Section 10.9. Playing DVD Movies


10.9. Playing DVD Movies

Windows XP lets you see the files and folders stored on a data DVD, which it treats just like any CD or hard drive folder. But Windows lets you open only files that it recognizes. And unfortunately , Windows XP doesn't recognize the most common file found on a DVD: a DVD movie.

That's because Microsoft left out one key component required to play DVD movies: a codec file. Short for COmpress DECompress, a codec contains the formula used to compress sound and video when stuffing them into a file, as well as decompressing them upon playback. Since Windows XP lacks DVD's essential "MPEG-2" codec, your movies stay locked onto the DVDat least initially.

To avoid fielding angry consumer phone calls, most PC manufacturers install third-party DVD software like "PowerDVD" when they sell a PC with a DVD drive. Once you or the PC's manufacturer install DVD player software, Windows Media Player sneaks over and borrows that program's codec, letting you watch DVD movies with Media Player, as well.

If your PC doesn't let you watch DVD movies, you have two options:

  • Buy a codec . You can buy the codec that lets you watch DVDs in Media Player. They're available for $15 to $20 from DVD XPack (www.intervideo.com), NVidia DVD Decoder (www.nvidia.com), PowerDVD (www.gocyberlink.com), or Cineplay DVD Decoder (www. sonic .com).

  • Buy DVD burner /player software . All of the companies listed above except NVidia sell DVD software for watching and burning DVDs. Since you need to buy DVD-burning software anyway (if you've got DVD burner), buying the two together may save you a few bucks.




PCs
PCs: The Missing Manual
ISBN: 0596100930
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 206
Authors: Andy Rathbone

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