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The first thing to try is to clean the laser itself by using a cleaning disc. If that fails then most likely the pickup laser is no longer any good. This is usually obvious if you place an audio CD in the unit and it plays fine : )
If it will not play either on the recorder it was recorded on or any other player, you need professional help retrieving the data. There are places where this can be done, but it will probably cost MANY times what the disc does.
Its not supposed to play Dix AVI movie files. For a DVD player to play anything other than a DVD movie the manufacturer must pay royalties to who ever owns the patent, for example they would have to pay Philips say $1 for every DVD player made that plays VCD's, that may not sound a lot but, make 100,000 dvd players and they would have to pay Philips $100,000. The technology has to be put into the device for it to work. Hope that helps.