Tuesday, June 26, 2007

DVD Playback problems?

Ok, so I know about codecs and MPG’s, what about DVD Problems in general?

You have just purchased a new dvd movie and want to watch it on the computer. You insert it into the cd rom and nothing happens. What do you do now?

You may not have noticed the Windows Auto Insert box has launched and is sitting behind your open windows. To verify this, click and hold ALT, then press TAB. This opens the task switcher. Hold the ALT key and press TAB again to cycle the open programs. If you don’t like the fact that there are no text descriptions in the tasks, you can download the Microsoft Power Tools replacement called Alt-Tab Replacement.

Once you have located the Auto Insert prompt, you can then select from the various menu options. Of these options, are default associations to programs. One program you may use is a Media Player to play the DVD. One problem, Windows Media Player 6.4 and upwards to 9 do not include a DVD decoder. They cannot play a DVD movie without the help of another DVD decoder program. Most of these are available in a trial mode, and some are included on the DVD itself. Interactual DVD player seems to be included on most retail dvd’s and will attempt to automatically install on your system when you initially insert the dvd. Of the many DVD players, Interactual often causes more problems and requires many updates. Search Google for DVD player software and you will be inundated with choices. Power DVD is one you may investigate.

What happens if the dvd doesn’t play and it just spinning with the read light flashing endlessly? Chances are that you have some fingerprints or dirt on the surface. The best way to clean a cd or dvd is to treat it as you would your eyeglasses. Use a non abrasive cloth and wipe away from the centre in a straight line towards the outside. It’s not recommended to wipe in a circular motion. Repeat the process until the surface is free of any oils or dirt. If that doesn’t work, you can use some water to slightly dampen the cloth. Make sure there is no water or any dampness on the dvd before you try it in your drive.

Removing scratches from cd and dvd’s is often a matter of cleaning, however in more severe cases, you may be able to use some of the products on the market to repair scratches. Deeper scratches may require a resurfacing of the dvd, and honestly is a 50/50 chance. Solvents such as denatured alcohol may be used to try to clean the surface of embedded dirt. If the dvd shows signs of damage on the label side, such flaking or missing portions, you can try a black permanent sharpie to cover up the spots. This technique should only be very small areas, and should be used in moderation. Unless it is absolutely necessary. Again, no guarantees if this will work, but it may help.

If you're looking for a quick solution to most DVD playback problems, you might try a different player. such as VLC.

Codecs that always seem to fix the problem: