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Can You Play a CD on a DVD Player?

A Dvd Player

Considering that there are both CD and DVD players out there, we wouldn’t be surprised if you thought that the two were separate and that you could not play a CD in a DVD player or vice versa. After all, why separate them if that is the case?

Quick Answer

The truth is, you can play a CD on a DVD player, although the reverse is not true. That’s because a DVD player is capable of audio and video, while a CD player is only capable of audio.

It’s pretty straightforward, but we’ll still talk about it in detail so you know what’s what.

Using CDs with DVD Players

Admittedly, DVD players are not particularly common nowadays, what will all the much better technology that exists. But there are still some people out there who have DVD players. Along the same vein, most people don’t use CDs anymore either, but some still do. And if you fit into both of those categories, you may wonder if the two are compatible.

Despite the name “DVD player”, such devices can read many discs and file types, including rewritable DVDs. Because DVDs usually involve movies or shows of some sort, it stands to reason that DVD players can interpret both the video and audio of a disc. This means that DVD players can play audio alone as well.

DVD players use lasers to read the data that is stored on CDs. They can all do this, but if you have a newer DVD player, it may even be capable of reading high-quality, super audio CDs, known as SACDs.

What’s the Difference between DVDs and CDs?

Both DVDs and CDs are discs, so what’s the actual difference? Well, it’s not a lot. DVDs can store more data than CDs. They have narrower grooves, which means more tracks on the disc, which means more capability to store data overall. 

What Happens When You Put a CD in a DVD Player?

When you put a CD in a DVD player, the DVD player will pretty much just function as a CD player normally would. However, you will probably get some visuals on your TV, like the track’s name being played or something similar.

If you have a remote control to use with your DVD player, you will be able to use that controller to interact with your CD tracks. For instance, you will be able to use the remote control to pause or play tracks, skip tracks, move between tracks, and manage your device’s volume. 

Now technically, this means you may not require your DVD player to be hooked up to a TV to use it as a CD player. However, it will be much easier to control the settings if you have it plugged up to a TV since that will allow you to see the scenes as they are being modified.

DVDs Can Be Used for Audio As Well

Most everyone knows that CDs can only be used for audio, but many people don’t realize that you can use DVDs for audio alone as well. As mentioned previously, DVDs can hold more data than CDs, meaning they can have more music and higher quality files.

Generally speaking, a DVD can store shy of 5 gigabytes of audio, while a CD can usually only hold about 800 megabytes. That’s roughly five times less music overall. And of course, since even DVDs are considered old technology by now, it is very cheap to acquire many DVDs.

That said, it is true that you will need a DVD player (or a system capable of reading DVDs) to enjoy that music, and it’s also true that a DVD will not work on a CD player. So if you are limited to a CD player in some situations (like your car), you may not want to do this.


You can very much play CDs on a DVD player. When you do this, your DVD player will essentially function as a CD player, except you will be able to see the settings on your TV, and you will be able to control all of its functions using a remote control.

However, you cannot play DVDs on a CD player, so even though DVDs can hold a lot more data overall, depending on your setup and equipment, you may still be better off using CDs for your music needs. Thankfully, they are pretty cheap these days!

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