Why Does My DVD Player Pixelate?

By Tyson Cliffton

A pixelated DVD image can ruin your enjoyment of whatever you are attempting to watch. The bad image can result from faulty or incompatible hardware, or nonoptimal settings on the DVD player or the external device the DVD player is connected to. Isolate the problem using troubleshooting to determine how it should be fixed so you can output the best image possible from the DVD player.

Aspect Ratio

Changing the screen's aspect ratio on either the DVD player or the device you're watching the disc on could cause the picture to become pixelated. This occurs because various aspect ratios, such as zoom, full screen, panoramic or wide, are not the disc's native resolution. To prevent pixelation and for the best picture possible, set up the output resolution on both the output device and the DVD player to be the disc's native resolution.

Source File

The source file on the disc you are attempting to play may not be of the highest quality. Discs such as video CDs and CDs or DVDs with AVI, MPEG or other types of compressed video file types that may not be pixelated on a smaller screen, such as a computer screen, may have intense pixelation issues when viewed on a larger screen. This is not a fault of the DVD player. The best way to view these types of files on a DVD player is in their native resolution.

Video Cable

If you're DVD player is connected to an external device and the disc you are trying to watch contains High-bandwidth Digital Copyright Protected (HDCP) and the external device doesn't support HDCP playback, the picture will appear pixelated. You can work around this by using a different type of cable, such as a component cable or standard audio/video cable. Also, check the video cable you are using for damage, such as fraying or cuts. These problems can cause issues with the output quality. Test a damaged cable on another device to be certain the problem is with the cable before replacing it.

Damaged Disc

Small scratches or dirt and debris on the disc you are watching can prevent the DVD player's laser from reading the disc correctly, resulting in a pixelated appearance because the laser struggles to move from one image to the next. Remove the disc and clean it using a soft silk cloth or other soft, nonabrasive cloth suitable for cleaning lenses to see if you can remove dirt and debris and resolve issues with the minor scratches.