How to Connect a DVD Player to a Laptop

By James Clark

Older computer laptops that are not equipped with a built-in DVD-ROM drive can still be used to watch DVDs by connecting a DVD player. Although laptops vary by manufacturer, the principle of connecting a laptop computer to a DVD player is the same.

Things You'll Need

  • Audio and video cables
  • Sound- and video-capture cards compatible with the laptop.

How to Connect a DVD Player to a Laptop

Step 1

Download and install DVD player software compatible with either Mac or PC laptops, depending on the platform you use. Several software companies offer free shareware software for playing DVDs on a computer. You need this software in order for the computer to be able to "read" the signal coming from the DVD player you are about to connect. Free DVD player software is available at www.videolan.org/vlc.

Step 2

Connect a DVD player to an older laptop by installing a PC memory card with a connection port or a video-capture card with USB. Video cards with a USB cable merely plug into the USB port on a laptop; no special wiring or programming is required.

Step 3

Plug the video-out cord on the DVD player into the video-in jack on the video-capture card connected to an older laptop. Then plug the audio-out cable from the DVD player into the audio-in jack on the laptop (typically a mini plug like the ones found on computer speakers).

Step 4

Improve audio and video quality by connecting an older laptop to an external DVD-ROM drive via a USB port on the computer as an alternative to connecting a full-size DVD player. External DVD drives are almost universally plug-and-play, meaning the drive only needs to be connected to the laptop to start working automatically. The external drive draws power from the laptop so no additional cables are required.

References & Resources