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Can Blu-ray players play DVDs?

Can Blu-ray players play DVDs?
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Can Blu-ray players play DVDs? It's a question that might sound simple, as the basic answer is, yes most Blu-ray players can play DVD discs. But when you dive a little deeper things start to get more complex.

There isn't just one type of DVD disc and the way these are played back, in the same format or upscaled, also varies. So this guide aims to clarify what you need to look for when buying a Blu-ray player which you want to serve you for playing your DVD collection too.

You may not need the most expensive deck from the best Blu-ray players list to get your DVDs playing on your big screen. So read on to find out how.

What Blu-ray players work with DVDs?

You'll be hard pressed to find a Blu-ray player that isn't backwards compatible with DVD discs. From dedicated decks from the likes of Sony and Panasonic to built-in players that are part of a surround sound system, they all play nice with DVD.

When it comes to video game consoles you will find that the drives vary. Where a Sony PlayStation 3 and later will have Blu-ray players, along with all Xbox's from the Xbox One onwards. There are also all digital consoles like the Xbox Series S and PS5 Digital Edition which don't have a disc drive, so they won't play Blu-rays. 

The one problem you might run into here is that, for games consoles especially, you may only be able to play discs from your region.

DVDs and Blu-rays

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What DVD types can a Blu-ray player support?

Some Blu-ray players, most now in fact, will be region free. This means you'll be able to play PAL and NTSC discs in both Blu-ray and DVD formats. But not all players are created in this way so it's worth looking out for both PAL and NTSC compatibility when you buy your deck.

DVDs aren't just varied by region though, they also come in different types. If you've been burning your own DVDs at home, for example, you may find that not all Blu-ray players will work with them. To make sure yours will, be sure to look out for support for DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD+R. 

The content on those discs may also not be supported so check file type support for things like MOV, 3GP, MP4, MKV, JPG, TIFF, GIF and any other file types that you may have burned onto a disc and want to play back via your Blu-ray player.

DVD player

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Which is the best Blu-ray player for DVD playback?

Generally speaking the best Blu-ray player for DVD playback will be the one that is most compatible with the most discs and file formats. The more you spend, the better the compatibility usually is.

That said, you likely won't need a top-end Blu-ray player to access your DVD media. It's worth looking at the support on each device so you can find the most affordable option that still does what you need. Sony, LG and Panasonic are good choices for a wide range of compatibility.

If you do have some DVDs that can't be played by a Blu-ray player, check out the best DVD players too.

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.