I can’t believe it! I have a brand new Dell laptop with a sleek 14″ widescreen, perfect for watching movies on the fly. But when I wanted to live in Middle Earth for a few hours, I couldn’t. All of the sudden, my XP Media Center Edition machine wouldn’t play a DVD. How can this be?
I’m not stupid when it comes to computers so I did my best to figure out the problem. WMP 11 gave me the following message:
“Windows Media Player cannot play this DVD because there is a problem with digital copy protection between your DVD drive, decoder, and video card. Try installing an updated driver for your video card.”
So I (foolishly?) followed the instructions. I got nowhere.
I should mention at this point that no DVD playback option worked. Media Center, Dell Media Experience, WMP 11, InterActual and Real Player all failed. They each gave me some form of error message (except Dell which just didn’t work).
I looked around Microsoft’s site. They had no information. No, I take that back. After rolling back to WMP 10 I got a slightly different error message. When I searched for it Microsoft gave me a link to information about that particular error. The resulting page said something like: “We have no information about this error.” Then, down below I was asked “Was this information helpful?” Are you kidding me?!
I figured there was some codec that all the players were using in common. So, I downloaded Cyberlink’s PowerDVD thinking it might have a new codec that would replace the faulty one being used. It worked! For exactly one second. As soon as the movie started it was jumpy. I tried a different DVD with the same result. Time for bed.
How about Dell?
The next night I broke down and dug through the Dell site. I tried a number of fixes and troubleshooters to no avail. I really swallowed my pride and attempted to chat with a tech. Busy. So, I emailed a request explaining the whole thing. Surprisingly, I received a response fairly quickly. (I’m sure it was automated.) And it said:
Some customers have experienced problems with Sonic Cineplayer. These problems might include no DVD playback, distorted or jittery screen, and/or loss of audio. Attempting to play DVD video with Windows Media Player will exhibit the same problems listed above because it uses the same Cineplayer DVD codec. These problems are urgently being resolved. If you have experienced these types of problems, please visit…
So, I clicked the link and read this:
1. Sonic Cineplayer May Begin Displaying Problems Due to a DVD Codec Issue.
On December 1, 2006, Sonic Cineplayer may begin displaying one or more of the following problems:
- No DVD playback
- Distorted or jittery screen
- Loss of audio
This is due to an error in the Cineplayer DVD codec. However, an upcoming patch will be released as soon as December 6, 2006 to correct this issue. This article will be updated with the file name and location when the patch has been released.
The answer to this whole mess? SONIC CINEPLAYER STOPPED WORKING ON DECEMBER 1ST!! The suggested workaround: change the system time on your computer. WHAT?! In order to watch a DVD on my computer I have to trick the system? Don’t get me wrong, I understand (logically) why this works. I am just stupefied that after I paid for a machine, DVD drive and accompanying software I can’t use them because somebody didn’t write their program correctly.
This whole situation smacks of DRM shenanigans.