What's the best software to play DVD's

Discussion in 'Computers' started by SciPunk, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. SciPunk

    SciPunk Auditioning

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    Any suggestions as to what I should be running to watch DVDs. I got the PC connected to dual monitors, an standard 1280x1024 LCD (Acer) and a large 1080p HDTV (connected via the PC VGA connection).

    So what should I be useing to view DVDs?

    Also, I hear if you have the right drivers and software loaded, your system will use your video card to accelerate and enhance DVD viewing. How can I be sure that I have this all set up right?

    BTW: My video card is an EGA NVIDIA 7900GS purchased within the last frew months.
     
  2. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    If you use PureVideo with the nVidia card, then an icon will appear in the tray when it is active, so you know for sure that it is working.

    In general, the player program may report that it is using some kind of hardware acceleration in an information or diagnostic window. But exactly what that means may vary.

    As for software, I've always used PowerDVD, but never with a dual-monitor setup, nor with PureVideo.
     
  3. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    You know, I never read up on PureVideo before now.

    Am I reading this right? If I want it, I have to pay for it? Bleah.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    PowerDVD or WinDVD!

    I like WinDVD because I can take screenshots in proper ratio.

    With PowerDVD there are advanced settings I find need to be
    done first in order to get the ratio correct.
     
  5. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    I also use WinDVD. It supports Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS, and my computer is setup as a stand alone home theater. I never was able to find a software dvd player, that supported DD and DTS, that was free.
     
  6. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Probably there's no free player due to licensing requirements -- I don't think it's free for a developer to include support for DD and DTS.
     
  7. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    I have both an old sound card and a DVD burner that came with free DVD decoder software, why can't a video card come with a free decoder? It seems awfully silly to pay for decoder software that is specific to video cards that use a specific chip set when I can pay about the same money and get DVD software that will work on any video card.
     
  8. harryk

    harryk Auditioning

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    I have always used powerdvd, seems to work well
     
  9. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    They usually do bundle something. The last nVidia-based card I bought came with the low-end PowerDVD. But one distinction with nVidia is that they make the chips and reference designs, but they don't actually sell the cards. ATI (now part of AMD) makes and sells cards.

    So if you "buy nVidia", you get something that works, but if you want something that works better -- and PureVideo is definitely better in at least some ways -- then you pay the extra $30 or whatever. I suppose this is an additional revenue stream from enthusiasts that run HTPCs. (I wonder how big it is.) Should they instead include that as part of the standard drivers? If they did, maybe they'd try to pass the costs on, even for people that only use the cards to play games.
     
  10. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I used to use Theatertek http://www.theatertek.com/ and it was well recomended. I hoever had too may troubles gettig it (or any other) dvd software to ru on my PC. I always had trouble with the sound being choppy when I ran it on the secondary monitor. It was about three years ago and the problems have likely been fixed - HTPCs were still quite new then. I had what was considered a top-end system then. Got tired of tweaking it and bought a $75 player and problem fixed. (was running it on a projector)
     
  11. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    +1 on Theatertek. If you're hardcore into this it's either Theatertek or Zoom Player Pro + PureVideo decoder
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Definitely. TT all the way.
     
  13. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    TheaterTek not only offers great picture and lots of fiddliness that HTPC owners crave, but it also plays HDTV transport streams and seamlessly transitions between files and will even recognize four 15 minutes files as a complete hour long programs and you can jump to any point in the program.

    I just installed the newest version, and it's so awesome that I am probably going to stop using MyHD as my primary HD and DVD program.
     
  14. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    If you're willing to experiment a bit, you might want to try something called the "Combined Community Codec Pack" (Google it). One of the included filters is a free DVD decoder. Afterwards, you can try ac3filter for your DD and DTS decoding needs. The combination certainly works for me. In the end, all I had to pay (and it was worth every penny) was Zoom Player Pro. That single player alone solved a LOT of problems, but be warned that it's very complex.
     
  15. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    I use ZoomPlayer Pro w/ PureVideo decoder and ffDshow for resizing.
    If you're a tweak-aholic, ZoomPlayer has tons of settings, controls, adjustments, etc.
    If you just want to put the movie in and hit Play, use PowerDVD or Media Player Classic
     
  16. AndySvn

    AndySvn Agent

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    I second that, and the screenshot feature is amazing.
     
  17. Gatoraide

    Gatoraide Auditioning

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    I built a basic HTPC last fall as a project for under $400. I use VLC media player (videolan.org) for playing movies, wheather they are DVD or downloaded or streaming. It plays are formats and allows you to change the aspect and since it's 'open source', it's free! [​IMG]

    Steve
     
  18. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    I am not that familiar with most of the popular soft DVD players, but one thing TT does that is absolutely invaluable is that you can set up an almost infinite number of aspect ratios. I can scale non-anamorphic, non-anamorphic with burned subtitles with slight window boxing, 1.66 AR wih slight window-boxing, etc.
     

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