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Best DVD software players

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by fatrich, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. fatrich

    fatrich
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    Hi
    i know different people have there own views on different kinds of dvd software players, currently i am using Win dvd v3 with Win Me and a radeon Ve graphics card and to a point i have been reletivley happy with it but i have noticed that it struggles with fast panning movies like "the fast and the furious" especially in the first race where the action is fast and the movie pans in and out but the picture judders quite a lot.

    I am thinking of upgrading my hcpc with a few adjustments to:

    Win Xp
    maybe Power DVD (delux version) or
    Theater Tek DVD player
    maybe the new Radeon ve 7000

    Which DVD player is the best alround player that is compatable with Win xp and the Radeon 7000 card, i have the m-audiophile 24/96 sound card will that compatable with the DVD players and Win Xp?.

    If i can get improved picture quality just from upgrading the software dvd player then for the time being that maybe the way to go.(untill i get more funds)

    Any help or advise would be greatly appriciated

    richard
     
  2. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    Hi,
    I've not tried PowerDVD, but have tried most others.

    I'm using WinME, not WinXP and would recommend TheaterTek. It is the best PQ, smoothest pans and relatively easy to setup and use. I have Fast & The Furious, but have not watched it yet. Probably will do in the week and will report back.

    The latest TT patch v1.1. apparently allows H/W assisted decoding on Radeons under WinXP.

    I also like it because v1.1 allows EXACT overlay sizing per resolution, which is useful in minimising scaling artefacts, even on Radeons.

    I use it with a m-audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard, which replaced my Soundblaster Live player card.

    Is it a R1 or R2 disc?

    If it's region 1, have you tried using Powerstrip to ensure you get exactly 71.928 vertical refresh rate Hz?

    If it's R2, have you tried exactly 75Hz?

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  3. fatrich

    fatrich
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    Hi Rob
    it is the region 1 version of the fast and the furious and i have power strip whic is set to the correct refresh rate.

    would be interested to know how the movie looks through your TT player, im i right in thinking the TT is approx $70, is it a download version or do they send you a pack containing the disc? and i believe that there is a very long number you have to put in to access the software.
     
  4. Rob.Screene

    Rob.Screene
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    No on-line download available. Only update patches are available on-line.

    The shipping looks horrible for the UK, but if you ask on comments, it can actually be sent in a small envelope and works out much less than the 'estimate shipping of about $60+$60 product' looks like on the horrible order screen.

    Took about 4 days to arrive (!) and I think cost me about £70 all-in.

    The long serial# and keycode delivered on the CD allows a 7-day trial. During which you use the inbuilt register button (didn't work for me as my HTPC doesn't have email or internet) or send your machine# and serial# numbers to TheaterTek. e.g.
    -------------
    To: register@theatertek.com
    Subject: register tt please

    serial # 142-P36nnnnnnnnnR
    SoftLockID 3nnn-8nnn
    -------------
    I then got my permanent serial back in about 6 hours. Not brilliant, but worth it for TT IMHO.

    Superb support available from Immersive and other users on http://www.immersiveforum.com

    cheers,
    Rob.
     
  5. NickBull

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    Richard,

    I've recently upgraded to the TT player and I am suitably impressed. I was always a bit critical of WINDVD's panning, no matter what I did it was always a bit juddery and motion had a slight blurriness to it.

    Whilst TT isn't 100% perfect yet, it is a lot better. PQ is great and pans and motion are a lot better. The opening Moulin Rouge dance scene was very cinfusing with WinDVD, TT makes it a lot more watchable.

    I'm still using the SB Live 5.1 card, but I believe that the M-audio improves the pans even further as that was the card that was used for most of th testing. I am going to get one pretty soon.

    It is simple to use, on first loading you wonder about the simplicity of it all, but as soon as you spin a disk you'll realise it is superb.

    I selected the US postal service shipping cost ($16) and it came 5 days after I ordered it, and that was with a weekend in between.

    The registration numbers are a bit annoying, but they rightly want to protect the product. Customer service is quite good over the Immersive Forum, with the writers on almost every day giving swift responses! Also a lot of useful info from other users.

    There's no import duty to pay, they mark the package with 'Software Sample' so you don't pay anything other than the stated price. This isn't a lie, as no purchase made until you register after the trial.

    Cheers

    Nick
     
  6. fatrich

    fatrich
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    Cheers Nick and Rob
    I will try and do some reasearch some folk say that Power dvd is better than TT but it's i suppose down to personal preference, i would how ever be interested if either TT or Power dvd are compatable with Win Xp.

    Nick i know u have run Win DVD as well as TT can you have them both on your computer at the same time and switch as and when u please? does that cause any kind of problems?

    cheers

    richard
     
  7. NickBull

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    I have removed WinDVD now, I did a full reformat of the HDD and lost the key, TT came along and i haven't got back round to re activating WinDVD.

    However, from what I can gater, it is ok to have WinDVD, power DVD and TT sitting along side each other. The problem is with the ATI player as that uses similar filters (the Ravicent Cinemaster things) and TT can pick up conflicting filters.

    I've never tried PowerDVD, it was an option, but TT got a few nods from other people and I decided to give it a do. For the sake of the $16 I'd lose if i didn't take it, i though it was worth it.

    I now don't feel I need to upgrade or tweak anymore, although the new sound card will be fortcoming when I get a new Amp.

    I beleive that there are new versions of the video filters on the horizon which are due to make further picture improvements, it's just a case of ironing out some of the problems with them before they are released, I think these may be just a download!

    Nick
     
  8. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Both TT and Power DVD are compatible with Windows XP, I like PowerDVD XP quite a lot but its not up to TT or Cineplayer 4 standards in term of picture quality. It is very simple to install and use, very few people have problems with it. The sound support in PowerDVD XP is probably the best. I use Zoomplayer with Cineplayer 4 decoders, I think this combination represents the current state-of-the-art for DVD playback, however configuration can be troublesome and the Cineplayer audio decoder doesn't like the MAudio cards. Both TT and PowerDVD XP are very good choices.

    Jeff
     
  9. fatrich

    fatrich
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    Just aquired a copy of Power dvd v4 (delux version) should take about an hour to down load will try it tonight and compare to Win dvd and if it's not too clever than i will buy TT (out of stock at the mo)
    thanks for all your comments
    richard
     
  10. fatrich

    fatrich
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    ok bit the bullett and bought the TT player however immersive seem to be out of stock so ordered from one of there suppliers "digital connection" just awaiting a price on shipping,

    Nick any chance u can run through the installation proceedures / registration proceedures for me thanks

    richard
     
  11. NickBull

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    Richard,

    Iallation is pretty simple, first I installed Direct x 8.1 off the TT disc, then I ran the install of the player , I un installed the ATI player first.

    It asks you to restart, then when you click on the shortcut, it asks for the numbers on the back of the case. This is a bit annoying as the numbers are very long. If it is tyoped wrong you don't get the confirm button.

    Once you are in, I think it asks for another restart!

    During the trial it keeps prompting for registration, once you agree all it seems to do is Email your details and they send a permanent code back, I just pasted it into the activate box and it didn't look like anything had happened. Next time I started TT no prompt and had it 4 weeks now so it obviously works.

    The immersive forum has a lot of info on removing all traces of ATI player and filters. Also the recomended Radeon drivers are 7075 or 7093, I'm using the 7075 I received with the players. Seeimingly the player is optimised for these and the newer drivers, 7198, have different defaults?

    Nick
     
  12. fatrich

    fatrich
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    Thanks Nick
    by the way i agree with your choice of rugby team went to Huddersfiels a few weeks ago they were great less said about the kellogs nutro grain cup though!!!!!!!!.

    Just a quick one /two even when get your permenant code through e-mail did you have enter the number on to your computer? and i have a radeon Ve32Mb graphics card will the standard drivers be suitable for the playback from the TT player

    cheers

    richard

    ps when are u planning on getting Roland to re calibrate / service your PJ i believe u need to get it done at least every 12 months let me know with us both living close to each other he could do us both on the same day and keep the costs down .
     
  13. NickBull

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    Cheers Richard, we were dire in the coco pops cup! But looking forward to the Wigan game on the 1st march. Having a bit of a party as tricky to get there friday night and putting it up on the big screen.

    I think standard drivers will be fine, If you look in the hardware profile it should tell you the drivers your using by clicking on one of the buttons. Not sure which one, but seem to remember it's pretty obvious!

    I havn't though about the service for the pj yet. I got it in November so it will be a few months yet. However Roland is testing some fan mods that I could be interested in, supposed to be almost silent. I think they're about £150, simple mods, but a fair bit of work I think. I am considering that, so might get the service done at the same time. I think he's still testing them though.

    The code needs entering, I think a cut and paste did it.

    When are you planning on a service, there's a couple of lads in manchester who got pj's within a day or two of me, so could reduce travel costs if we can organise ourselves.

    Nick
     
  14. EvilCartman

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    Just thought I'd add my tuppen'orth - I recently took delivery of a PC (P4, Radeon 8500, WinXP) which I am going to customise so that I can use it as a "multi-media" centre, inlcuding DVD playback (eventually for output to a PJ). Not havng owned a PC since the days of Windows 3.1, I'm pretty green technically, so I'm learning as I go along, and finding this forum extremely useful.

    Out of the box, the damned thing would barely play DVDs at all! ATI DVD player would crash at the drop of a hat (causing my system to reboot), or hang at the drop of another hat - very frustrating, as the picture quality was sharp, and clean, and juddering was minimal (oddly, it was better at 1024 x 768 than at 800 x 600). Windows media player was slightly more stable, in the sense that Liechtenstein is slightly more populous than San Marino.

    Some reading on these forums, the AVS forums, and on the ATI website gave me some hope that a driver update would be a fix. So I spent a couple of hours last night meticuously cleaning out my ATI drivers and installing the shiny new catalyst ones (getting a nice increase to my 3DMark score in the process). Wow! The DVD player doesn't crash my PC anymore every time I go to full-screen, hurrah! Oh, it just crashes a few minutes later...


    Same story for Windows Media player. Also, neither player seems at all capable of handling menus in a usable way - my R2 disc of 2001: A Space Odyssey almost caused my PC to jump out of my wndow in despair. Right, I thought, screw this for a game of soldiers. New software it is. Can I be bothered even trying the updated ATI DVD player? Can I bollix.

    Theatertek was out - I didn't want to wait for delivery, and apparently it doesn't yet work so well with the new ATI drivers. So it was PowerDVD v. Win DVD. And, er, I could barely tell the difference. Maybe Win DVD was a *touch* sharper in PQ (but still not as sharp as ATI was for the average minute-and-a-half that it worked), but I couldn't see any difference in juddering on pans, so the slightly more flexible-looking interface of PowerDVD won the day. USD 60 well spent.

    Now I just need to get the top off my new PC so that I can fiddle with the IDE connections for the DVD player... Damn this skipping... and hack the region-coding...and upgrade the power supply...and change the fans...

    Has anybody else had similar problems with ATI DVD player? Did they turn out to be fixable?
     
  15. NickBull

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    The filters for the ATI player are great, but the player is tempramental. I believe you can download ZOOMPLAYER, which allows you to use a combination of VIDEO and AUDIO filters.

    If you select the Cineplayer4 filters from the ATI and the Sound from POWERDVD you will get the best picture.

    What version of ATI DVD player have you got, I had loads of lock ups, but I downloaded an upgrade and it was a lot better.

    Jeff, the moderator, is the current expert on ZOOM player.

    Cheers

    nick
     
  16. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I'm also using Zoom player as my DVD player/front end.

    I use the ATI Player 5 video filters, and the WinDVD 2.8 audio filters. Picture quality is excellent - especialy with h/w enabled. Sound is fine too. I have a Davis DLP pj.

    I installed the ATI DVD player (didn't run it), then installed WinDVD. I upgraded it's audio with the free upgrade, but made sure it didn't overight the 2.6 video filter (rename it, install upgrade, remove new video filter, rename old one back).

    This gives me the best picture quality along with DD/DTS ES/EX sound output via spdif to my amp.

    The only problem is that the occasional disk has trouble with audio - plays fine but without sound. Some jiggery pokery can get it working, but if not, I just fall back to WinDVD with YXY. Obviously picture quality isn't as good, but with h/w enabled, it's not far off. I don't seem to get any noticable problems with pans using WinDVD.

    I might try upgrading the audio to 3.1 for better compatibility.

    HTH

    Gary.
     
  17. EvilCartman

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    Thanks for the advice - I will probably try that at some point, but I'm still struggling with the basics here!

    Why does DVD replay on my PC skip forward a split-second every so often? It doesn't make it unwatchable, but it is annoying. My Drive is a master on the secondary IDE input, so that ain't it, and DMA is enabled...
     
  18. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hqven't got the pc on a network, or have something like a virus checker operating in the background do you?

    Things like that may cause the pc to share it's resources and cause the dvd player to momentarily pause, then catch up with itself when the other process is finished.

    Gary.
     
  19. EvilCartman

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    I've got Norton in my system tray, but I'm disabling autoprotect before I play any DVDs. Most frustrating...
     
  20. brad123

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    Hey fatrich, seems we are very close. Im from Halifax also.

    What set up you got. Im interested in doing a home cinema pc for my Panasonic PT AE100. Ive been asking around for info on how to do this.
     
  21. EvilCartman

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    So, OK, now I'm running Zoom player with DVD Genie, and using the audio filters from Power DVD 4.0 XP and the video filters from ATI DVD Player 5.0. My DVD ROM is a Sony DDU 1621, and I am using RPC 1 firmware version 1.6 from the firmware pages. The video card is a Radeon 8500. The *current* problems I am having are:

    1) I can't get multiregion working properly. DVD Genie works well with Power DVD used as a standalone player, but I can't seem to change regions in Zoom - I get the feeling I need to change the Windows region code using DVD Genie, or will region killer take care of this for me as a more transparent substitute for DVD Genie?

    2) Using the ATI video filter, I sometimes get a very strange colour cast over the whole picture. This also happens if I enable hardware acceleration in Power DVD. Will the filters directly available from Ravisent direct resolve this? Or do I need to accept the slightly inferior picture quality of Power DVD?

    3) I'm still getting skipping in the playback: forward skips of no more than half a second every few minutes. The DVD-ROM is an IDE master device, DMA is enabled, Zoom is on high priority in Task Manager, Messenger is switched off, Auto-Protect is disabled in Norton. This is driving me crazy! Does anybody else have a similar problem? I don't see how this could be an issue of system resources or bus capacity, maybe it's the drive itself that is skipping data?

    I really would appreciate any helpful suggestions! I don't want to admit defeat and go back to my DVD player *just* yet...
     
  22. Rob.Screene

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    Buy TheaterTek springs to mind.

    You might even have trouble with that because it can apparently have problems with lots of different filteres registered. It doesn't seem to install perfectly for all users, though the support forum is well attended.

    TheaterTek's (reviscent) audio filter will not do dolby prologic-2 though for 2 channel DVD's like PowerDVD 4's. This is only of revevance if you have a 6 channel+ analog output soundcard to get the DPL2 analog output through.

    regards,
    Rob.
     
  23. fatrich

    fatrich
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    hi rob
    i have the tt player which is fantastic i also have win dvd3 and win dvd4 the first 2 work great but windvd4 i cannot get any sound out of it even after fiddling with the audio settings i have it running through sp/dif like the other 2 players and still nothing i have e-mailed intervideo as yet awaiting a response (unlike theatertek u get a response from andrew within a matter of hours, if any one can help i would be greatful,
    i am using the m-audiophile 24/96 card via sp/dif, and a radeon ve graphics card

    cheers

    richard
     

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