DVD ROM Decoders

My friend is considering purchasing a DVD drive for his PC.  He realises that he will either need to buy a decoder card for the motherboard to accept the DVD drive, but has notice that some graphics cards support DVD.  Does this mean that if he purchases a graphics card with this capability, that he can purchase a DVD WITHOUT the Decode Card?
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cremmeConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Yes, DVD can either be decoded by software or a DVD decoder card.  If your video card supports DVD you won't need to use DVD decoding software.
The ability to decode an MPEG DVD is not a function of the video card.  What cremme is thinking about are capabilities on some video cards that ENHANCE the display of DVD/MPEG videos.  This is not decoding although some cards do even have hardware MPEG decoding as well.

The DVD display process requires that the MPEG encoded data on the DVD be decoded somewhere.  Until recently, most DVD players came with hardware MPEG decoder boards mainly due to the poor state of MPEG decoder software.  Even though a lowly P166/MMX CPU has more than enough horsepower to decode MPEG, the decoder software was just lousy!  Intel jump started the process by developing a high-quality MPEG decoder driver for MMX CPUs and making it available.  Other companies have built on this and have made first rate software only DVD movie players.  In my opinion, WinDVD is the best one out there right now.
If your friend is going to watch most of his movies on DVD, he should very well consider getting a hardware decoder. This will allow him to output the video to his tv and the sound through a SPDIF(Digital Surround Sound Connector)or RCA audio cable to his stereo. If he doesn't want to watch them on the tv, and his processor is faster than 233mhz go with the software and save a couple bucks.
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