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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Resolving DVD and Blu-ray Movie Problems (Windows 7)

This document applies to HP and Compaq Desktop computers with Windows 7.

This document is intended to fix problems that can happen when playing DVD or Blu-ray movies on a computer. First, test the drive to make sure the drive can read the file structure of a DVD or Blu-ray disc. Then, if the drive can properly read a disc, use one of the other sections that best fits the situation. If you cannot find a section that fits your situation, try reinstalling the DVD or Blu-ray software to see if the problem resolves.

The movie skips, temporarily freezes, or the playback is not smooth

Use each of the following steps, using the order given and playing a movie after performing each step, until the playback problem is resolved:

Step 1: Cleaning the movie disc

CAUTION: Do not change any jumper setting while the computer is on. Damage to the motherboard can result.

A dirty or scratched disc surface is the main reason that a movie can skip when played on a computer. Because the reading area on a disc is much smaller, DVD and Blu-ray movies are much more susceptible to skipping and playback problems than CDs. Skipping is much more likely to happen with movies that have been handled frequently, like those from a movie rental store.

To fix playback problems, clean the disc. Clean discs with filtered water and a lint-free cloth. Wipe from the center of the disc to the outer edge. If cleaning does not work, buy a CD/DVD repair kit available at electronics stores.

If cleaning the disc does not work and all discs play erratically, continue to the next step. If one or just a few movies have problems, the discs may be bad. Data on discs can degrade over time.

To increase the life of DVD or Blu-rays discs:

  • Keep discs in their cases when not in use.

  • Avoid exposing the discs to direct sunlight.

  • Never slide or rotate discs across any surface.

Step 2: Logging off the Internet while playing movies

Software programs can access the Internet or network while a movie plays. This can disrupt the movie. Disconnect from the Internet before playing a movie. If you are not connected to the Internet while playing movies and movies still skip, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Virus scans

Do not watch movies when the computer is performing a routine system scan for viruses. Instead, change the virus scan time to a time that does not interfere with your viewing. Or, if you disconnect from the Internet, disable your security software temporarily. Be sure to re-enable it when you are done watching the movie.

Step 4: Turning off extra peripherals (connected devices)

Disconnecting non-essential devices that are connected to the computer can free up valuable system resources and can result in better movie performance. Turn off printers, multifunction devices (or all-in-ones), and scanners, and unplug cameras, thumb drives, and portable music devices. If this does not help, go to the next step.

Step 5: Making sure that your DVD or Blu-ray drive and player software have the latest updates

Some models of DVD or Blu-ray drives show improved video playback after upgrading the drive firmware. The latest DVD or Blu-ray player software for your computer may contain updates that address playback performance problems. Use the HP Support and Drivers site to find and install DVD or Blu-ray drive firmware updates or player software updates. For more information, refer to Obtaining Software and Drivers .

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Copy of a DVD or Blu-ray movie do not play

The data stored on most DVD or Blu-ray movies is encrypted and does not allow a playable movie to be copied. Making a normal disc copy of a commercial movie produces a disc that cannot be played - this is normal.

Unprotected DVD or Blu-ray movies, such as home videos, can be copied and played.

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Testing the drive to see if it can read files on the DVD or Blu-ray movie disc

If the drive cannot read the files stored on any DVD or any Blu-ray movie discs, then you know that you need to troubleshoot the CD/DVD drive and not troubleshoot the discs and movie player software. Do the following to make sure your drive is capable of reading the file structure of a disc.

  1. Insert a disc into the disc drive - a DVD or Blu-ray movie or data disc.

    If a window opens automatically, close it.

  2. Click Start , and then click Computer .

  3. Right-click the drive icon and select Open .

    If the tray ejects or a message appears asking to insert a disc, the drive is not recognizing the disc. Try another disc and make sure the drive is truly a DVD or Blu-ray drive.

    Figure 1: Exploring a DVD

    Exploring a DVD
  4. You should see a listing of files/folders in the right pane of Explorer. If you inserted a conventional movie, you should see the folders VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS.

    If there are no folders or an error opens, the following problems may exist:

    • The disc may be bad, try another disc.

    • The disc type may be incompatible with the type of drive in the computer. For example, the drive may be designed to read DVDs, but not Blu-ray discs.

    • The drive may need to have the firmware upgraded. Check the software and driver page for the model number of your computer for drive firmware upgrades.

    • After trying multiple discs the problem still occurs, see Drive Cannot Read Discs in Windows 7 .

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A specific movie title does not play

Reasons why a specific movie title will not play and what you can do:

  • If you cannot play a specific movie title yet other movie titles play, the most likely problem is that the movie disc is defective - scratched, dirty, sun damaged, or it has a manufacturing flaw. To try and recover a disc, clean the disc with filtered water and a lint-free cloth. Wipe from the center of the disc to the outer edge. If cleaning does not work, buy a CD/DVD repair kit available at electronics stores.

  • If the movie is a Blu-ray title and other Blu-ray movies play, then the Blu-ray compatible DVD software might need to be updated. Why? Because Blu-ray content protection can be updated by the movie industry which requires new codes before the title can be viewed. Connect to the Internet, open the DVD software, and use its update feature to install the latest update. For example, if your HP computer came with a Blu-ray compatible drive and HP MediaSmart software, go to Settings and click Update to get the latest updates. If problems persist, see the next section Unable to view Blu-ray movies .

  • The drive's firmware may need to be updated if the movie is using a disc format the drive does not currently recognize. To make sure that the drive firmware is updated, download and install any available drive firmware updates from HP that matches the type of drive installed in your computer. For more information about how to find and update the firmware for your HP or Compaq computer, refer to the HP support article Obtaining Software and Drivers .

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Unable to view Blu-ray movies

Before you can watch high-definition Blu-ray movies, all of the components in the system must meet the following requirements.

  • The optical drive must be compatible with the Blu-ray disc format - also called BD format. This is can be found by looking for a Blu-ray label on the drive door or by reading the product specifications for your model of computer.

  • The monitor or HDTV should support High-Definition Content Protection (HDCP). You can view the movie on non-HDCP display devices by setting the monitor or TV to a display resolution of 480p or less.

  • A Blu-ray movie disc (you cannot use an HD DVD in a Blu-ray drive that does not also support the HD DVD format).

  • A software movie player that supports Blu-ray, such as HP MediaSmart.

  • A DVI cable or HDMI cable connection (for viewing resolutions beyond 480p)

  • An Internet connection is required to view Blu-ray movies for an extended period of time (for AACS key renewal). Not needed for initial setup and viewing, but required for continued use. The software player automatically performs the updates when connected to the Internet.

  • The drive's firmware may need to be updated if the movie is using a disc format the drive does not currently recognize. To make sure that the drive firmware is updated, download and install any available drive firmware updates from HP that matches the type of drive installed in your computer. For more information about how to find and update the firmware for your HP or Compaq computer, refer to the HP support article Obtaining Software and Drivers .

  • If the movie is a newer Blu-ray title and other Blu-ray movies play, then the Blu-Ray compatible DVD software might need to be updated. Why? Because Blu-ray content protection can be updated by the movie industry which requires new codes before the title can be viewed.

    NOTE: The software manufacturer may not have software available to play the latest releases. If an update is not available that enables you to watch a specific title, check back for updates on a regular basis.
    • HP MediaSmart DVD : Go to Settings and click Update to get the latest updates.

    • HP DVD Play : Click the DVD Play icon in the lower left corner of the screen to check for updates.

    • Other Blu-ray software that came with your computer : Check the program for a way to update the software. You can also check the software and driver download page for your computer model. For more information about how to find and update the software on your HP or Compaq computer, refer to the HP support article Obtaining Software and Drivers .

    • Blu-ray software you installed yourself : Check the program for a way to update the software. If you cannot find a way to update the software, check the Web site of the software manufacturer.

Once all of these components are connected and turned on, you should adjust the display resolution on the computer to match the best possible HDTV resolution on your display device - preferably 1080p or 1920x1080. If your TV or monitor is not compatible with HDCP, then you must use a lower display setting of 480p or less.

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Unable to view 3D Blu-ray movies

Before you can watch Blu-ray movies in 3D, make sure that your computer meets the following specifications and that you have the correct hardware and software.

  • The optical drive in your computer must be compatible with the Blu-ray disc format, also known as BD format. You can look for a Blu-ray label on the front of the drive, or you can look up the product specifications for your computer to find out whether the drive is Blu-ray compatible.

  • Use a 3D Vision-ready PC display, such as a monitor or HDTV, with a High-Definition Content Protection (HDCP) compliant input. The refresh rate will probably need to be set at 120 Hz (or multiples of 120 HZ) and the resolution set to 1080p.

  • Make sure that you have Blu-ray 3D movie playback software installed on your computer. Standard media players may not play 3D movies.

  • Use 3D glasses that are compatible with your software.

  • The graphics card in your computer must also be compatible with the type of 3D technology used by the software. For example, if you use NVIDIA 3D Vision technology, the software, glasses and graphics adapter all must conform to this technology. You can look up the specifications for your computer or your graphics card to find out whether the graphics card is compatible.

  • The processor in your computer must be fast enough to support Blu-ray 3D. Usually, if your graphics card is compatible with Blu-ray 3D, your processor can support 3D.

  • The drive's firmware may need to be updated if the movie is using a disc format the drive does not currently recognize. To make sure that the drive firmware is updated, download and install any available drive firmware updates from HP that matches the type of drive installed in your computer. For more information about how to find and update the firmware for your HP or Compaq computer, refer to the HP support article Obtaining Software and Drivers .

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Error: DVD decoder not found

A decoder is software that tells Windows how to put the movie image back together from the DVD files for playback. A DVD decoder not found error occurs when the decoder is not installed or not properly registered with Windows. In the United States and many other countries, DVD decoders are not free and are not legally available for free download from the Internet. The only ways to legally fix this error are to reinstall the DVD software or purchase new DVD player software.

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Resolving region errors

A region error opens after inserting a movie disc into the drive. The movie cannot be played.

NOTE: The following information applies to region-1 DVDs. Depending on country/region, laws and drive behaviors may differ.
  • Illegal DVD Region

  • The region of the DVD movie you are trying to play does not match the authorized region of the DVD player

  • 0x80004003

  • 0x80034013

Region errors occur when the DVD or Blu-ray movie does not match the country/region in which it was intended to be sold. The drive is matched to the region it was sold in. If a movie from a different country/region is placed in the drive, a message appears and the software may not let the movie play.

Region table for standard DVDs
Countries/Regions
Country/Region Codes
Countries/Regions
1
United States and Canada
2
Europe, Japan, Near East, South Africa
3
Southeast Asia (including Hong Kong SAR)
4
Australia, Central and South America, Mexico, New Zealand
5
Eastern Europe, North Africa, Northwest Asia
6
China
Region table for standard Blu-rays
Region Code
Countries/Regions
A
East Asia (except Mainland China and Mongolia), Southeast Asia, the Americas and their dependencies.
B
Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe (except Russia), Oceania and their dependencies.
C
Central Asia, East Asia (Mainland China and Mongolia only), South Asia, central Eurasia and their dependencies.

The following map shows the regions as defined by the BDA .

Blu-ray regional map

Commercial DVD or Blu-ray movie discs contain a region code. For example, if you play a DVD disc from Region 1, and the DVD player is set to Region 2, a dialog box displays stating, a disc has been inserted from a different region . This dialog box displays the region for the inserted movie disc and the current player region, along with a list of new player regions and countries available to select. At this time you can elect to change the region.

Most disc players play up to three non-region titles before they stop playing non-region titles. When a new region is selected, a warning appears, stating the number of region changes remaining before the change is written. This is designed to prevent illegal selling of software titles between regions. Use compatible DVD or Blu-ray movies for the region you are in or replace the drive with one from the same region where the movies are purchased.

If you live in a region other than what the drive is set to, you can change the drive to match the region in which you live. For example: If a computer is purchased in the United States (part of Region 1) and is then moved to the Netherlands (Region 2), The drive region setting should be changed to match the new region. Changing the drive region setting can be done a limited number of times. To change the drive region setting, do the following steps.

  1. Click Start
    , and enter Device Manager into the Search field. Click Device Manager .

    Figure 2: Opening Device Manager

    Opening Device Manager from the Search field
  2. Double-click DVD/CD-ROM drives .

  3. Double-click the name of the disc drive.

    A properties window opens.

  4. Click the DVD Region tab, select a geographic area and then click OK to make the change.

Figure 3: DVD Region tab in Device Properties

DVD Region tab in Device Properties

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Unable to view movies in Windows Media Player

When trying to view a DVD or Blu-ray movie in Windows Media Player, an error message opens stating that Windows Media Player cannot play the move because a compatible decoder is not installed in your computer.

Windows Media Player cannot play DVD movies unless a compatible decoder is installed. To play DVDs, use the DVD player that comes with your HP or Compaq desktop computer. Insert a DVD movie and select the DVD player from the AutoPlay window.

Using the Windows Media Player troubleshooter

Windows 7 includes a troubleshooter that checks for problems playing DVDs in Windows Media Player. Follow these steps to use the troubleshooter to check for problems:

  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .

  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems .

    Figure 4: System and Security section of Control Panel

    System and Security section of Control Panel
  3. Click Hardware and Sound .

    Figure 5: Troubleshooting computer problems

    Troubleshooting computer problems
  4. Click Windows Media Player DVD .

    Figure 6: Hardware and Sound troubleshooter

    Hardware and Sound troubleshooter
  5. Click Next .

    Windows checks for problems. If the troubleshooter detects a problem, follow the instructions to fix it.

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Low sound when playing a movie

The sound level drops when watching a movie or listening to AC3 audio in Windows Media Player (WMP) or Windows Media Center (WMC). The sound levels are normal when listening to sound from other sources, such as games and music software.

When Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center process the AC3 sound format from a movie, sound volume is lowered. To work around this, you can view the movie in another software application (such as HP MediaSmart). If the movie contains several audio tracks, selecting stereo (not 5.1) might also work.

NOTE: There are AC3 codec tools available from the Internet that can adjust the audio gain in the AC3 codec. But be aware that If you decide to use software to adjust the AC3 sound levels, you risk damaging your speakers and audio hardware.

Using the Playing Audio troubleshooter

Windows 7 includes a troubleshooter that checks for problems playing sound. Follow these steps to use the Playing Audio troubleshooter to check for problems:

  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .

  2. Under System and Security, click Find and fix problems .

    Figure 7: System and Security section of Control Panel

    System and Security section of Control Panel
  3. Under Hardware and Sound, click Troubleshoot audio playback .

    Figure 8: Troubleshooting computer problems

    Troubleshooting computer problems

    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. Click Next .

  5. Windows checks for problems. If the troubleshooter detects problems, follow the instructions to fix the problem.

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Reinstalling movie player software

Reinstalling the DVD or Blu-ray player software can resolve a variety of problems, including missing file messages, encoder not found messages, and errors involving device library (.dll) files. Use Recovery Manager to reinstall the DVD or Blu-ray player that came with your computer. For more information, see Using Recovery Manager to Restore Software and Drivers in Windows 7 .

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