I have this error the moment I try to open a disc, to play it's content:

Playback failure: DVDRead could not open the disc "/dev/cdrom". Your input can't be opened: VLC is unable to open the MRL 'dvdsimple:///dev/cdrom'. Check the log for details.

This what I get in the terminal when I execute lshw:

         description: CD-R/CD-RW writer
         product: CD-RW CED-8083B
         vendor: LG
         physical id: 0.0.0
         bus info: scsi@0:0.0.0
         logical name: /dev/cdrom
         logical name: /dev/cdrw
         logical name: /dev/sr0
         version: 1.10
         capabilities: removable audio cd-r cd-rw
         configuration: ansiversion=5 status=nodisc
  • 1
    according to the specs - I see only a CD drive - you aren't trying to read dvd's are you?
    – guiverc
    Jan 27, 2018 at 4:19
  • yes , Im trying to watch a movie Jan 27, 2018 at 4:21
  • Did you check the log for details?
    – wjandrea
    Jan 27, 2018 at 4:21
  • Im basic in linux stuff specially on the terminal Jan 27, 2018 at 4:22
  • 2
    CD drives are not the same as DVDs. CDs are single-surface/track (possibly not the correct term) storing ~700MB. DVDs have various surfaces in the track and can store 4.7GB-8.4GB in the same track. DVD players will play CDs in most cases; but the reverse is not true (CD drives can't use dvds)
    – guiverc
    Jan 27, 2018 at 4:24

2 Answers 2


CD drive and DVD drives are not the same, though they can look alike. Drives should have CD/DVD marks on their doors, but these aren't always visible (or can wear off)

The data in a drive is stored in 'pits'. A CD drive contains surface for left/right tracks suitable for audio/music and can store 650-700MB on its medium. (Just enough for the engineer to store his favorite classic music piece)

DVD drives which are usually used for video need far more space and a means was found to store (5+ times) the number of pits in the same space as a CD stores a single pit. DVD Drives thus can store 4.7GB (single layered) or 8.4GB (dual layered).

DVD drives can (with few exceptions) read CD/CDRW/.. disks|discs without issue, allowing CD-music to be played as CDs contain less data in the same space.

CD drives however can not read the extra data/pits that exist on a DVD disk/disc.

(incidentally: DVD disks/discs are shinier when looked at in good light, ie. a better mirror than a CD is; which can be used to tell if disk|disc is a CD or DVD. There is no easy way to tell if a drive is CD or DVD)

[ references to 'surfaces was removed thanks correction by @ravery ]

  • 2
    Although DVD can be dual layer and even dual sided (17GB total capacity), the increased storage of a DVD comes from smaller pits and a shorter wavelength laser, not extra surfaces. Thus, it is a case of precision that prevents CD drives from reading DVDs. The same is true of BluRay which has even smaller pits.
    – ravery
    Jan 27, 2018 at 6:06
  • 2
    PS -- DVD's are "shinier" because the surface is smoother. As with anythig else, the more precise you become, the greater effect an imperfection has. A DVD is 5+ times more compact, thus the surface has to be 5 times smoother. And of course the smoother a surface is the better mirror it makes.
    – ravery
    Jan 27, 2018 at 6:17

Install this and it should work:

sudo apt install browser-plugin-vlc

It adds some extra stuff for compatibility. I had a problem that I couldn't play files from mounted SSD and from network, and after installing the browser-plugin-vlc all works fine!

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