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We have a Pioneer DVD player,model DV300-S which has had less than moderate use over the years,and plays a distorted picture together with audio cutout at regular intervals.This is not related to one disc,but over a series of discs in our collection.Running a commercial cleaning disc corrected the problem temporarily,but reverted to "nbg" again depite further cleaning.Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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ALL DVD laser units eventually fail. This is due to the optical construction of the unit and it does not matter how little use it has had. The laser unit has a light emitting laser diode which is mounted horizontally. This then requires a mirror to reflect the light up to the disk. The surface of the disk will not be in exactly the correct place all the time so a moveable lens is used to focus the laser beam on the disk surface. The reflected light has to get back down and is again reflected to the pick-up point. Due to the requirement for the lens to move, most of the parts are not sealed, so over a period of time, fine dust particles (and anything else which may be in the air such as oil from cooking, nicotine from smoking etc.) will settle on the optical parts and reduce the light level. The top surface of the lens can be cleaned, which helped last time, but the lens is also exposed on the underside and this cannot be reached, nor can the mirrors or the surfaces of the laser diode and pick-up. So eventually, the unit will accumulate too much surface dirt and will not be able to be fixed.
CD players are least affected because the laser beam is not required to be very tightly focused. DVD lasers are about seven times more finely focused than CD and so will fail quicker. Blue Ray is about five times narrower than DVD and so is even more susceptible.

Posted on Mar 17, 2011

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