Can You Play DVD with a CD Player?

We recently did an article on the possibility of playing a CD on a DVD player and the next logical question was, can you play a DVD in a CD player? While this may sound like a non-serious question, it is a valid one.

We know that DVDs come with a ton of storage space. This is storage space that can be used to house many music collections. Let’s jump into the article. Here’s the answer you came for:

Unfortunately, due to the technical differences of a DVD when compared to a CD, a CD player won’t be able to read a DVD and hence, won’t play its content, even if it contains music files only.

What is a DVD and how is it different from a CD?

I mentioned above in the answer to the question that the CD player won’t be able to read the format a DVD uses. Let’s see here now what is a DVD and how it differs.

DVD is an abbreviation for a Digital Video Disc or a Digital Versatile Disc. On the other hand, a CD is a Compact Disc.

DVDs come with more than 7 times the amount of storage space for data compared to CDs and are mostly dedicated to storing video files which are usually much larger than simple audio files.

While the DVD and the CD come built with similar material, the process and the layers where the data is stored are different. DVDs are also usable from both sides, like 2 CDs stuck to each other, back to back. The technology is very different, DVDs have a closer or denser packaging of the data bits, while also using shorter wavelength laser.

As you can see from the simplified technical details above, the physical looks of a CD and DVD may be the same, but a DVD is very different in the way that it’s produced and the way that it works.

CD players that don’t have DVD reading capability just won’t be able to accurately find the data on the DVD as they do on the CD, hence the reason why CD players just won’t be able to play a Digital versatile disc.

What happens when you put a DVD in a CD player?

Below is a video showing what happens when you try to put a DVD into a CD or compact disc player. As you can see, the CD player struggles to read the DVD and quickly gives it up showing an error “check disc” code on the display. A similar error will be shown by most Compact Disk players into which a DVD is inserted.

Can you put music on a dvd-r and play it in a cd player

It would be great if you could use a DVD which comes with a ton of storage to save many albums of your favourite music collection, but as you can see from the video above, the disc itself just won’t be played. Irrespective of the type of files it contains. The structure of the data is saved on the DVD is incompatible with the CD player’s reader.

How to play dvd on cd player in your car

Similar to home CD players, a cast CD stereo system will also throw up errors if you insert a DVD into them. This is because the car CD player also uses a similar type of laser technology to read discs inserted into it. Because DVDs are completely different in data format, it’s not going to be able to read it and might end up just spitting out the DVD itself.

There are aftermarket head units, that can be used to play DVDs. They specifically are made for watching movies in the car. These are the types of devices that can play your DVDs even if they contain just music.

You could look into these, but you need to make sure your car has the appropriate space on the dashboard console to install such a player. Most modern cars come with their own infotainment systems and don’t even come with a CD player.

You also have to consider if it’s worth it, as these devices are quite expensive to buy and complicated to install.

What are the alternatives to storing and playing large amounts of music

The best alternatives to storing a large number of music files, now that you know that your DVD won’t be played by a CD player, is your smartphone or a USB thumb drive. USB thumb drives can be inserted into many car infotainment systems and the music played right off of them through your car speakers.

There are many home hi-fi systems that can also accept USB thumb drives and many modern TVs now come with USB ports that can handle thumb drive data.

If you don’t want to use your phone as a storage of all of your music files, a thumb drive is the next best thing and its contents can be accessed in many more ways than a CD or DVD can.

Wrapping up

So here we are at the conclusion of the article. We’ve looked through the reasons why a CD player won’t play a DVD, as well as seeing what happens when the DVD is inserted into a CD player. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use your CD playing device for your DVDs except you actually get a DVD player.

Thank you for reading this far and best wishes.