The DVD is one of the world's most common formats for storage on optical discs. DVDs allow you to watch digital movies on your television, back up data on your computer and more. Although many computers and some televisions have built-in DVD players, some do not. If your computer or television lacks an internal DVD player, you can connect one to the USB, FireWire or auxiliary audio/video port.
DVD Player for Computer
Connect the included USB or FireWire and power cables to the back of the external DVD player. In some cases, these cables connect directly to the back of the player. If you have a slim DVD player, it may have a Y-cable to which the power and USB or FireWire cables connect. Some DVD players do not require separate power cables.
Plug the other end of the power cable into a wall outlet. If your DVD player has no power cable, skip this step.
Connect the other end of the USB or FireWire cable to an unused USB or FireWire port on your computer. Windows does not require device drivers for external DVD players, so you can begin reading DVDs or using the disc-burning software included with Windows to record DVDs immediately. However, many external DVD players include software for burning discs and playing DVD movies. If your DVD player includes software, continue to the next step.
Insert the included software disc into the DVD player or the computer's CD-ROM drive and wait for the disc to spin up. If the installation program does not launch automatically, open the "Start" menu, click "Computer" and double-click the icon for the drive containing the software disc.
Follow the prompts on the screen to install the software included with the DVD player. In most cases, this involves reading and agreeing to license terms, selecting the components of the software that you want to install, and choosing a destination folder on your computer's hard drive. When the installation process is complete, you can launch the software by double-clicking one of the new shortcuts on your computer's desktop or in the Start menu.
DVD Player for Television
Connect the DVD player to a power outlet, but do not push the power button yet.
Select an audio/video output port on the back of the DVD player to use. The most common audio/video ports, in descending order of preference, are HDMI, Component, S-Video and Composite or RCA. Check the back of your television or cable box to confirm that it has the same type of port. HDMI carries video and audio over a single cable, while Component, S-Video and Composite cables require separate connections for audio. A component audio/video cable, therefore, may have as many as five connectors on each end, while S-Video and Composite cables have up to three connectors on each end. The connectors are color-coded to ensure correct installation.
Connect both ends of the audio/video cable to the matching color-coded ports on the back of the DVD player and television or cable box.
Push the "Power" button on the front of the DVD player to turn it on.
Push the "Eject" button on the DVD player and insert a DVD movie. The DVD player should display the title screen of the movie automatically.
Use the remote control for your television or cable box to switch to the input for your DVD player. For example, the button may have a label such as "HDMI" or "AUX." After switching to the correct port, you should see the movie's title screen on your television.
Items you will need
- USB or FireWire DVD player for computer
- DVD player and audio/video cables for television
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images