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What's the best software to play DVD's

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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 OFFLINE   SciPunk



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Posted December 18 2006 - 03:20 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted December 19 2006 - 10:13 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   Paul_Sjordal


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Posted December 20 2006 - 10:38 PM

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.
“It’s great to be known, but it’s even better to be known as strange.” —Takeshi Kaga

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted December 21 2006 - 10:05 AM

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.


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#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Ed Moxley

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Posted December 21 2006 - 01:36 PM

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.
Samsung HL61A750 (LED DLP)            Onkyo TX-SR805
Oppo BDP-83 Blu ray                                  Polk Audio LSi9
Polk Audio LSiC                                  Sony SS-MB100H
SVS PC12-NSD (Sub)                       ...

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted December 22 2006 - 04:35 AM

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.
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Paul_Sjordal


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Posted December 22 2006 - 07:35 AM

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.
“It’s great to be known, but it’s even better to be known as strange.” —Takeshi Kaga

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   harryk



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Posted December 22 2006 - 08:49 AM

I have always used powerdvd, seems to work well

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

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Posted December 23 2006 - 09:24 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   Eric_L



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Posted December 24 2006 - 05:04 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   Scott L

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Posted December 24 2006 - 06:00 AM

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

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted December 26 2006 - 08:00 AM

Definitely. TT all the way.

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Hanson



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Posted December 28 2006 - 08:36 PM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   Francois Caron

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Posted December 29 2006 - 01:15 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   John_Bonner


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Posted December 29 2006 - 03:03 AM

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 of 18 OFFLINE   AndySvn



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Posted January 10 2007 - 03:45 AM

I second that, and the screenshot feature is amazing.

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Gatoraide



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Posted January 10 2007 - 05:31 AM

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! Posted Image


#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Hanson



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Posted January 15 2007 - 04:15 PM

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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