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External DVD Drive for Chromebook and How to Play DVDs

Like many other laptops, Chromebook abandons the optical drive. It makes sense as it has to keep thin. However, you may still have DVDs to play from time to time. How to make that work? As you think, you will need an external DVD drive connected to Chromebook. However, don't expect a plug-and-play process to get an external DVD player work on Chromebook. In fact, there are many limitations. In this post, we will get you through how to connect Chromebook to an external DVD drive and play DVDs (video & music) on Chromebook without worries.

See also: Best External CD/DVD Drive Burner Player for Windows 11

How to use an external disc drive on Chromebook
Chromebook external disc drive

What can You Play with an External DVD Drive on Chromebook?

It's easy and possible to connect an external DVD drive to Chromebook. Once connected, you can play CD, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-RW, Blu-ray, Blu-ray RW on Chromebook via an external DVD drive. However, don't be surprised if your DVD won't open or work. In fact, you need to pay attention to the type of media on the disc. Chromebook can read files on the disks if they are written in a data format. However, you currently can't watch DVD movies by default in Chrome OS. This is because Chromebook lacks the proper codec needed to play DVD video.

What can't You Do with an External DVD Drive on Chromebook?

Even with a Chromebook external disc drive, there are things you can't do like other laptops.

  • You can play a video CD or movie DVD. As mentioned above, Google has not licensed and is unlikely to license DVD Video software in Chrome OS. VLC used to be able to help play DVD movie on Chromebook. But now it no longer works. To play video DVD movies on Chromebook, it's quite complicated. You need to switch into developer mode and install Linux.
  • You can't burn DVDs on Chromebook. According to Google's support site, USB CDROM and DVDROM (read-only) devices are compatible with Chromebooks. Even with an external disc drive, it's able to read data on the supported discs only. There is no way to write data to a disc.
  • You can't rip a DVD on Chromebook. When it is possible to directly play a video DVD on Chromebook, you may want to rip it to a digital format for it. You can't do it on Chromebook as there is no DVD ripper that will work on Chrome OS.

In a nutshell, decide if you still need an external DVD drive for Chromebook, you should know that it:

  • • Can read disks, but with only accepted file types
  • • Can't burn or rip a DVD or CD 
  • • Can play music and movies in digital formats, like MP4 or MP3

How to Connect External DVD Drive to Chromebook

Chromebook supports USB-powered CD or DVD drives. You can connect the external drive to Chromebook via a USB able. Once connected, insert the disc you want to open in the external DVD player. To access the disc, click Launcher on its main interface, and then the Files app. Like Windows Explorer and Finder, you will then see the external drive listed on the left panel below the Downloads folder. Click on it and you will see the data on the disc.

how to access DVD on Chromebook via external dvd drive
How to open a DVD on Chromebook

How to Play DVD Movies on Chromebook?

Apparently, you can't play a video DVD on Chromebook directly via an external disc drive. Why not rip the DVD to digital and watch on Chromebook without external DVD drive? Though DVD rippers won't work on Chrome OS, you can do it on a Mac or PC. Try something like WinX DVD Ripper Platinum. It will easily convert any DVDs to Chromebook supported formats.

Step 1: Download WinX DVD Ripper Platinum on your Windows or Mac computer, install and launch it on desktop.

Free download for Windows 10 or later 
Free download for macOS 10.6 or later 

how to watch DVD on Chromebook
Rip DVD for Chromebook

Step 2: Insert the DVD you want to play on Chromebook, and click the "DVD Disc" button to load the DVD.

Step 3: Select an output format when a window pops up automatically. For example, choose MP4 from the General Profiles.

Video formats supported by Chromebook:
.3gp, .avi, .mov, .mp4, .m4v, .m4a, .mp3, .mkv, .ogv, .ogm, .ogg, .oga, .webm, .wav

Step 4: Click Run to start the rip. Several minutes later, you will get an MP4 video with high quality. Then transfer it to the Chromebook with a USB drive and watch without the use of an external DVD player.

2021 Best External DVD Drive for Chromebook

1. MthsTec External DVD CD Drive

This external DVD drive is compatible with a wide range of platforms, including Chromebooks, laptops, Macbook, PC, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, Windows, and many more. It's easy to carry, light weight and small size. You don't need driver and external power to play a DVD on Chromebook. More importantly, it's able to provide a data transfer speed as fast as 5Gbps on USB 3.0 ports.

2. LG Electronics 8X USB 2.0

This is the best external disc drive or newer Chromebooks. It's light weight, compact, easy to handle, and works as both a DVD drive and a USB drive. This drive is able to decode in numerous disc formats, such as DVD+R/R DL/RW, DVD-R/R DL/RW, and many more. It also includes a smart USB cable which makes things easier.

3. ZSMJ External DVD Drive

This is an external DVD drive made for a Mac which also works on a Chromebook. It has a unremovable cable on it so it's very convenient. You can use it to open DVDs on Chromebook via USB2.0 or 3.0. The entire unit is very lightweight and easy to carry around. You don't need an external power supply at all.


author - Donna Peng

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Donna Peng's fascination with multimedia began at an early age - shortly after she licked the physical disc and then she's been obsessed ever since. Her decade-long career at Digiarty after the graduation has seen her unmatched expertise in the field of DVD, digital video, software and anything related to home theatre. She is currently fascinated with photography.

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