Can you watch DVDs on Chromebook?

You’ll struggle to find an optical drive on any model of Chromebook. This is the same with most modern laptops – it helps keep them thin, save weight and enhance portability. However, you may still have DVDs that you want to watch on your Chromebook? In this article we’ll look at external DVD drives, connecting them to your Chromebook and ultimately whether you can watch DVDs on your Chromebook?

How to Connect An External DVD Drive to A Chromebook

So first we’ll look at how to connect an external DVD drive to a Chromebook. This is actually quite straightforward. Simple plug the USB cable on your external DVD player into your Chromebook. That’s it! Most external DVD drives should work, but be aware that there is no official support from Google.

Next all you need to do is insert a disk into the drive. From here, open the Launcher, then open the Files app. Then you will see the drive listed on the left hand side panel. Simply click this to view the files on your disk.

What Can You Do With An External DVD or CD Drive For Chromebook?

So what kind of disks can you read on your Chromebook using an external drive? Most Chromebooks will be able to read the following disk types:

  • CD
  • CD-RW
  • DVD
  • DVD-RW
  • Blu-Ray
  • Blu-Ray RW

What you will find is that Chrome OS will only let you read the files on the disk. You will not be able to write any data to a CD, DVD or Blu-Ray. On top of this, Chrome OS doesn’t have the necessary codecs to play audio CDs or movie DVDs. Which leads us into the next section of this article…

Can you watch DVDs on Chromebook?

So can Chromebooks play DVDs? In short, no. Chrome OS does not licence the necessary codecs to decode DVDs or Blu-Ray movies. Almost all Chromebooks on the market do not have an optical drive, so this stance is unlikely to change at any point in the future.

What is a codec?

In simple terms a codec is a compression technology. It has two parts. An encoder to compress media (photos, videos, movies etc.) and a decoder to decompress. So by encoding a movie, the file can shrink enough to fit onto media such as a DVD or Blu-Ray.

Best External DVD Drive Compatible With Chromebook

Even though you won’t be able to watch DVD movies, you may need an external DVD player to access files. External DVD players are backwards compatible so will also read CDs. Most external DVD players are pretty cheap and reliable. Let’s take a look at a couple of the best options.

Hitachi-LG GP60 External DVD Drive

The Hitachi-LG GP60 External DVD Drive weighs just 200g and is 0.55 inches in height so is extremely portable. It has silent play technology to reduce noise during disk usage to almost zero. It reads all types of CDs and DVDs, and isn’t just compatible with Chromebooks, but Windows and Mac too. The only drawback is that it is USB 2.0, but as Chromebook is only able to read CDs and DVDs, this shouldn’t cause any problems.

It is one of the top rated external DVD players on Amazon. It has over 2000 reviews and is rated at 4.5 stars. So well worth considering!

Rioddas External USB 3.0 CD/DVD Drive Slim

The Rioddas external DVD drive weights 360g and is ultra slim. USB 3.0 ensures high speed data transfer, and is also compatible with Windows and Macs. Its brushed texture shell brings trendy sight and touch enjoyment. Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon with over 11,000 reviews, this is one of the best external DVD players on the market.


In conclusion, you’ll struggle to watch DVDs on a Chromebook. This is due to the fact that most haven’t got optical drives (but USB options are available), coupled with the fact that Chrome OS doesn’t license the necessary codecs.