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WMP and WMC cannot play DVDs

Posted on 2010-09-21
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On a Windows 7 Home Premium machine I can't play DVDs (commercially produced) with either Windows Media Player 12 or Windows Media Center.  I can play video files (.avi or .wma) fine.  I can also play DVDs using VLC and Nero 9 Showtime, though no sound on Showtime.

I have tried installing Shark's Codec pack and the k-lite codec pack for Windows 7 but no change - have uninstalled them after each trial.

I really want to use Windows Media Centre as I am using it for all other media-related activity (have HD Homerun tuner).

I can't udnerstand why codecs are not shared between apps - shouldn't they be like printer drivers and common to all apps??

Can anyone suggest how I can get WMC or WMP to play my movies please?

Thanks

Apt-it
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Question by:apt-it
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 33726704
Check this very complete article, particularly the section on "Watching Movies in WMC":

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/27329/complete-guide-to-windows-7-media-center/
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by:apt-it
ID: 33727191
Thanks LeeTutor, but this doesn't help.  Looking at the Codecs included in WMC, it appears it should play DVDs OK, but it just doesn't.  I am wodering if it is the DVD menu system that is screwing things up as I get a 100millisecond flash of the menu screen then it says necessary files are not installed - reinstall WMC or re-start Windows.
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 33729503
You could try "uninstalling" WMC by turning it off, then turn it back on again.  Just enter the word feature in the Start Menu search bar, and it should show you a link for Turn Windows Features On or Off.  Then in the list that appears under Media, remove the check mark next to Windows Media Center.  After the feature has been removed completely, go back and put the check mark back in to turn it on again.
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by:darbid73
ID: 33731983
Installing and uninstalling codec packs is the best way to stuff up your codecs.  In my opinion that is not a good idea.

First you must understand that VLC is a complete solution, bringing with it its own codecs and not using the accepted method that Windows wants.  Windows Vista and 7 use Media Foundation for codecs.  what this means is that when a program like WMP or most other media programs on windows Other than VLC get given some content in your case a .VOB file from a DVD it then looks in the .VOB file and finds out the type of content and what codecs it will need.  Then it looks up a list of possible codecs that could be used.  The codecs that could be used a prioritized and the one with the highest priority gets used.  This process is what I am guessing is stuffed up in your case and the reason is installing and uninstalling codec packs.

When you install Nero it installs a heap of codecs and sets their priority high.

Now the problem I have with your current situation is that Microsoft set up Mpeg2 codecs which are very difficult to change, but I think Sharks codecs has worked out a workaround.  I think it is renaming the file.

For this reasoning I am not sure WMC is a good idea to uninstall.

1. random solution is continue on installing and uninstalling codec packs till it works.......(not recommended but should work eventually)
2. get in there and find out what is not working and fix it (complicated)

GSpot should be able to show you the problem.  But a better solution is GraphEdit http://www.digital-digest.com/dvd/downloads/showsoftware_graphedit_141.html  

This program is going to show you a graph of the .vob and how Windows is attempting to find codecs to use.  GraphEdit will if it gets codecs for both video and sound be able to play the file.  If graph edit is ok then it is not your codecs and then I have no idea what it is and THEN i would be suggesting in desperation an uninstall of programs.

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by:apt-it
ID: 33736253
darbid73, many thanks for your input.  I am not sure it has taken me to a solution yet though.  I attach the GraphEdit graphic for your information.  Graphedit cound NOT play the video when I dropped the first .vob file on it, but did exactly what WMP or WMC does which is to play 100ms of the video than it give an error - 'graph could not change state' and a hex code.

I take it from your initial analysis that it IS a codec problem.  Do you have any further suggestions.

Thanks  Apt-it
vob.png
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by:LeeTutor
ID: 33736590
Are you just ignoring my comment?
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by:apt-it
ID: 33736856
LeeTutor, my humble apologies.  I wanted to follow up one avenue of diagnosis at a time and Darbid73's approach was more analytical.  Since it does appear to be a codec issue I would like to get to the bottom of that before turning to the applications.  As GraphEdit can't play the dvds it would seem unlikely that MWP or WMC would be able to even if correctly installed.

I did look at removing the WMC feature but this would mean removing all the configuration information on the dual tuner I have setup and I didn't want to through all that up in the air if the codec route could yield a solution.

Finally, this installation of Windows, with all its accessories, is new and has not been messed about wth so I am less inclined to think that it is a broken installtion of WMC and/or WMP.

Your contribution is valued and I will address it as soon as I have bottomed out the codec approach.

Apt-it
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by:darbid73
ID: 33738293
your graph looks good - it is using the standard microsoft codecs like it should.  I have not experienced this kind of problem.  Whilst some people complain about MS codecs they do work more or less.  You can see here the lengths people go to get rid of them - http://www.hack7mc.com/2009/04/disable-and-replace-ms-dtvdvd-decoder.html

Is the error you get the exact words of the error?

Can VLC play this exact .VOB file?

I am not 100% convinced it is a codec / filter problem - because you should be getting the same errors with WMP/WMC and Nero 9 as they should all use the same methods that Graph edit uses.  It has been a while since I have played with Nero though.
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by:apt-it
ID: 33743715
Darbid73, I have already given you the exact wording of the error message and yes, VLC can play this exact .vob.
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by:darbid73
ID: 33743922
Sorry apt-it I am at the end of what I know.  The error message does not bring back many understandable results in google.  I did find some people saying it happens from playing copy protected stuff.  I assume you are using an original DVD and not something ripped.

Your problem is with these filters (codecs) and the building of the process to decode the file so that you can see and hear it.  I doubt it is WMP specific.  That said a reinstall of WMP might have the effect of checking all the codecs, filters and setup and fix the problem.

I personally believe installing and uninstalling codec packs is the reason for your problem.  Win 7 plays DVDs out of the box - no problem.

So given you have already stuffed it.  I would be trying codec packs.  If you go into Sharks you can change I think the default Mpeg2 codecs which is what you want to do.  On install maybe this codec pack will correct the error.

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by:apt-it
ID: 33745085
LeeTutor, OK, I have now followed your recommendation and removed and then added back the WMP and WMC features of Windows, with a re-start in the middle.  Unfortunately this has not resulted in any change inbehaviour whatsoever.

I have also tested half a dozen commercial DVDs (Disney, Bond films, etc) and none of then will play using WMP or WMC.  They show the warning not to copy the dvd and a few trade marks, then a few milliseconds of the main menu screen then nothing.  Media Center says that the files required to play the DVD are not installed or are not working properly and to re-start WMC or the PC, but I've tried that lots of times and it doesn't help.

If you have any further suggestions I would be glad to test them.  Thanks for your assistance.

Apt-it
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LeeTutor earned 250 total points
ID: 33745252
Maybe this web page will be of help:

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7pictures/thread/da098ead-c5cf-4a90-95df-5ad6e88f38bb
Win 7 Media Center will not play commercial DVDs

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by:darbid73
ID: 33745670
Thats annoying that a reinstall did not help.

Are you still in the same position or are you getting a whole new lot of error messages.

Will graph edit play your .vob file now?

If it get alomost to the menu screen it sounds like a hardware / driver problem.
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by:apt-it
ID: 33746754
LeeTutor, thanks for the link - I was optimistic there ... just for a moment.  

I don't think my problem is DRM and since VLC will play flawlessly, there can't be a hardware problem (can there?).  I have played all these DVDs successfully on another machine running Windows 7 Professional  using WMC and WMP and they are all fine.  As  to the video drivers, I am assuming the VLC also uses these so they can't be the cause.  Finally, the user in your link did not find a resolution to his problem, which is not encourageing.

Any other thoughts?
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by:darbid73
ID: 33746788
No idea - just a wild guess - Try Media Player Classic - it should not work - but lets see if it gives a more meaningful error message.
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by:apt-it
ID: 33747009
darbid73, I have tested GraphEdit angain and there is more information for you.  It is now using two different sets of codecs, depending on what I ask it to play.  If I give it the menu .vob it plays this with sound and picture but bothhave frequent jumps, the sound and motion jumping backwards a few frames plus some square blocks on the image.

If I give it the first video chapter to play it uses the second set of codecs.  Now I get a black 'scree' ie. no video but the sound plays but still with some jumping about.

Here are the two codec maps.
vob1a.png
vob1b.png
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by:apt-it
ID: 33747230
Darbid73, I downloaded and installed Media PLayer Classic and it in fact plays the dvd fine.  However, it did complain that the DirectX End-User Runtime as out of date so I downloaded and installed the June 2010 version afterwhich MPC played flawlessly.  WMP and WMC however are no better.

Any further thoughts?
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by:darbid73
darbid73 earned 250 total points
ID: 33749230
sorry I have no idea now.  

But when did you install ffdshow.  That is a codec pack as well???

MPC uses the same method of decoding as WMP so if MPC plays it then I was wrong.  It would tell me that WMP has a problem.

But I am only guessing now.

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Author Comment

by:apt-it
ID: 33820931
For anyone who follows this question in future, I finally resolved the problem by completely re-building the machine, doing a clean install of Windows Home Premium and all its features, including Windows Media Center and Windows Media PLayer.

After re-installing the DVD plyayer drivers the DVDs played fine using either WMC or WMP.  No thrid party codecs were installed.

So, lessons learned from this, don't install third party codecs unless they are really necessary and be careful when installing third party media centers or media players as they may include codec packs which can interfere with Microsoft codecs, which generally work just fine.

Note, too, that players such as VLC come with fully integrated codecs so they are likely to be able to play video files even if the MS codec environment is messed up for any reason.

Some very powerful analytical tools have been exposed by this problem which may prove useful to others, my thanks to darbd73 and Lee Tutor for these.  I will split the points between you to reward your efforts with this solution.

Apt-it
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Author Closing Comment

by:apt-it
ID: 33820945
Question resolved by user.
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