Why Won't My Burned DVDs Play?

Laptop with open dvd drive in blue light
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It’s incredibly frustrating when burned DVDs don’t play. You’ve videotaped your movie, edited it, and burned it onto a DVD—or tried to anyway… But when you pop the disk in your DVD player, it won’t play.

This checklist can help you figure out why your burned DVDs won’t play so that you can fix the disks and prevent the problem in the future.

Disk Type

There are multiple types of DVDs, and certain DVD players and burners will only accept certain types of disks.

Use the DVD Buyer's Guide to check that you are using the correct type of DVD.

Your DVD Player

If you bought your DVD player within the past couple years, you should be able to use it to play DVDs burned on your home computer. However, older DVD players won’t necessarily recognize and play home-burned DVDs.

DVD Labeling

Avoid those stick-on 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 a Lightscribe DVD writer to put titles and labels on the disk.


Just like with CDs, scratches and dust can impede the proper playing of DVDs. Clean your DVD and see if it will play. If not, try burning a new copy of the disk.

Burn Speed

When you burn a DVD, you’re given the option of burn speed (2X, 4X, 8X etc). The slower the burn, the more reliable the disk will be. In fact, some DVD players won’t even play disks burned at speeds greater than 4X.

DVD Format

DVDs aren’t universal; what plays in the US won’t play everywhere else in the world. There’s a chance your DVD is formatted for European viewing or coded for some other global region.

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

Bad Burn

Sometimes you just get a bad burn.

Could be the disk, could be your computer, could be a speck of dust. Learn how to avoid DVD burning errors.