 2 channel.

28. MUTE

The parental lock is turned on or someone set the password, and we do not know what it is.

If you have not set a previous password, you can use the factory password. If you have forgotten your password that you have created, then you will need to go to the Preferences Menu inside the Set-up Menu and reset the DVD player back to Default settings. Then you can use the factory password again. See owner's manual.

When I play a dvd the picture fades in and out to a blue screen or the sound is garbled.

This most likely is the Macrovision being detected by the VCR. To correct this problem hook your DVD player directly to the TV either through the inputs (yellow, red, white connections, be sure to change your TV to it's correct video or input setting to get the picture) or by using an RF modulator, which can be purchased through a local retailer, that carries home electronics.

When we play movies we have black lines at the top and bottom of the TV screen.

This is normal; most movies (95%) are made in a widescreen format for the best possible picture on any TV. If you would like to view movies in a full screen format be sure to look for the full screen format on the label when purchasing or renting DVD's.

Why do some DVD discs pause at one point during the movie.

This issue can occur because some discs consist of two layers and the second layers access specification may be different from the first. For instance, a layer may be read from the inside of the disc to the outside or vice versa. If this reading order changes from one layer to the other it will generate a pause of a second or less, which is normal. This varies from disc to disc.

MP3 won't read disc or skips.

• Re-burn disc, as the software edition used may not be compatible with the player.
• Use new editions of the software.
• Make sure MP3 files are not encoded with a variable bit rate.

What is AFF?

AFF stands for Active Full-screen Function. It allows you to fill the television screen viewing area when using a widescreen formatted DVD. Press the AFF button on your remote control, this will eliminate black bars on the top & bottom of the TV screen when viewing movies with an aspect ratio 1.85:1 and minimize (but not eliminate) black bars on movies with a wider aspect ratio (2.35:1).

What is Progressive Scan?

Progressive Scan creates a picture with double the scan lines of traditional component video pictures and creates a sharper image. The advantages of progressive scan video output are reduced picture flickering and motion artifacts as well as a sharper image on large screens.

What is Kodak Picture Cd?

Kodak Picture CDs contain JPEG picture/photo files which you can view on a television in the comfort of your home from a CD-R! You can order a Kodak Picture CD simply by checking the box on the photo-finishing envelope when you drop off a roll of film (35mm or Advanced Photo System ? APS Color Print Film) at the time of processing. When your order is returned, you receive your prints, negatives and full roll of pictures safely stored on a Kodak Picture CD. Each Kodak Picture CD brings you the ability to share your photos with your family, friends, and/or business associates.

I cannot see a picture, it is only a black screen?

First check connections as on the instruction manual, make sure the video connection is on the output terminals as with the audio, check all pins on S-video plugs if not bent if using this cable. Alternatively press the I/P button on remote control.

On my Portable dvd player, I get no picture or it won't play?

See if the INPUT/OUTPUT select switch is set to the OUTPUT position, also check if the transit plastic cover that sits on the laser and drive motor is removed.

What is MPEG4?

MPEG-4 is an ISO/IEC standard developed by MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group), the committee that also developed the Emmy Award winning standards known as MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 (DVD adopts this standard for video application) MPEG-4 is a very efficient digital video compression standard, which can compress MPEG-2 video into about one eighth of its original size. Most video stream media is base on this technology, such as DivX, WMV, and so on.


DVD brings the standard of video picture quality to a new level. DVD?s horizontal resolution of 500 lines is 20% sharper than laser disc and twice that of VHS tape. And because DVD is an optical format, the picture quality doesn?t degrade over time or continued use. 

DVD also features a choice of aspect ratios and Dolby Digital (AC-3) stereo surround sound. 


DVD is the next generation of optical disc storage technology capable of a variety of applications. It is the same physical size of a CD, yet much more powerful, able to store video as well as audio and computer data. A single sided, single layer DVD can hold up to seven times more than a CD - roughly 9 hours of music, 133 minutes of video, or the equivalent of 3,400 floppy diskettes on a single DVD disc. 

Aspect Ratios 

Movies seen in theaters are filmed with a wider aspect ratio than analog standard televisions can display. There are several methods developed to compensate for this difference in proportions when displaying a movie on a TV. 

The most common is called "pan & scan" in which only the most important elements are tracked across the screen, leaving the periphery obscured. 

The "letterbox" method maintains the films original aspect ratio, while leaving black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. DVD also has the ability to squeeze the films original aspect ratio to fit the TV screen. This is called "amorphic" aspect ratio. DVD offers all of these aspect ratio options. 

Asset Capture 

Asset capture involves the encoding of the original source video and audio programming into DVD MPEG II format files. The video compression process compares changes from frame-to-frame and removes redundant information. For example, if the video has a static background only the moving images in the foreground require re-encoding. In high action video, a ?variable bit rate? may be used so that high action scenes are encoded at higher rates while scenes with less action are encoded at a lower bit rate. This ensures consistency in quality and provides an option to use disc space economically. 

What is a DVD? 

DVD is a Digital Video Disc. It is a complete movie on a 4.8" optical disc, like a Music CD, with CD quality sound and picture. DVD is twice as sharp as VHS tape. 

What does "CODE FREE DVD PLAYER" mean? 
A DVD player that would allow you to play all specific geographical region DVD?S. 

What does "REGION FREE DVD PLAYER" mean? Same as Code free DVD Player. 

There are six regions that DVDs are developed for. 
All World Regions Discs: 
Region 1 - USA & Canada 
Region 2 - Europe, Japan, The Middle East, North Africa Egypt, South Africa 
Region 3 - Taiwan, The Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong 
Region 4 - Mexico, South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Caribbean 
Region 5 - Russia, Eastern Europe, India, North Korea, East & West Africa 
Region 6 - China. 

DVDs store 500 lines of resolution, which is about two times better than a VHS tape. But unlike a tape or laser disk, the video is compressed using the MPEG encoding. 

How do DVDs differ from VHS? 
DVDs are better than VHS because the picture is twice as sharp and clear. There is great Audio, like Dolby Digital and DTS. DVD sound is better than the sound on Music CD's. DVDs do not have to be rewound after viewing like a VHS tape. DVDs will last longer and retain picture quality after hundreds of viewings, unlike tape. DVDs take up less space and offer a wide variety of options, unlike VHS tape movies, such as direct instant access to movie scenes and different camera angles. DVD players have fewer moving parts than a VCR and therefore should require less repairs. Now, with DVD recorders, the VCR and VHS tape are quickly becoming obsolete. 

How do you tell what region code a DVD disc is? 
The Region Code is usually specified on the back of the individual DVD packages, either with a Regional Coding logo of a globe with the region number superimposed over it, or specifically spelled out. For example, while currently-released New Line and Warner DVD titles use the globe logo & number scheme, MGM/UA titles state: "This disc has been encoded for Region 1: The United States, U.S. Territories and Canada." In the cast of Lumivision's discs, they are labeled "Available worldwide," which means that the discs contain no regional coding and will play on any player in any country. 

Can I modify my own DVD player to be Code free? 
It is possible, but unless you're an engineer, it's not recommended. Far too many people attempt to do this and end up damaging their DVD players. Also, by attempting to modify it yourself, you void any manufacturer's warranty. 

What is macrovision? 
Macrovision is a form of copy protection encoded into DVD discs that prevents people from making illegal copies. A standard DVD player contains a special Macrovision-enabled digital-analog conversion chip that is activated when a DVD is played. The activated chip applies copy protection to the analog output and causes copies made on most VCRs to be substantially degraded. 

Can I play CDs in DVD players? 
Most DVD players have the ability to play CDs. Consult the specifications on each model. 

What is RCE? 
The Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) has developed a system called RCE (Regional Code Enhancing) which will be included on almost all region 1 DVD releases. This technology was created to prevent consumers with Code free DVD players from watching DVD discs purchased in North America. From now on, most region 1 DVD discs will be including this technology. As such, you may find in the future that some DVD discs bought in the United States will not work on your Code free DVD player. Currently, there is no word on whether or not this technology will be included on other regions. 

Technical Specification 

An analog signal is a wave. 

Aspect Ratio (TV) 
The aspect ratio describes the length to height dimensions of the screen. A standard TV has an aspect ratio of 4:3, whereas a high-definition TV (HDTV) or wide-screen TV has an aspect ratio of 16:9. 

A Cell is the start of a chapter. This allows the DVD player to jump to a specific location. 

Sound and picture on a DVD are stored digitally. Converting an analog signal to digital will cause some loss of quality, but digital information can be stored, retrieved, and compressed easier and with fewer errors. 

A frame is a single still picture. A series of frames are displayed in sequence which gives the impression of motion. 

MPEG stands for Moving Picture Experts Group; this is an international standards group for the compression of moving images and sound. 

Some DVD movies allow the viewer to select different camera angles when watching a movie. 

Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) This is a digital audio output. This type of output is common on CD and DVD players. 

Sampling Frequency 
This describes the number of pieces a sound wave is broken into when converted to a digital signal. A frequency of 96kHz is equal to 96,000 samples per second, so a bigger number is better.

DVD discs look like Compact Discs. What's the difference?

DVD discs are the same diameter (120mm) and thickness (1.2mm) as a Compact Disc, but that is where the similarities end. A single DVD disc has the capability to store up to 13 times the data contained on a CD, on one side! If you factor in DVD's capability to utilize both sides of a disc for data storage, you have an information marvel that offers 26 times the power of a Compact Disc!

That enhanced capability is a tremendous enabling device. DVD will revolutionize Multimedia, information retrieval and storage and mobile navigation. DVD will create new high quality audio standards, impact learning and training videos, and bring the Cinema experience to Home Entertainment.

How long will DVD movies play before I have to turn the disc over?

At an average bit rate of 4.5Mbs, a single sided DVD disc has the playback capability of 133 minutes (2 hrs. 13 minutes) of the highest quality audio and video images. That's nearly 92% of all Hollywood titles.

In fact, a dual layer DVD disc can provide up to 4 hours of the highest quality audio and video on a single side of the disc!

Will DVD movies play on my CD player?

No, you will require a DVD player that is equipped to read the pits and lands of a DVD disc and decode the MPEG-2 data signal.

What is the digital audio output on the back of my DVD player for?

This connector outputs a digital bit stream that may be sent to an outboard D/A converter for 2 channel audio processing. More importantly, it may be connected to an audio receiver equipped with a Dolby AC-3 processor for multi-channel (Dolby Digital 5.1) audio decoding.

What are the advantages of Dolby? Digital Surround AC-3?

Dolby Digital Surround offers discrete processing of 5 independent channels ( Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround, and an additional effects channel that may be routed to a subwoofer) of audio information. Dolby Digital Surround provides the producers of movie soundtracks added flexibility and creativity in the studio that results in more realism, and a "you are there experience." Each of the 5 Audio channels is a full range (20-20khz) signal. The discrete nature of Dolby Digital Surround provides increased clarity (especially critical for dialogue) and spatial realism. With Dolby Digital Surround, audio images may be panned across the front of the room; from front to rear; from rear to front; and even diagonally.

Will DVD discs wear out, like VHS movies?

No. The picture quality of the DVD disc is consistent from the first play to the thousandth play. Plus, DVD discs will not deteriorate over time, are unaffected by magnetic fields (which can literally erase a VHS cassette) and do not require rewinding after viewing.

What is an Aspect Ratio? Why is it important?

Aspect ratio refers to the ratio of width to height of a television set. Traditional television sets have a 4:3 aspect ratio. Widescreen television sets have a 16:9 aspect ratio. Traditional television sets are almost square in appearance; widescreen displays (Plasma, LCD) are more rectangular.

The DVD defines the capability to display movies in 3 different ways:

  1. Widescreen, which provides a special "anamorphic video" signal that, when processed by a widescreen television set, fills the entire screen and delivers optimum picture quality.
  2. Pan and Scan, a version that fills the screen of traditional 4:3 television sets with an entire picture, much like watching network movies.
  3. Letterbox mode, which provides horizontal bands at the top and bottom to, in essence, create a widescreen picture in a traditional television set.

Each of the 3 display modes, if provided by the Hollywood producer, may be selected for viewing if the viewing device (player or DVD-ROM playback sub-system) is so equipped.

I do not own a Dolby Digital Surround AC-3 receiver. 
Can I still enjoy my Home Theater audio system with DVD?

Yes, every DVD player currently on the market has analog ( Left and Right ) audio outputs that you can connect to your Dolby Surround Sound, or Pro-Logic receiver. The analog audio outputs of your DVD player passes through specially encoded Dolby Surround Sound signals.

My television set has Composite and S-Video inputs. What is the best way to connect my DVD player?

DVD is a format that will provide significant picture quality advantages when connected to your television set via the S-Video connectors. Your DVD player must have S-Video output to take advantage of this capability.

Are there any other adjustments I should make to my television to take advantage of S-Video?

Yes. The color detail signal is so rich, you will find that you do not need to turn your sharpness control up when watching DVD. In fact, in many television sets, you will optimize picture quality by turning the sharpness control off!

Just how good is the DVD picture?

Based upon pixel resolution, color resolution, color detail, black level reproduction and a virtual lack of color noise, the DVD picture is nearly 3 times better than conventional VHS tape.

Is DVD picture quality better than Laserdisc?

Yes. DVD is component video, Laserdisc is composite video. The DVD picture is characterized by more color detail, and color resolution and contains significantly less NTSC picture artifacts than Laserdisc. It is generally accepted that a Laserdisc is capable of producing 400-425 horizontal lines of resolution. A DVD disc produces in the range of 480-500 horizontal lines of resolution. A single sided 4.7" (120mm) dual layer DVD disc can store up to 4 hours of the highest quality audio and video images. A 12" Laserdisc can only store 60 minutes on a single side. And DVD movies will play on your computer equipped with a DVD-ROM and appropriate MEPG decode devices. DVD is the realization of true cross-platform multimedia.

Is DVD better than DSS?

Yes. DVD is mastered as CCIR601 4:2:2 digital component video and utilizes 100% MPEG-2 data reduction. DSS, on the other hand, is 4:1:1 digital component video and features scaleable compression schemes that vary from MPEG-1 to MPEG-2. In fact, the digital component video signal of DVD has the capability to rival the best studio masters.

Do I need a Widescreen TV to play 16:9 movies?

A DVD-player can be connected to any television, but with a Widescreen TV you will get the most viewing enjoyment. With DVD-Video you can gradually build up your own Home Cinema system with widescreen TV and multichannel digital surround sound. DVD-Video supports multiple aspect ratios. Video stored on a DVD in 16:9 format is horizontally squeezed to a 4:3 (standard TV) ratio. On Wide-screen TVs, the squeezed image is enlarged by the TV to an aspect ratio of 16:9.

DVD video players output widescreen video in three different ways:

  1. Letterbox (for 4:3 screens)
  2. Pan & scan (for 4:3 screens)
  3. Anamorphic or unchanged (for wide screens)

In widescreen or letterbox mode, if a movie is wider than 16:9 (and most are), additional thin black bars will be added to the top and bottom at production time or the sides will be cropped. Video stored in 4:3 format is not changed by the player. It will appear normally on a 4:3 screen. Widescreen systems will either stretch it horizontally or add black bars to the sides.