"Cannot Play Disc" message

I’m having a Sony MHC-GN88D model DVD Hi-Fi System. It is almost a year old. For the past one week i’m not able to play any DVD in my system. But It plays VCDs :confused:
The DVDs which played a month back does not play. After “Reading” the disc for around 30-60 secs. it displays a “Cannot Play Disc” error message. I tried using a DVD Lens cleaner too, but yet the same result.
What might be the problem ? In case of Laser Lens how much will a new replacement cost.
Could someone help me out of this problem… :bow:

With Thanks & Rgds

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

Looks like either the laser lens is rather dirty, there is something wrong with the wavelength of the laser or the laser beam intensity is too weak. As you say your drive is under a year old, it will be worth checking if it is under warranty and getting it serviced if so. Otherwise, try my following tips:

In the first case, this would likely be caused by a rather dusty environment or dirty disc being played at some previous stage. CDs are easier to read than DVDs due to their larger pit size and thus may be the reason why CDs play fine. Then again, as you ran a lens cleaner several times in the drive, this may not be the issue after all. :confused: On the other hand, I have seen an issue before with an Awia Hi-Fi system where a CD lens cleaner did not help improve playback performance, but cleaning the laser with a Q-tip (cotton tipped stick) and laser lens cleaning fluid done the trick :wink:

I have seen the second case with the wavelength being off in an old Pioneer 103 DVD-R recorder. It could read and write CDs, but rejected DVDs. CD’s can be read with longer wavelengths than DVD’s and explains the reason why some early DVD players could not read CD-R’s. I made a few adjustments to the screw on the Pioneer drive’s recording head until it could detect, read and write DVD-R’s. The owner of this drive was happy as he got it free due to it being out of warrenty and the original owner ready to scrap it. :stuck_out_tongue:

In the third case, the laser may not be functioning properly, i.e. giving off a unusually weak beam. This may be strong enough to read CD’s, but not DVD’s. Unfortunately in this case it means a new laser unit, which can be more costly than a new DVD player :confused:

Dear Seanbyrne,
Thanks for the info, Yeah you are right, the home theater is pretty much under a dusty environment. Should take care of that from now on… The player cost was Rs 31500 /-(comes around US $684). This was my first huge investment i had made. Thats the reason for my worries.
There is no warranty for the set as it was an imported one. I could try cleaning the lens as you had suggested using a cotton bud.
One more doubt is that whether playing recorded VCD’s in a DVD player will degrade the quality of the lens. Because some of my friends said that. But my question is that in case thats the issue, how is it possible because it does not have any mechanical interaction & its plain laser which does the reading.
Could u please guide me in that rgds. whether playing such VCD’s will lead to his situation ?

With Thanks & Rgds

Playing Video CDs, including recordable discs or another other CD should not have any worse effect on the laser or lens than playing standard DVDs. However, there are two exceptions which also applies with DVD:

  1. If the disc is dirty or dusty, this could lead to dust building on the surface of the lens or even around it since the lens must easily move up & down rapidly at the rotational speed of the disc. In most cases I seen, cleaning the lens surface off with a cotton tip (with lens cleaning fluid if available) and lightly blowing out around the lens gets it going again. :wink:

  2. If the disc is heavy damaged beyond readability or is a non standard disc, I have seen the case where the laser lens tries focusing too close on the disc and ends up hitting it :eek: However, if this were to happen, you would hear the odd ‘tapping’ sound like the sound of striking a pencil against a CD.

Another possiblity could the the over-use of an old cleaning CD where extensive dirt built up on its brushes ends up smearing the surface of the lens, much like using a dirty cloth to clean the window.

Either way, before taking it in for repair, I would recommend taking the over off and try cleaning the laser lens (if it is easily accessible). I know here in Ireland, anyone I heard of taking their Hi-Fi in for repair due to a faulty CD player ended up forking out €80 or more on the repair which included a replacement laser unit. :confused:

I am fairly new to burning cd/dvd media and would like to know if you could recommend a cleaning product or method of cleaning this delicate media? Thank you for your help.

From my experience, generally CDs and DVDs don’t pick up much dust unless left out in the open and with this, a light brushing of a dry tissue is enough to clear off dust. :wink:

When it comes to fingerprints or anything else such as dried up droplets of coffee, etc. I would recommend using cleaning wipes that are designed for cleaning discs. Generally screen cleaning wipes that are designed for TFT displays and scanners will also work fine. I’m fairly sure lens cleaning pray for glasses will also work well, however I would recommend testing on a bad or unwanted disc, such as an AOL disc, just to make sure that no haze is left after cleaning.

Stay away from other types of cleaning products such as window cleaner as I destroyed the plastic lens of a flashlight using household Windows glass cleaning spray, which shows how strong the chemicals in some of these products are. :eek:

If you get scratches on recordable discs, I would strongly recommend copying the contents onto another disc if you can still fully read the disc, particularly when it comes to rewritable media as it generally works out much cheaper using another disc than it does trying to repair the scratches. However, if you find that the scratches are bad to the point where the disc is unreadable or if you have scratches on an original, just be careful with what product you choose to ‘eliminate’ the scratches. Cheap scratch-repair kits typically use an abrasive liquid to ‘buff’ out the scratch and I have only used such a product once and ended up ruining the disc. In fact, from what I have heard, these are no more effective than using toothpaste (also slightly abrasive) to buff out the scratch. The better products actually fill in the scratches. However, as these often cost two to three times the price of the disc you may be trying to repair :doh:, it would be better to buy a replacement disc unless you have got a lot of scratched discs to repair. :stuck_out_tongue:

Finally, if you are looking to clean out the laser lens in your player or PC drive, I would recommend trying a wet-dry based cleaning disc without any fluid first. If this does not help, then test the cleaning fluid in the kit to see if it leaves any residue – put a drop on the shiny side of an unwanted disc, let it dry up and if it leaves no residue behind, you can try this to clean the lens. Otherwise if the fluid leaves a residue when it dries, get hold of a cleaning fluid with as high alcohol concentration as you can get and before you use it, do another residue test. :slight_smile:

Not sure if this is the right place for my question, but please forgive me if it is not.

I just bought a DVD and i want to make a copy of it as i dont want my son messing the original one up.

Put it in the dvd player and it works. Yet when i try to burn it it says that it cannot read the disk. What do i do?


You might have a look through this thread or this one.