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DVD Movies Play But Won't Display in XP!

by 2Cold Scorpio / July 10, 2008 8:18 AM PDT

I'm having a bit of a problem...when I try and play a DVD movie on my XP installation, the picture won't display at all: all I see is a blank screen; there's no picture. The blank screen might be a different color, and there might be a different colored square or two in the display. I can hear sound (a lot of the time anyways), but no picture. This problem does not occur in my Windows Vista installation on the same machine (and that installation has very little installed...including just the default Vista codecs). The DVD drive itself works fine; movies play perfectly in Vista, and even XP has no trouble reading DVDs (WMP11 in XP recognises the disk in the drive, games play with no problems, etc.). Even after installing FFDShow, it doesn't work. Any ideas?

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One more thing. DVD player software.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 10, 2008 8:24 AM PDT

Try VLC PLAYER and see if it works. If so, you need DVD player software which is never included with XP Home or XP Pro.

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I think I already have proper DVD software installed...
by 2Cold Scorpio / July 10, 2008 8:53 AM PDT

I'm pretty sure I have DVD playing software: I have Windows Media Player 11, PCFriendly DVD, and the DVD player included in Roxio 10. As I said, I also installed all of the default codecs from FFDShow (except the one for FLAC files, which I already had a codec for). I'll give VLC Player a try, though...

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the DVD player included in Roxio 10
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 10, 2008 11:27 AM PDT

Is not a proper DVD player. It's only good for use in Roxio, but they may not have been clear about that.

WMP is also not able to play DVDs as supplied from Microsoft. Don't make me find the document on that.

This leaves me to comment on PCFriendly DVD. I read "Numerous DVD titles from major movie producers between 1996 and 2000 come enabled with ``PCFriendly,'' an application developed by InterActual Technologies that tracks DVD usage. The system is designed to identify users persistently, without using an HTTP cookie, thus bypassing any privacy-enhancing technologies like cookie management software or browser configurations. The identifying token is persistent through product registration and PCFriendly use."

Sounds like spyware to me. Why install such?

Now where is your DVD player software?

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Ah, ok
by 2Cold Scorpio / July 10, 2008 10:06 PM PDT

I didn't know that about PCFriendly DVD (It'll be uninstalled later today).

A bit of an update: I installed VLC Player and movies will play in it. However, two problems:

First, DVDs in VLC Player...don't look good. The picture is grainy (even at the standard DVD resolution; full-screen amplifies this) and looks washed out. Considering I have a pretty darn good LCD monitor (22" Samsung 226BW S-Panel @ 1680x1050), this strikes me as odd. Even stranger is that the test DVD, The Matrix, is a high visual-quality DVD. I mean, it looks better on my 9-year old standard definition television...

Secondly, even after installing VLC Player, I still can't play DVDs in WMP11 (my preferred DVD player, due to its better in-movie controls (in my opinion, of course) when the movie is full screen. I don't understand why WMP11 won't play movies, especially since my old laptop of several years (a Dell Inspiron 8100) could play movies in WMP without any issue...and it was an XP machine too (initially XP Home; I later changed it to XP Pro). I just ask because VLC's in-movie controls when full-screen seem a bit cumbersome. WMP11 also allows you to navigate on-screen menus with the mouse, which I always liked.

I thank you for your help so far, and hope you, or anyone else, can help me with the above. I just find it odd DVDs look worse on my computer monitor (which is *almost* high-def (and easily exceeds 720p...), and that my favorite player which worked fine on my old system does not now. Sad

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All you need is proper DVD player software.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 10, 2008 10:58 PM PDT
In reply to: Ah, ok

VLC PLAYER can play DVDs but does not "upscale" so don't expect miracles if you play beyond the usual 480 line output that is NTSC.

Here's the article about XP, WMP and DVD playback ->

There are plenty more where that came from. So far nothing is in error on your machine and all is working just as it should be given your software collection installed.

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by 2Cold Scorpio / July 11, 2008 12:52 AM PDT

I wonder what I *did* have installed on my old laptop that enabled DVD playback in WMP9 (and later 10 and 11)...Sadly, all those XP plug-ins cost money (that I just don't have right now).

Also, is it strange that the DVDs don't look very good in VLC, even in windowed mode (to replicate the typical DVD resolution). Because even windowed, it looked worse than on my old standard-def TV...

Are there any free players that *do* upscale?

I don't mean to be a bother; and I appreciate your help and patience. I'm just trying to fully understand the issue and explore my options. One last question...would using the MPEG-4 decoders from FFDShow in VLC Player yield better-quality playback? If so, how do I get VLC to use them (I already have WMP11 using FFDShow's codecs, and I have seen some improvement in other file formats there, though nothing substantial).

Thank you once again for your time, sir.

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Just one last thing.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 11, 2008 2:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks!

VLC looks fine here but my video card is set to millions of colors. If you did a recent reinstall then it's possible your video settings are quite there. lists other free open source players.

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No, video-card colors are...
by 2Cold Scorpio / July 11, 2008 2:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Just one last thing.

set correctly: 32-bit. Windows is set to the same, so that can't be it...

I'll look over that list. Thanks again!

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