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First; try blowing into the DVD reader, sometimes it is just a hair. also try a DVD cleaner disc. Check if the drive spins up correctly, and "listen". If it's spnning but having trouble reading you will hear a whizzing sound as it tries different speeds.
comment says -R just wanted to clarify, alot of players have trouble playing the -R discs. If you have your booklet for system, it should say in there otherwise they usually put a little sticker label, by the DVD tray with what file formats and discs it will play.
That's not unusual. Slower burning speed results in a deeper burn which is easier for some players to read. Unlike commercial discs which are highly reflective, burned CDs don't bounce as much light back to the laser in the pickup. Too fast a writing speed when burning can make some discs unreadable. This is why some older players can't read burned CDs at all; they were never sensitive enough to begin with. It's always a good idea to keep the write speed low (16x or so) when making CDs that will be played back in a regular CD player or boom box.
This problem is more likely to occur as the CD pickup ages and the laser weakens. If higher-speed burned discs used to play and now are having problems, it's probably time to replace the boombox (or the pickup assembly if you're ambitious). If the higher-speed discs never played, the player just can't deal with them and you'll need to keep the write speed down when burning CDs.
Press the "UTILITY" button under the Menu heading above the 10 digit key-pad. Under "System Parameter" -Param3, check that PS2 Mouse is set to "ON" and (of course) that the connector is firmly inserted into the mouse connector socket.