You're sitting on a subway, or in a car, with your portable DVD player on your lap ready to watch your favorite movie. But when you go to turn it on, all you get is a blank screen; or the disc doesn't play yet you swear it works in your home DVD player. Now you're stuck on a 3-hour trip with nothing to watch but the seat in front of you. Sounds like a disastrous situation doesn't it? Well, here's some advice to help avoid common problems that may arise while trying to use your portable DVD player.
Cleaning the disc
If you're player isn't reading a disc correctly, try inserting a different one and seeing if it produces the same results. If it works on a different disc, then you probably need to clean the one you were trying to watch. You can find disc cleaning solutions at a nearest CD or electronics store. But if you don't want to spend the extra money, you could always make your own to take with you. All you need to do is boil some water, then when it cools down, pour it in a miniature bottle along with a couple drops of dishwashing liquid, stir it up, then you're ready to go. When you go to clean the disc, if you don't have any static-free cloths lying around, use a paper towel and spray the solution on the towel. Make sure you clean the disc from the hole in the middle outwards to the rim. Continue to clean in straight lines until the whole disc has been wiped. Insert the disc into the DVD player and it should work correctly.
Clean the DVD player
If it still doesn't work, then your portable DVD player might be the one causing trouble. For this you'd need a cleaning disc to clean the DVD player itself. You can't really make your own cleaning disc (you'd need deionized water, a surface analyzer, and a bunch of other equipment I'm sure you don't have). So just buy one, insert it, and let it do it's job.
If the portable DVD player seems to be running low on power often, then your battery may be the culprit. You may need to recharge it, or review the manual to see how long the battery is supposed to last. If it seems to be draining power before the specified time-limit, then you have a faulty battery. If still within warranty, return it to the manufacturer for a new one. Or you could also purchase a universal Lithium-Ion battery made for certain players (Lenmar has one for Samsung, Audiovox and Apex portable DVD players).
Connections not working
If you're trying to connect your portable DVD player to a game console, TV, or another device and it's not working. Make sure you have your DVD player on "Input" mode or something similar. Have the manual handy on how to receive info from other devices. But if everything seems to be in order, then it's probably your screen.
Using your A/V out on your DVD player, try hooking it up to a TV and seeing if the image comes up. If the battery was recharged and the image is displayed in the TV without any issues, then it's time for a new model. Maybe shell out a few extra dollars for a more reliable player. You could let this one be your home DVD player if it's only the screen acting up, that way you can still get some value out of it.
If all else fails
If after all of this, your player still isn't working - DVDs still don't play, battery's always low, screen not displaying image - I suggest you take the player, bring it with you to the nearest shooting range, and have at it. This should help deal with any mental issues that might've arisen while trying to fix the defective product (if it's after warranty of course). It happens every once in awhile, so you're not alone.