Turn a broken DVD player into an accessory enclosure for your Home Theater PC

Picture of Turn a broken DVD player into an accessory enclosure for your Home Theater PC
For about $30 (Assuming you already have a DVD-RW drive and media center remote control )you can turn an old broken DVD player into an enclosure for your unsightly/ hard to reach HTPC accessories. Have a look at step 2 for a cost breakdown.


We have a Home Theater PC (HTPC) in our living room that tucks neatly out of sight in a corner beside our entertainment unit. The location makes the PC very unobtrusive and even though the tower puts out a normal amount of noise it's barely noticeable. The problem however is the location makes it difficult to access the internal DVD drive to play movies or perform any typical DVD-RW functions. Also there are a number of devices that I have connected to the HTPC which are starting to look a little goofy in and around our entertainment unit (USB Remote IR receiver, USB/firewire hub, External Hard disk, joystick, Wireless keyboard/mouse receiver.) Meanwhile our stand alone DVD player sits unused in a prime easy to reach location (the HTPC has kind of made the DVD player redundant.) This gave me the idea to use an unwanted DVD player as an enclosure for many of those devices.

Step 1: Find a DVD Player to mod

Picture of Find a DVD Player to mod
DVD player inside.jpg
DVD drive front door.jpg
My initial plan was to find a broken DVD player which had a USB port in front and sufficient space internally for a USB hub, DVD-RW drive, infrared receiver, and wireless mouse receiver. To match my amplifier I wanted to find a silver unit but fate had other plans. The DVD player that I am using is a black Digix 288U and is simply the unit that broke down at the wrong time. The unit is black instead of silver and is a little small to accommodate the features I want. As a result I am starting with the DVD-RW and the IR receiver and will definitely notch out an opening to access the extra USB ports. I will likely incorporate the wireless mouse receiver later as well. A nice feature of this player though is the power supply. Many DVD players are like this and have a standard molex connector (like in PCs) and can provide power to an PC internal DVD drive with no modification.

If you are not just using the player at hand like me then you will probably want to find a full height DVD player with a USB port in front. Many DVD players have a low profile form factor that would not accommodate a normal internal PC DVD drive. You could use a slim DVD drive that is popular in many HTPC cases but these are quite a bit more expensive than your everyday internal drive. Ideally the player will also have a power supply that isn't integrated into the main circuit board of the player and uses a molex connector.

One more consideration is the front DVD tray cover. The Digix unit that I am using has a spring loaded door to cover the dvd tray when closed. If the DVD player you are considering has a front cover that is fixed on the end of the drive tray itself ,and sits flush with the front of the player, then you will need to mount the internal drive much more precisely and find a way to mount the cover on the end of the internal IDE DVD drive tray - probably with an extender of some kind.

Err... did you use the DVD player's power supply to power the computer? I've been told it cant be done because of returning currents or something - I didn't quite understand that. Could you please elaborate on how you've done that? Assuming, that is, that you did...

steliospc1 year ago

Deer Computer DR-250ATX 250 Watt ATX Power Supply

NEW Dell Samsung CD-RW 16x DVD-ROM IDE Full Height Black Drive TS-H492C NF221

Dynex 2-Port USB 2.0 PCI Card DX-2P2C NIB

10/100M NIC PCI Ethernet LAN Adapter Network Card RJ45

2.5 Meter Scart TO Female VGA SVGA 15 PIN HD Cable 20198

Microsoft 2 Button Scroll Roller Ball Computer Mouse Ps2 1.1A L1

Microsoft KU-0045 X06-19331 White PS/2 Keyboard

instalaition windows 98

Quantum Fireball CX 6.4GB IDE P-ATA 3,5" 5400rpm CX64A011 Hard Disk Drive HDD

Ole bally2 years ago
I have a dvd player / Home theater system in which the DVD player doesn't work satisfactorily any more. I have now upgraded the DVD's to a hard drive with movies stored.
The issue is:
The DVD player doesn't have any Audio IN facility. In other words if you're not playing a dvd through the player, you can't use the Home theater!
How could I scrap the dvd drive itself, keeping the amp and home theater side of it and plug the TV into it to utilise the surround system?
have an external 2,5" HDD with 500 GB on my TV Receiver, this receiver (Wireless "Sat", dvb-t) can rec on USB Storage. All my recorded movies, shows on this HDD. Then i dont need a Media PC. You can watch TV, the receiver is on, or you can watch a movie from the HDD. Later you can connect the HDD on your Computer and burn any good movie. Modern receiver has hdmi port, later you can connect your new tv, when the old one dies.
Lance Mt.4 years ago
What stops the us of the origanal DVD player? Just space?
grantaccess (author)  Lance Mt.4 years ago
The point of the instructable is to use a broken DVD player to give access to an external DVD drive for my home theater PC and hide the infrared remote receiver. There isn't anything stopping me from using a standard DVD player.
Okay. I had to open our only dvd player this year to install android to my netbook =P
PCfreak4 years ago
which remote model do u have

mines the harmony 300
grantaccess (author)  PCfreak4 years ago
Hi, it's a harmony 520. It's one of the lower end models but it works great for what I need.
limonchi5 years ago
first sorry about my english (i´m spanish)
one question, i have a working dvd player, but it have problems with the player tray

Will be posible to substitute the player by another one or a hard disc I have arround?
I think would be problems about drivers or something, isn´t it?

the problem with it, is that the tray is not coming properly, but when dvd inside works good
i have others and i dont need it, i wanted to do somethig DIY with it

thanks, good instructable
give 7 days i will find out something for u !!!
 and i will reply as fast as possible. 
ok Thanks
i will expecting for you

just keep long needle(minimum 5cm) with u so that when the tray does not  come out then just insert that needle in the tray ( a small hole is provided by every dvd player if u look carefull in front u will get it )
Thanks for your reply r.srohan
i din´t think about this, but i will try to find the hole, it isn´t a PC DVD it´s an home DVD
but this DVD isn´t in use, we have anothers
Do you know if I would convert this to an hard disc player?
some drivers problems?
thanks from spain
r.srohan5 years ago
 so much of hard work you have done i appreciate for that.
MiKOTRON5 years ago
You are a mad genius! This is absolutely fantastic! Thank you!
bwpatton15 years ago
This is awsome, I will have to build one of these for my gameroom as it needs a DVD rom extension..
Great Instructable!
kamelosis5 years ago
 Hi. I was trying to do an laptop doking station, and with this, Im sure will do. Thanks. Sorry for my english ok?. saludos!!!
grantaccess (author)  kamelosis5 years ago
Cool idea - I hope it all goes well.
Thanks for the idea!
I am going to try and add a small laptop HDD for programming and storage and a TV card.
The flexibility of a PVR in a very small package.
Wish me luck!

grantaccess (author)  monstermatt725 years ago
I do indeed wish you luck. Have fun and let me know how it goes.
PSPerson5 years ago
i can honestly say that i have read this 'ible around 5 times since you posted it. all 5 times are spaced out to when i have been browsing the site. i just love these all-in-one connected to the PC things. i still think it would be cool to hide the HTPC in the next room over out of sight.
ronmaggi5 years ago
 Cat5 cable is great for this sort of thing, plus you get different colored wires to keep things simple and color coded.
stuffman5 years ago
Wow, this is a really clever idea.  I like that the IR window on the DVD player lines up perfectly for the MCE receiver.  Excellent!
Yeah, my 36inch TV broke, damn that thing is heavy, because it has the case, the set and a built in amp altogether. Then we had to haul in the 37-38 inch TV from the back room, it was a lot lighter but the stand is even heavier.

If this one burns out I am going for a flat.
TaylorTech6 years ago
Wow! Awesome project! This is great because I have an old CD player sitting in my garage. Also, I just noticed, you must be Canadian (because of CityTV, eh?). So where are you from, neighbour? :)
grantaccess (author)  TaylorTech5 years ago
Hi TaylorTech, I'm in Vancouver. You?
I'm from Russell, Ontario. About 40 clicks outside of Ottawa. BTW: Love the instructable. Keep on making them! :D
stranoster6 years ago
This is really great. You've put a lot of effort into this and it shows :) . Great work, and I hope to see more instrucables from you in the future.
grantaccess (author)  stranoster6 years ago
Thank you very much for the comment. I will likely have a couple more instructables up soon (possibly not as long as this one though.)
5 months later and it's still awesome! I'm going to go try and find my mother in laws dead cd player and use the enclosure like this. Thanks for publishing this GA!
grantaccess (author)  osat3ch6 years ago
Cool, have fun and let me know how it works out. Also, let me know if there's anything I can help with - though most of what I know is in the instructable above :)
Crucio6 years ago
Congratulations. A fine job and a great idea.
grantaccess (author)  Crucio6 years ago
Thank you very much.
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
that's pretty cool, what is is attached to?
grantaccess (author)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
Thanks a lot, it's my first instructable. I'm adding a couple of pictures to the last step to show the computer location, VCR and satellite receiver. The enclosure is connected to a 2.4Ghz Pentium 4 with 1 Gig of RAM running Windows Media Center 2005. The tuner is a Hauppauge PVR250 and the video card is an Nvidia AGP 6600GT. The TV is one of the first high definition CRTs and can accept a 1080i signal from the video card. It has a 36" screen and weighs more than a car (a small car.) A nice (weird) quirk of the TV is that it displays the hi def signal in a 4:3 aspect ratio. This would look quite silly for any true hi def signal but it makes standard def look great from our media center PC. The raw image from our satellite provider is really quite poor. The tuner card MPEG encoding filters out noise and minor artifacts very well and the video card can upscale our standard definition satellite to the 1920 × 1080 (1080i) signal very nicely. The computer thinks it's displaying to a widescreen TV so we need to tweak a couple of settings to get the image to display properly, but once it's setup I think it's the best SD quality I've seen. wow, long answer to a short question. thanks again Alex, and I really welcome any comments or suggestions.
awesome!!! you should ad this to some group!
i mean add
grantaccess (author)  Sandisk1duo6 years ago
Thanks again Alex, I've added it to the USB Toys group and the Hacks group.