DVD Player Basics
What is inside a DVD
basic internals of a DVD player consist of a physical drive to
rotate the disc, a laser to read the data on the disc, circuits,
usually on circuit boards, to control the total operations,
display status, and control timing and also connections, both
internal and for external (video, audio) devices such as a
What is the
best way to handle discs?
not to touch the playback (data) side of the disc. Fingerprints
and dirt can cause video and audio problems. Keep the disc clean.
Do not use any type of solvent to clean the disc. Use a moistened
soft cloth to wipe clean and a dry cloth to wipe off excess
moisture. Always wipe from the center towards the outer edge. Keep
discs away from heat, direct sunlight, and dust. Store in
protective cases away from possible damage from breakage. Keep in
a cool, dry place.
can I play?
Most DVD players today can play not only DVD
movies, but also music CDs and picture CDs. The following chart
summarizes playable discs.
||up to 8
||8 or 12
||up to 80
What should I
expect to see on the front and rear panels?
should be a power on/off switch for main power with an indicator
light on the front panel. The remote sensor and also the disc type
indicator lights should be visible. There should be STOP/PLAY and
OPEN/CLOSE (door/tray) buttons and of course also in front is the
door for inserting the disc. On the rear panel, there should be
the audio and video connections. Most players have composite video
and analog audio RCA type connectors for signal delivery to an
analog television. Older TVs without composite connections need a
modulator box to convert the signal to an antenna type
connection. Most DVD players today also have an S-Video connection
which yields better video than composite video and requires a
television with an S-Video connection. The best video connection
today (other than digital) is component video. Many, if not most,
DVD players today have the three component video connections for
output to a television with component video. For the audio (sound)
portion of the signal from the DVD player, there can be up to
three types of connections on the rear panel. First there is the
RCA type left and right analog stereo connections which are
usually white and red color coded. For a TV with only MONO sound,
connect only the white cable. Second, for digital stereo sound,
you need to see a orange color coded RCA type connection and
finally for digital surround sound (may or may not be available on
the disc), you should see a OPTICAL output on the rear panel. This
connection appears small and is usually black.
What is on
the remote control?
should be able to control the PLAY function and also STOP. There
should be a FAST FORWARD and REVERSE. There should be a MENU
and/or SETUP function for user selectable options. There should be
a number pad for TRACK selection. You should have a volume control
and a remote door OPEN/CLOSE function. Additionally there may be
functions for ZOOM, slow motion, MUTE, camera angle, subtitles,
shuffle play and more.
How do I
connect the DVD player?
the most basic level, you need a video connection and a audio
connection from the DVD player to a television. The video
connection can consist of a single cable from the yellow RCA type
connection on the rear of the DVD player to the yellow RCA type
connection on the TV. This cable
connection allows the video portion from the disc to get to
the TV for display. The audio
connection can consist of a single cable (for MONO sound) from
the white RCA type connection on the rear of the DVD player to the
white RCA type connection on the TV. For stereo TVs you will also
connect the red colored RCA type connector from the DVD player
rear panel to the television. That's it!
the yellow video connection, you can use an S-video cable
connection (black) or you can use instead a 3 cable component
video connection (red, blue, green). Component video separates out
the brightness and color signals so they can be processed
independently, yielding a better picture than composite or
s-video. The audio portion from the DVD may consist of stereo (2
channel) or digital multi-channel sound. Dolby digital or DTS
multi-channel sound has to be decoded as it is read from the disc.
Therefore you may have to use a DVD player with a decoder and/or
use a separate amplifier/decoder such as a home theater receiver
in order to benefit from the available audio source. The
connection would be from the audio (digital) output on the rear
panel of the DVD player to a audio receiver input so that the
receiver can send the multi-channel audio to the proper speakers
(also connected to the receiver). Currently there could be as many
as 5 or 6 channel sound available on the DVD. You may have to
select thru your MENU or SETUP option on the DVD player, the
proper audio setting so the surround sound is
How do I play
must select on your TV, the video connection which your DVD player
is connected to by (usually) pressing a button on your TV remote
such as VIDEO or LINE1 or LINE2 depending on your television set.
Some sets will automatically select the source that is connected.
Once the proper source is selected and the disc is inserted into the
player, press PLAY/ENTER on the DVD remote. In the case of a audio
CD, you can select a certain track by using the number keys. For
slow motion playback press SLOW. To resume normal speed, press PLAY.
A ZOOM button will allow you to see the movie in widescreen format
or a full screen format. If your TV is a 4:3 aspect ratio TV, you
may prefer to see the movie in full screen mode. This will eliminate
the black bars but will also eliminate part of the scene.
How do I locate specific chapters or tracks on the
Using the remote control, you can go to specific points
on the disc. For a DVD, push TITLES or MENU depending on your
particular player. Then select the title or scene selection of
interest. Usually the MENU option will offer other choices such as
LANGUAGE selection or special features. You may have a RESUME button
on the remote to start playing at the selected point. Other ways to
select scenes may include a GOTO button and SKIP button to play from
a selected point on the disc.
I display subtitles?
If the disc you are playing has
subtitles available, use the on-screen menu to select the language
you prefer. Remember not to confuse subtitles with the on-screen
display language or the audio track language. The audio track
language selection is the dialog your hear while playing the movie,
while the subtitle is what you see in text at the bottom of the
screen. These are two different language selections while the OSD
language is also separate.
How do I display JPEG
If your DVD player has JPEG capability, you can
insert a disc with images such as a Kodak picture CD and see a
slideshow of pictures on your TV. Pictures can be rotated and zoomed
in and out. Thumbnail images may also be available for quick
How do I select the proper audio
The DVD disc audio recorded tracks (source)
determine what is available for sound. Some movies may only offer
stereo analog sound while the newer discs offer multi-channel
digital surround sound. You may need to setup thru your on-screen
menu, the proper audio setting for individual discs. The sound
settings for CDs and MP3 audio will be digital and also digital if
the movie has Dolby Digital sound. Read more about DVD
How do I use
the setup menu?
User selectable options on the on-screen
menu may include languages, connections, audio settings, ratings,
passwords and more depending on your particular DVD player. Using
the remote control, press SETUP or MENU and then using the arrow
keys, select up, down, right, left and ENTER to choose your
settings. Usually pressing MENU again or EXIT or RESUME locks in
What do I do
if I have trouble?
Typical problems include picture and
sound, power, settings, damage and operator error. Most trouble is
due to the following:
Improper connections from DVD player to display device or
improper setup. This may involve wrong cable connections. A damaged
or scratched disc can cause distortion. An improper placed disc
(upside down or misaligned in the tray) can cause no picture and
play problems. Settings such as parental lock or passwords can
prevent playback. Software incompatibilities can cause playback
problems. Replace the batteries in the remote if control does not
work. Call manufacturer customer service for player repair or return
to service dept. if you purchased a service contract at the
retailer. See this troubleshooting
guide for more