Can't Play/Read/Decode DVD? Solve It in 5 Minutes!
Playing DVD is not always a plain sailing. When you try to play a DVD, you may be told that your computer doesn't have a compatible DVD decoder. So, what is a DVD decoder? Why we need a DVD decoder? What DVD decoding software is available for download on Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP? Next, we will answer these questions.
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Please Do Not use WinX DVD Ripper to rip rental DVDs.
Since DVDs are less scratch-resistant, why not decode and copy DVDs to hard drive to protect your investment and then play the digital copies on the go.
Table of Contents
Part 1. What is a DVD Decoder?
If a DVD includes media such as a movie, this media has been encoded and sometimes compressed. To play this kind of DVD on a computer, the data on the DVD must first be decoded with a DVD decoder. This is why we need a DVD decoder.
A DVD decoder is a kind of computer software that lets you read DVD discs. It has three primary functions. First, it is used to unlock the copy protection in a DVD. Almost all commercial DVDs are encoded with copy protection in order to prevent users from copying the DVD. Second, it is used to decode the MPEG-2 format (because most DVDs store movies in MPEG-2 format), recreating the data so that the original images can be viewed. At last, the DVD decoder makes it possible for these images to be played through a viewing program installed on your computer.
DVD decoder may have come pre-installed on our computer. But if it isn't included in your computer, you will need to download a DVD decoder plug-in, or try an alternative like VLC and 5KPlayer, or decode your DVD to a digital file with WinX DVD Ripper or something you like.
Part 2. Download a DVD Decoder for Windows
Some editions of Windows don't come with DVD playback capability, such as Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, Windows 7 Home Basic, and Windows 7 Starter. If you are working on a computer without DVD playback feature, you can download a DVD decoder pack.
The available DVD decoders include CinePlayer DVD Decoder, Advanced Corel DVD Decoders, Cyberlink PowerDVD SE, and DVD Decoder.
Option 1: Download CinePlayer DVD Decoder
- Developer: Roxio
- Compatible OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
- Price: $14.99
The CinePlayer DVD Decoder is exclusively designed for Windows Media Player on Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Thanks to the support for both high-definition video and 5.1‑channel Dolby Digital audio, it can deliver cinema-quality performance and superb audio clarity.
Option 2: Download Advanced Corel DVD Decoders
- Developer: Corel
- Compatible OS: Windows 7, 8.1, and 10
- Price: Full $63.99; Upgrade $47.99
Advanced Corel DVD Decoders don't exist alone anymore. They are now included within Corel WinDVD Pro, with which you can easily play DVDs, Blu-rays, HEVC videos, 4K videos, and 3D videos. In addition, it also supports upscaling standard video to near-HD quality video, converting 2D to 3D video, and adjusting brightness, contrast and more.
Option 3: Download Cyberlink PowerDVD SE
- Developer: Cyberlink
- Compatible OS: Windows XP
PowerDVD SE is a plug-in for Windows Media Player 10 and Windows Media Player 11. It is able to play DVDs and supports Dolby audio soundtracks. However, it is now not available to download.
Option 4: Download DVD Decoder
- Developer: VSeven Software
- Compatible OS: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP
- Price: free
This DVD Decoder can help you easily play DVD (VOB) files. In addition, it can convert your DVD to mp4, 3gp, flv, wmv, mpg, avi, mov and mkv. After installing it on your computer, you can watch movie through your Windows media player.
How to install a compatible DVD decoder on Windows Media Player
Step 1. Open your Winodws Media Player. Note: Windows Media Player is unable to play a DVD movies on Windows 10.
Step 2. In the Tools menu, click Options.
Step 3. Click the Player tab, and then click to select the Download codecs automatically check box. After you've done, click OK.
Step 4. Try to play the file. If you are prompted to install the codec, click Install. If you are not asked to install the codec and the DVD still cannot play on PC correctly, follow the steps below to manually install the DVD decoder.
Step 5. Determine whether the codec is installed on the computer that you're using to play DVDs.
- In the Now Playing area, right-click the file that you are trying to play, and then click Properties.
- Click the File tab, note the codecs that are specified in the Audio codec and the Video codec areas, and then click OK. If no audio/video codec is specified, go Step 6 to install the codec.
- On the Help menu, click About Windows Media Player. Then click the Technical Support Information hyperlink. If the codec is not listed, go to step 6
Step 6. Install the codec:
- If you receive an error message when you try to play the file, click Web Help. On the Microsoft Web site, click the link to the Wmplugins Web site to download and install the codec for the file.
- If you do not receive an error message when you try to play the file, obtain the codec from a third-party vendor such as K-Lite Codec Pack, and install it.
If you still cannot play DVD after installing a compatible DVD codec for Windows 10/8/7/XP, try to update drivers .
How to update drivers
To do this, follow these steps.
Step 1. Press Windows key + X and click on Device manager.
Step 2. Locate for Display Adaptor and expand it.
Step 3. Right click on the adaptor and click on update. This will launch the update driver software wizard, which presents two options: Search automatically for updated driver software and Browse my computer for driver software.
Step 4. Pick an arbitrary one, and click Next, then wait while the wizard completes the installation.
However, installing a DVD decoder and updating driver may still don't work for you. In this case, you can try a DVD player program which doesn't require a separate decoder to play DVDs.
Part 3. Try a 3rd-party DVD Player that Doesn't Need a Separate DVD Decoder
As above, installing DVD decoder may not be vaild to make your DVD playable. You need some Windows DVD decoder checkup utility to determine whether a DVD decoder is successfully installed on your Windows XP/7/8.1/10 computer and whether the decoder is seamlessly compatible with your Windows Media Player. And there are so many compatibility issues between players and DVD decoding programs, some of which are not even safe enough. It would be fantastic to play DVDs without downloading and installing any DVD decoder (pack). It is easier than you think!
5KPlayer is a free and clean multimedia solution for your computer, guiding it to the path of the DVD inserted for flawless playback on any DVDs. No fancy tricks, it with user-friendly GUI is a truly compatible multimedia solution that everyone should have. It plays regular DVDs, regional DVDs, copy-protected DVDs, movie DVDs, etc., as well as SD/HD/UHD videos, without any other third-party decoder or plug-in. It also downloads online music and movies, AirPlay streams audio videos...
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How to Play DVD with 5KPlayer:
Step 1. Launch 5KPlayer on your computer. It is totally free and clean.
Step 2. Insert any DVD into the DVD-ROM, and flip "+DVD" icon (the third one in the first line of UI).
Step 3. When 5KPlayer prompts you to open DVD disc, you can choose the source DVD disc from your DVD Driver. Just hit "OK".
Step 4. When the DVD info has been read, you can choose the language track and so on from the list. And then the player will begin to play the DVD.
Step 5. Similar to other DVD players, 5KPlayer allows you to double-click any position on the image to view the movie full size. Or you can click on the square button on the top right. You can also find your recent playlists in the "Library".
Watch video tutorial on how to play DVD without DVD decoding error
Part 4. Decode DVD to Digital Files - Fast & 100% Working
Physical disc drives are going the way of the dodo. Modern laptops and even many modern desktop PCs have dropped disc drives, making you unable to play DVDs on computers. Then how can you play DVD on computer? You surely can buy an external DVD drive and open a DVD player program like 5KPlayer.
Rather than taking $55 to buy a DVD drive ($40 or so) and Windows DVD Player ($15) for an uncertain DVD playback, ripping DVDs to digital with a DVD ripper would make DVDs playable on any media players of Windows & macOS without consideration of DVD decoder, 32-bit/64-bit limit. Besides, you're able to store your DVD discs more securely without unexpected scratches or damages, and extend your DVD lifespan by minimizing the number of physical disc playback.
However, 90% DVD rippers can't do that very well, causing errors like DVD not reading, crashing/freezing, incomplete DVD copy, or poor output quality etc. For that, you might as well try an easier yet more effective one - WinX DVD Ripper Platinum, which digitize any (protected) DVD at GPU (Intel QSV/AMD/Nvidia) accelerated speed, 5X faster than any counterpart.
- World's No.1 fast speed: Merely 5 minutes to make a digital copy of DVD under hardware acceleration.
- No.1 disc support for all kinds of DVDs with whatever encryptions, thanks to the unique DVD analysis kernel & title check mechanism.
- Update weekly to ensure the support of decrypting various new released DVDs, and CSS, region codes, Disney and more encryptions.
- 350+ output formats supported, including MP4, H.264, AVI, MOV, TV, mobiles, and more. 100% quality reserved.
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Attention: Never create digital backup copies from rental DVDs!!!
[Tutorial] How to Decrypt and Decode DVD to Digital Format
Download WinX DVD Ripper on Windows 10/8/7/XP or MacOS, install and launch it on your desktop. Then go through the rundown of guides to decrypt new & protected DVD to digital formats without DVD read/decode error.
Step 1. Load DVD disc to the DVD decoding software. Insert your DVD disc into the DVD drive, open WinX DVD Ripper Platinum, and click "DVD Disc" button to import your DVD. The program will automatically choose the right title for you, no matter what encryption is used for the DVD.
Step 2. Select an output format. Choose output format from the popup window according to your needs. For example, MP4 for playback on mobiles, MKV for full titles, audios, videos and subtitles backup, ISO image DVD clone for later burning etc. Optionally, you can also click "Edit" button to trim, crop, adjust audio volume, add subtitles and more.
Step 3. Start decoding DVD. Hit RUN and it will begin decrypting DVD immediately. If your computer has supported graphic cards, you can raise the ripping speed maximally with hardware acceleration enabled, merely 5 minutes to rip a full DVD movie.
Disclaimer: Digiarty Software does not advocate ripping copy-protected DVDs for any commercial purpose and suggests referring to the DVD copyright laws in your countries before doing so.
Part 5. Why Your DVD Disc Cannot Be Decoded?
If your computer has a DVD drive but you still can't decode/read DVD, here are some of the possible causes for it:
1. Your DVD disc is damaged.
DVD disc is the first to blame. It's reasonable that your DVD player stops playing when reading visible scratches. However, there are cases that your DVD looks very new but it's unplayable. Probably, the DVD has scratches that are invisible to the naked eye. Or it'is intentionally used as a means of encryption like Sony DVDs. When playing/ripping Sony DVDs, bad sectors will be read in a loop (also called CRC error) until the DVD drive burnt out.
2. Your DVD drive is corrupted or DVD driver is outdated.
DVD drive can be the culprit. If it's damaged, your will encounter a DVD read error, or disc drive won't even detect DVD, CRC data error, I/O error etc. In this case, you can buy another DVD drive ($40 or so) to fix the error. And outdated driver causes a stuttering DVD playing or even makes DVD unplayable or unconvertible, since the heavy DVD decode work will be turned over to CPU from GPU. For example, some DVD ripper decoders drop to a rare low fps during decoding/encoding DVD due to the CUDA failing. But if you update the driver up to date, GPU will revitalize for smooth DVD playback.
3. You don't have a compatible DVD decoder installed.
Windows Media Player doesn't offer a software plug-in that enables the DVD video playback in MPEG-2 format. When you play DVD on it, you'll get an error message "Windows Media Player cannot play the file because the codec is not installed on your computer". In this case, you can install a compatible DVD decoder to slove DVD not playing issue. Make sure you download the right drivers for your architecture (32 or 64 bit).
4. The region code of DVD player, DVD drive and disc are not the same.
Region codes prevent playback of DVDs in other geographical regions, for example, region 2 discs won't play in region 1 players, and PAL discs cannot be played on a NTSC standard player. If your DVD player or DVD drive has improper region setting, you can change it up to 5 times only before it's locked permanently. Check region free DVD player for help.
5. DVD encryption cannot be bypassed.
The above mentioned causes have a certain possibility leading in DVD decoding failure. However, the real culprit for DVD won't play, read, or decode error lies in the DVD encryption cannot be bypassed, for example, VLC won't play DVDs etc. Thus, if you can decrypt CSS protected DVDs, unlock region code, remove new DVDs encryption with a DVD decoder, all issues will be solved easily.
DVD not decoding/playing on Windows Media Player and Windows DVD Player happens owing to an incompatible DVD decoder, an outdated display driver and even a broken DVD drive. Fixing it would take you a lot of time, energe and money. Therefore, ripping DVD to digital formats using WinX DVD Ripper Platinum is the fastest and most cost-effective solution recommended by us. It is capable of ripping DVD to MP4, MOV, MKV, MPEG-2, ISO image, TS etc, making DVD playable on any media players, stored more safely as well as slowing down the loss of DVD lifespan because of over-analysis.