DVD movies are made in factories that encode and burn the video files to discs. The conventional appliance that is used to watch DVD movies is to insert the disc into a set top DVD player, such as that found in a home entertainment center and connected to floor model or flat-screen television set. Many households continue to use a standalone DVD player, but as individuals, many people also use a desktop or laptop PC to watch a DVD movie. Unfortunately, getting the disc to play on a computer is sometimes very complicated.
The Windows operating system needs what is called a "decoder" in order to recognize and have compatibility with the video on the disc. If you have a fairly modern computer it is probably compatible with DVD as well as CD discs, and the necessary hardware components are in place. If you see an error on the screen as you go to play a DVD disc then you may need to update the DVD decoder in Windows. The following steps apply mostly to the Windows Vista operating system, but the Windows XP and Windows 7 operating system share some of the same functionality when it comes to troubleshooting the DVD decoder.
Click the Start button in left corner of the Windows desktop. This reveals the Start menu. Input the word AutoPlay in the blank search field at the bottom of the menu. Click on the icon when it appears at the top of the menu. You will use the AutoPlay tool in Windows to find and download a DVD decoder.
Select DVD Movie from the available options. Choose a DVD decoder from the list. This tells the Windows operating system which DVD decoder program you want to use.
If you don't see a DVD decoder at all, you may have to navigate to Microsoft's website or your computer manufacturer's website to download the file.
Expand the "Enhanced DVD Movie." Choose a DVD decoder program from the list as well. Windows will use this as the default selection.
Select "Save" to set your changes in stone, confirming in Windows that you want to use that program as your DVD decoder.
Put the DVD movie inside your computer and begin playing the disc, to see if the DVD decoder works in Windows.
You may have to update the firmware in addition to updating the DVD decoder in Windows.
Sources and Citations
- " Codecs: frequently asked questions." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Codecs-frequently-asked-questions>.
- " MPEG and DVD video: frequently asked questions." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/MPEG-and-DVD-video-frequently-asked-questions>.
- " Open the Windows Media Player DVD troubleshooter." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Open-the-Windows-Media-Player-DVD-troubleshooter>.
- " Play a CD or DVD." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Play-a-CD-or-DVD>.
- " Play a CD or DVD in Windows Media Player." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Play-a-CD-or-DVD-in-Windows-Media-Player>.
- " Play an audio or video file: frequently asked questions." Microsoft Windows. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012.
- "Best Windows 7 DVD Player | Windows 7 Themes." Windows 7 Themes. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://windows7themes.net/best-windows-7-dvd-player.html>.
- "Fixing ‘Cannot Play This DVD’ Error Message In Windows Media Player." Addictive Tips - Tips to make you smarter!. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/fixing-cannot-play-this-dvd-error-message-in-windows-media-player/>.
- "Microsoft Windows XP - Supported file types." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/supportedfileformats.mspx>.
- "Microsoft Windows XP - To play a DVD." Microsoft Corporation. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/toplayadvd.mspx>.
- "Windows 7 Filter Tweaker: Media Player DirectShow Decoder." Addictive Tips - Tips to make you smarter!. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2012. <http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/windows-7-filter-tweaker-media-player-directshow-decoder/>.