Portable DVD Player Troubleshooting FAQ

woman using portable DVD player

Portable DVD players are loved by a number of people for a wide variety of reasons. Some people love them for their seemingly magical ability to distract children. Conversely, others love them because they’re able to distract themselves. No matter the cause of your love, when your portable DVD player stops working, it’s a pain. So today, we’re answering questions related to troubleshooting; why does my portable DVD player say no disc? And why does it keep cutting out? Let’s get going!

Today’s Topics Include:

  1. Why Does My Portable DVD Player Say No Disc?
  2. How Do You Reset a Portable DVD Player?
  3. Why is My Portable DVD Player’s Screen Black?

In short, yes – portable DVD players can play CDs more often than not, but as with all things tech, you’ll need to read the specs to be sure.

Now there are a lot of “basics” type questions to answer today, and there’s really no sense in wasting time. Let’s hop right in, shall we?

Troubleshooting Basics

Now, without further ado, let’s answer the most common questions related to troubleshooting a failed/failing portable DVD player.

Why Does My Portable DVD Player Say No Disc?

portable DVD player no disc

And this is where we get to the most common troubleshooting question for portable DVD players. If you’ve ever gotten a mysterious error code minutes after your device was working perfectly, you know the struggle.

So why does your portable DVD player say “no disc?” Surprise! That answer varies! (I know, I know – it’s not great to read that over and over, but it is the truth.)

There are a few potential reasons for a “no disc” error code:

  • There is no disc in the player. (This is the obvious one that I’m assuming you’ve already ruled out.)
  • The disc is inserted improperly. (Check to see if your disc is upside down or not resting entirely in place.)
  • You’re using an unsupported format of disc. (Look if you accidentally put a Blu-Ray disc in a regular DVD player.)
    • Additionally, it’s worth checking to see if you used a burnt disc. If so, many more modern DVD players have DRM capabilities, meaning they can tell if you’re using a burnt disc. This will cause the player to simply… not play what you put in.

If your portable DVD player says no disc, be sure to check that the disc is a supported format, properly inserted and that it’s, you know, actually in the player.

How Do You Reset a Portable DVD Player?

This is one of the most common troubleshooting questions for one reason – pretty much every issue you’ll find with portable DVD players can be resolved by a hard reset. The issue, though, is that this process varies by manufacturer. Luckily, there are a few key steps to keep in mind:

For Sony Players:

  • Turn on your TV and DVD player.
    • Make sure the player is empty and the TV is on the proper channel.
  • Select the “setup” icon using the up/down arrows on your remote and hit “enter.”
  • Select “reset” and “yes/confirm,” followed by “enter.”
  • Your Sony DVD player is now reset.

For other brands:

You have two options here. First, look at the owner’s manual, or second, guess! Most brands either have a reset button in the settings menu, while others program it so that a combination of simultaneously holding the power and volume buttons will reset the device. At the end of the day, I can give general guidance here, but it boils down to your specific device’s design – so I can only do so much.

Why is My Portable DVD Player’s Screen Black?

portable dvd player ribbon cable

There are two common causes for a blank or black LCD screen on a DVD player:

  • Ribbon Cable: This is the little cable inside your player (pictured above, often rainbow coloured) that connects the processor, memory, and the actual DVD/CD reader. If this fails, it’s possible to replace it, assuming you can find the right one. Generally, all that’s needed is a little bump to ensure it’s snug in the port. Luckily, ribbon cables are pretty affordable.
  • Capacitor or Resistor Has Failed: This is the less-optimal possibility. If a capacitor or resistor has failed (likely due to being left on too long or from a hard impact), you’ll need a new player. Ultimately, this is because the cost of replacing either of these parts, once labour is included, is more than just about any player you’ll find on the market.


No matter your portable DVD player-related question, this article should have answered it. We covered a few common questions today related to troubleshooting. Whether you need to reset a portable DVD player or figure out why your portable DVD player says no disc, we’ve got you covered!