Questions about DVD-ROM drives

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bill McA, Jun 9, 2001.

  1. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    Just a few questions:
    1. Do DVD-ROM drives display Closed Captioning, that is, captions that are NOT menu selectable?
    2. Are DVD-ROM drives Region Code free and are they both PAL and NTSC capable?
    3. Can you watch a DVD in anamorphic mode? Is this selectable or automatic?
    4. Can screenshots be taken with a DVD-ROM drive alone, or does this require additional hardware/software?
    5. If affirmative answers to the above questions are only available on certain brands/models, what are the names of those DVD-ROM drives?
    Thanks!
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  2. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    A PC based DVD Video setup consists of two parts-- the drive and the decoder (which can be hardware or software based.) A software based decoder-- such as PowerDVD or WinDVD is usually more flexible than a hardware based decoder such as "Hollywood+".
    I don't really know of any concrete differences among DVD-Rom drives, but most recent drives (faster than 6x is a rough rule of thumb) offer a "feature" called RPC-II. A RPC-II drive is hardware locked to a specific region. Thus, if you enjoy alternating between R1 and R2 movies, you will need two seperate drives.
    Most of the other features are controlled by the player program. Some players off closed captioning support. Most will display 16x9 movies at full (480p) resolution. Most will stream DTS and Dolby Digital to an external decoder, and some will decode Dolby Digital to 4 or 6 channels. But not all players support all sound cards.
    Some player applications will let you take snapshots-- WinDVD will let you do this, if certain video acceleration features are turned off.
     
  3. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Bill, a lot of your questions pertain to the DVD software program, not the ROM drive...
    1. Power DVD 3.0 (software) which comes with a lot of DVD-ROM and video cards (my ACER 1640 came with it, as well as my MSI Geforce2 GTS Pro card) has the ability to do closed captioning (if available on the DVD).
    2. My ACER can only be region-changed 5 times, which means the 6th time you change the region it sticks. There are some pirate hacks that can defeat this, but I don't trust my PC knowledge enough to use them. Here's the thing, though, how many regions do you watch? If only 2-3, you can buy 2-3 DVD-ROM drives and set them to different regions. I don't know about PAL since I don't watch it, but you might search places like www.arstechnica.com forum. They were extremely helpful when I built my first PC but you gotta wade through a bunch of crap to get to the good stuff.
    3. PowerDVD 3.0 automatically resizes (squeezes) the anamorphic picture to the proper proportions by scaling it to your monitor's resolution. Since I run 1024*768 that is more than enough pixels to view an anamorphic DVD without downconverting it (god I hated my Tosh's artifacts and my Sony's softness).
    4. Power DVD has a screen cap function which works well, but only captures in bitmap format. You can then paste this picture (saves in a clipboard) in any picture application you like (I use Hypersnap & Photoshop).
    5. My only experience is with my ACER 1640 drive.
    Hope this helps...
     
  4. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Just tested WinDVD-- captioning can be activated. I think ATI and Cinemaster support closed captioning as well.
    WinDVD supports PAL, although I have never tested this.
     
  5. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    Jeremy & Carlo
    Thanks a bunch!!!!
    I'm about to get a DVD-ROM drive soon and I know virtually nothing about them.
    Your info was most helpful
    Thanks again!!!
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  6. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I was going to post something similar to this- so I figured I'd repost to this topic and bring it back to the top.
    I've decided to get a DVD drive for my PC and wondered what else I would need. I am well aware of the need to decode MPG video- and that it can be done with a seperate card inline with the video signal or done via software.
    How do you decide which? I would assume if it can always be done with a program no one would ever buy an outboard card- so there has to be a catch.
    I have an AGP Hercules Terminator 128/3D card which I picked up at a yard sale for like $5- it's a bit older, but is the video card the determining factor on use of software based decoding or hardware?
    Again, I'm just confused on why/when an outboard decoder would be needed- I don't want to get a DVD drive if I need to get a card in addition- but if asoftware based decoding would work for me- I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
    Can anyone explain this?
    Vince
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  7. JasG

    JasG Auditioning

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    __a hardware MPEG card is often used on slower computers (less than 500mhz Intel).
    __hardware MPEG cards have TV out, with software decoders, your video card will need TV out if you don't watch on your computer monitor.
    __for a software decoder, good 2D Video is a must, 3D performance does not matter too much.
    __software players rev regularly, the most common hardware card is now several years old.
    __software decoders are often OEM'd with video cards or motherboards. Common ones are PowerDVD, WinDVD, Cinemaster and ATI (Cinemaster OEM). Buying separately from these manufacturers runs $50.
    __The progressive output from software decoders is VERY impressive.
    __PowerDVD works for me on a CeleronII 533 & a 16MB Matrox G400. ATA33 or better helps greatly.
    __Shop around, mwave.com will sell PowerDVD for $5.
     
  8. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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