DVD players and even DVD recorders have become standard
devices on computer systems. They allow a user to play CD-ROMs as well
as DVDs. However in order to play DVDs, the DVD must be decoded by
software on the computer before it can be played.
A decoder performs three functions:
- It unlocks the CSS copy protection applied to the video
files on a DVD movie disc;
- It decodes the MPEG2 formatting applied to video
- It displays the video through a viewer program installed in
Developing and certifying a DVD decoder requires that additional
licensing and royalty fees be paid to the various patentholders of DVD
technology. This is why DVD decoders are not available as "free"
software. Usually when you buy a DVD player for a computer it comes
with DVD decoder software, but what if you bought a second-hand
computer or purchased a refurbished computer and it didnt come with
decoder software. What are your options then?
Is there a free DVD decoder available?
Although there isnt a standalone DVD decoder that is free, there is a
free solution. VLC
is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video
formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs,
VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server
to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth
The VLC media
does not need a decoder to play DVDs, so its the best
free solution for using a computer DVD player with no DVD decoder
What are the disadvantages of using VLC?
You'll only be able to use the VLC media player
to play your DVDs, if you have other media players that will player
DVD's including the Windows Media Player, the InterActual player, or
others, then you'll want to purchase a DVD decoder to allow these other
players to work.
Some sites on the Internet are distributing VLC
bundled with spyware
. Which VideoLAN, the company behind VLC,
is against. To combat this, make sure you are downloading from the
official site www.videolan.org/vlc
and not some third party host.
What's a good DVD Decoder to Purchase?
If you are wanting to use Windows Media player to play DVDs, I
recommend purchasing Corel's
Its a wonderful package that instantly adds DVD
playback to Windows Media Player in Windows XP. Installs the same
theater-quality video and audio decoders proven by over 45 million
users of WinDVD - the world's leading software DVD player.
If you are looking for a complete DVD solution, I would recommend
Is There A Utility to Check My Computer for DVD Decoder Software?
you have DVD Decoder software installed on your computer, but you are
having trouble playing DVDs, download this utility to check for
Where to get DVDs
you get the DVD decoder installed, its time to get the DVDs to play on
your computer. I prefer having the DVDs come straight to my door
instead of having to go to a video store. My favorite way of doing this
is using Netflix
. If you haven't heard of Netflix
you are definitely missing out. For a low monthly subscription (as low
as $5.99), you can have DVDs delivered straight to your house and you
can keep them as long as you like (no late fees !). Its definitely the
way to go, no driving to the store, fighting traffic, or finding out
the DVD you wanted to rent has already been checked out. Now, Netflix
is even offering streaming movies to your TV via a Roku, Wii, and other gaming systems. You can even get Netflix with a Blu-Ray Player
If you prefer the video store approach, you can always choose Blockbuster Online
, it works like Netflix, with no late fees or penalties. Blockbuster Online
even provides you with coupon that allows you to rent one free movie
per month from your local Blockbuster store, so you dont have to wait
for your next movie to arrive. The best of both worlds.
What about Software to Backup DVDs?
so you can view DVD's on your computer, but what you really want is to
backup the DVDs in case of disaster. There is software still out there
that allows you to do this, one of the most popular is DVD-Cloner III
software will allow the user to make Perfect 1:1 copies with no
watermark and no warning screen. You can also make unlimited copies
from a copy. AND there is a 30 day money back warranty. Check it out for yourself.
What about Software to Burn CDs?
If you are interested in FREE software to burn CDs, then visit my page about it here