Why does my DVD player prefer old and battered discs?

I know all the cool kids these days watch things online nowadays.

But I’m an old fart who still has a DVD player. Hell, I don’t even know how to record TV shows since my VCR stopped working a few years back…

I bought the first two series of “Game of Thrones” brand-new on DVD around six months ago. I still haven’t managed to get past the first couple of episodes of season two, because the discs take around 50 tries to load.

I get a “disc not found” error message at least 98% of the time. So no matter how keen I am to watch the next episode, I usually just give up.

I bought a (brand-new) disc of “LA Confidential” that hasn’t loaded even once, despite the fact that I must have put it into my DVD player around 180 times. It also doesn’t work on my housemates 7yo DVD player.

And yet my old battered DVDs of “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Collateral” play first time, every time on both machines.

The funny thing is, I’d never had any problem until the day I bought the “Game of Thrones” discs at a local store.

While I was there I thought I’d buy one of those $5 laser lens cleaning discs. What could be the harm, right? It’s like putting in fresh motor oil, I thought.

But ever since I put that accursed disc in, I can only play my old dilapidated DVDs, some of which are ex-rentals, FFS.

I just tested this again a few seconds ago. The ex-rental bargain-bin disc that I bought for $3 dollars yesterday worked first time after I’d tried putting my “new” GoT disc into the player 20 times without success.

Do they put an extra level of plastic on them these days that my 2-3 year old DVD player can’t hope to penetrate with its puny laser?

You’re not buying Blu-rays instead of regular DVDs by any chance, are you?

The only other possibility I can think of is that, by some combination of sheer coincidence and quality control not being what it used to be, you’ve gotten more than your share of defective discs.

Blu-ray was my first thought, too.

The disc “cleaning” thing could easily make things worse.

Another source of problems is copy protection weirdness on some newer discs. Some studios really bend the rules on DVD layout, putting in all sorts of strange mock titles and such to fool computer ripping software but hopefully not messing up DVD players. Big emphasis on the “hopefully”. (And of course the computer ripping software people very quickly come out with a patch so it’s all a waste of time.) Disney is notorious for having discs highly incompatible with a lot of players.

If this is the case: 1. Return the disc for a refund as unplayable. 2. Or update the firmware of your player if the manufacturer has made one available. The later of course requires the player to be working well enough to read the new firmware disc. Which might not be the case for the OP.

Try Googling the name of the disc and the symptom.

Given your OP I take it you have a rather old DVD player. The first generation players were notorious for not playing (or even loading) certain discs. DVD recordable technology was being developed & released for PCs at about the same time, as such the various disc standards were still being ‘tweaked’.

Try your discs in a friend’s newer DVD player. If they play ok just go out and buy a new player (non-Blu-ray ones are dirt cheap) and throw the old one in the garbage. If you have a flatscreen HDTV the newer DVD players (that’s still DVD, NOT Blu-ray) have ‘upconverters’ which will fudge the picture into an HDMI output for them. Easier to connect, and the picture does look a little better.

Thanks for all the answers.

The “LA Confidential” disc is indeed, now that I look at it, a Blu-ray. Silly me.

But the “Game of Thrones” discs are DVDs, and they do play. It just takes many insertions to get them to work on my 3yo DVD player. It appears that I just got some dodgy GoT discs.

Oh well, live and learn. Thanks again, everyone.