XP Media Center 'Decoder in Use'

Posted on 2009-04-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I had to reinstall XP a few days ago because the system was so bogged down.  It's taken a while but now I have the audio and video working.  My latest problem is an error I get in Media center when trying to play live tv.  I can watch DVD's or recorded tv with no problems, but when I try to watch live tv I get this error:
'Decoder In Use
The video decoder is currently in use by another application.
Please close all other applications, restart Media Center, and then try again.'

When I run the Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility, I have two decoders.  CyberLink Video/SP Decoder is MCE Compatible, Sonic MPEG Video Decoder is not.  I didn't install the Sonic decoder so I'm not sure what is using it, and can't seem to find an update for it.  I'm not sure if it's even causing the Media Center error.
Question by:atuccillo
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    Hi there

    If you have installed software which came with your tuner or if you have
    another application for playing TV or DVD, these applications sometimes use
    their own services, which may lock decoder. They load decoder so that
    starting TV or playing DVD was faster. In this case the decoder is locked
    and is not available.

    1 Close Media Center
    2 Close all the other TV/DVD applications (also look into tray, some
    applications are running silently and they are prepared to be launched when
    inserting DVD in drive, close application from tray)
    3 Open task manager and look if there is a service which might lock decoder
    (Power DVD is running pdvdserv - this doesn't lock anything, it is an
    example of such service). If you find this kind of service stop it or kill
    the process.
    4 Start Media Center
    5 Start TV

    if the problem still persists, download .Net frameworks 2.0, 3.5 and see if it solves your problem.
    additionally,  extract and install Media Center Rollup 2 files.

    contact if everything as indicated above does not solve the problem of live TV

    Author Comment

    I just went through all of the running processes.  There aren't any processes that would use the dvd decoder.  I'm also now having problems recording tv.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment


    i suggest you install following update rollup and uninstall sonic decoder.

    revert back if the problem still persists.
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    the update rollup is available at

    Author Comment

    That seemed to work. Thanks!

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