Red Box and Netflix each have a big interest in making their customers happy and preserving their disks. When a DVD won’t play, the first step in trying to get a DVD to play is to try cleaning the disk.
Here’s what Netflix says:
If the disc is dirty or scratched, try cleaning it with a soft cloth and lukewarm water.
Dry the disc completely and try to enjoy the title again.
If the issue persists and the DVD won’t play, please report the problem so we can send you a replacement immediately.
Like Netflix, Redbox has a similar interest in keeping customers happy and preserving their disks. Here’s what Redbox says when a DVD won’t play:
There’s a couple of reasons why your disc might not play.
1. Is it possible that you’re trying to play a Blu-ray Disc in a standard DVD player? Blu-ray Discs will only play in Blu-ray compatible players. You can tell if it’s a Blu-ray Disc because the downward-facing side of it will be blue instead of silver, and it’ll have a Blu-ray logo on top.
2. It might be dirty or smudged. If so, please take a soft, lint-free cloth, and wipe gently in a straight line from the center of the disc to the edge. Only clean discs with a solution of water and mild detergent or rubbing alcohol. Never use abrasives, solvents or highly acidic cleansers.
3. If you’ve tried to clean it and it still won’t play, it might be scratched. Please report your unplayable disc here and we’ll help you out.
When you return a disc to Netflix, their robots clean and check that disc. But like the locations of their warehouses, they don’t reveal the exact cleaning technique. These are undoubtedly industrial disc cleaning robots probably several steps up from Azuradisc which offers disc repair services and machines. The Azuradisc machines start at $2000. There are many inexpensive disk cleaning machines available on Amazon, but none have very good reviews.
Scratches are another issue.
YouTube is full of videos showing you how to repair scratches on discs using everything from toothpaste to peanut butter and one technique that even uses a microwave!
I won’t be using any of those techniques on a homemade DVD a customer recently brought me. He said the DVD won’t play and he is right. I tried the Netflix/Redbox cleaning techniques. But this disk seems to be a corrupted disk more than anything else.
So my search has led me to a program called FixVTS which looked promising. But it did not work. Wish I had more suggestions for you.
Another thing to try is to burn a copy of the non playable disc. This has sometimes worked for me.
Also the other thing to check is whether the disc can play on another DVD player.
The lasers are starting to breakdown in a lot of DVD players, and to repair one can be almost 10 times what was paid for the original DVD player!
I’ve used this app on several DVDs that would not play. It saved many video files.