View Full Version : What's the best _FREE_ DVD player program?

Serpentine Cougar
12-08-2007, 02:56 PM
I got a new DVD drive for my computer but the software that came with it is just a 30-day trial, so I need to find another program to watch my DVDs in. I'm looking for a free one - there's gotta be some out there, right? So what are your favorite DVD players?

Titanius Anglesmith
12-08-2007, 04:14 PM
I always use VLC Media Player (http://vlc-media-player.softhip.com/). It's completely free, works with plenty of OS's, and is easily able to take screencaps of whatever you're watching.

12-08-2007, 04:56 PM
I also use VLC Media Player. Although this thread reminded me that recently I had a dream about installing PowerDVD.

12-09-2007, 12:03 AM
unless you got an oem LE version chucked in with some hardware you purchased, powerdvd aint free :)

People sometimes dont realise that if you using xp or previous - that apart from a dvd drive itself, you also need a software decoder(mpeg2) to be able to play DVDs.

Interestingly, in some countries it is actually illegal to use mpeg2 decoders if they are for the purpose of playing ripped DVDs ! ridiculous !!

In the home theater pc crowd, most people use either the powerdvd or nvidia purevideo decoders as they were certified for compatibility with windows media center edition. However, since vista - this has been irrelevant, as MS finally got off their ass and made their own inbuilt mpeg2 decoder which is in Vista Home Premium and upwards.

there are a set of open source mpeg2 decoders out there - you can get them 'inbuilt' with programs like VLC - I personally prefer to have more control over what filters Im installing - especially in my htpc - so dont worry about this - but its a decent free solution for most.

Still, for those that have VistaHP and above - I dont see the big deal with using WMP11 or even the media center interface - which allows snazzy cover artwork and metadata - if you like arranging your collection thus.

Since quality compression filters like H264 and Mastroka, I think DVD/Mpeg2 is a glorius waste of space. Ripped onto a drive >> Up to 7GB for one file(w menus etc of course) whereas you can achieve just as impressive quality with h264/mkv at 700MB !

It all depends on how you intend to watch them. If its just windowed on your deskie then you might as well use VLC or WMP. Some proggies like windvd etc have excellent features that allow you to make gifs and caps from a movie.

If it purely for watching DVD on a TV/monitor - then your best off going for the media center interface - if you have vista HP or above - the resize options are great. If you have plain xp - you can install the open source media center clone , mediaportal (http://www.team-mediaportal.com/) which allows all the cover art thingy etc as well.

With a compatible remote, you can use your pc as a media storage device... I have over 4TBs of storage now on my htpc network(2 full time htpcs), though not any DVDs at the moment. I know people who have their entire DVD collection ripped onto HDD for use in mediacenter/mediaportal.

btw - the free mpeg2 codecs can be downloaded on their own in the ffdshow package. If your into comprehensive codec packages, the best on is xp is CCCP. But only really install this if you know what your after ;) VLC of course has all that built into it.

In Vista, installing something like the vista codec pack, and creating associations with WMP, will allow you to open every single filetype in WMP or vista media center - including youtube etc .flvs, quicktime and realmedia stuff. In vista of course, you also have the great snip tool, which allows you to make a screencap of anything on your screen - tis great

good luck'


Serpentine Cougar
12-11-2007, 11:55 PM
I wasn't really looking for a full-blown media center, so I looked around some and found this free DVD player (http://dvd-player.audio4fun.com/dvd-player-morpher.htm) (which can also convert between different movie file types, capture screens, record audio, and apply certain special effects), but when I tried to play a DVD the program crashed. Now I guess I have no choice but to get VLC. I thought for sure there'd be a dedicated free program just to play DVDs in. Guess I was wrong. Thanks for the help, y'all!

Det. Bart Lasiter
12-12-2007, 02:38 AM
VLC is **** get CCCP and use MPC or Zoom Player.

12-12-2007, 08:08 PM
but when I tried to play a DVD the program crashed.

lolz...and all these people saying they like xp for its stability! did you have an opportunity to debug or check an error report, to see what was going on ?? Maybe could have been a codec thing - often is with these things. eg. if you had an app already installed that played dvds(eg Nero) that comes with its own bunch of codecs, then you install another on top >lather rinse repeat with similar apps - the chance of getting a conflict increases markedly.

theres a great little free app called the 'codec tweak tool' that actually finds and fixes such corruptions(which lurk in the registry)


Ray Jones
12-13-2007, 08:56 AM
OK, and when it's a codec issue, it's not an XP stability problem, right? And when a program crashes it's not necessarily an XP issue as well, right? ;)

12-13-2007, 12:44 PM
OK, and when it's a codec issue, it's not an XP stability problem, right?

lolz.. Always a font of information Ray. Im not sure if you are asking a question or being a smartass(actually I am sure), but its a great opportunity to give some further info about these things :D

Codecs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_codec) are finicky things. You may have a set of files that were encoded using version 2.4 (eg) You still have a player that has 2.2 built into it. Result = works shyte.

How is a person to know - not all files are labelled by codec version number. Luckily, if youre not one of those people who knows when a new codec version is coming out the day its released(which I unfortunately am) you can use apps like Video Inspector (http://www.kcsoftwares.com/?vtb) to scan yoru file and do it for you. It even gives links to where you can get the latest codec pack from.

Be aware that compiles like the CCCP or those bundled into apps dont always have the latest versiosn in them, as they are not released according to a regular schedule ! The DivX, Xvid, H264, Matroska etc crews dont get on a conference call and say, Friday 14th, lets all put out a new version !!

Best way to tackle it - pick your app/compilation of choice and stick to it ! When a problem file comes up, run it through a proggie like video inspector and check it against what versions you have.[/url]


Definitely try avoid installing multiple applications of apps that have codecs rolled into them - if you do insist on doing this, run a codec cleaning app like the one I mentioned above(codec tweak tool)

And when a program crashes it's not necessarily an XP issue as well, right? ;)

Ray. OT please. If you would like to start a thread about 'chicken vs egg of tech troubleshooting' please do so in the senate chambers, the place for all wild n crazy discussions :p


Negative Sun
12-14-2007, 06:27 AM
XP Codec Pack (http://www.xpcodecpack.com/)

I use it with WMP11 and never have I shoved anything in my DVD-drive or opened anything it can't handle :)

Serpentine Cougar
12-16-2007, 12:04 AM
I figured out that the reason it crashed was because it requires the .NET framework. So I installed that, but then when I watched a DVD there wasn't any sound. :(

VLC was eewww; I hated the interface. So clunky!

I tried out a bunch of other players (like GOM PLayer (http://www.gomplayer.com/main.html), for example) but they were all media centers (that can play almost all known file types) first, and DVD players second, which meant that the DVD playing part of the program wasn't as good as I thought it could be. Isn't there any free/opensource program that's a DVD player first, and other media player second? A program like PowerDVD or other such players, yet free?

Anyway, after a frustratingly long search, I finally found one I think is going to work: AVS DVD Player (http://www.avsmedia.com/DVDPlayer/index.aspx).

Negative Sun
12-16-2007, 07:09 AM
If you're using XP I stick by my previous post, there's no need for any other standalone players when WMP (or WMP Classic if your prefer) can handle anything from music to vids to dvds etc...

12-16-2007, 11:45 AM
XP Codec Pack (http://www.xpcodecpack.com/)

That site neatly lists that CPs components:

* GPL MPEG-1/2 Decoder

Here's what all the fuss is about - as far as dvds are concerned anwyay :)

should chuck AC3Filter in that too to handle DVD audio variants.

If youve decided codec packs arent for you - might be worth tracking down these two separately. I personally dont see the harm in the CPs, but thats only as I do utilise many file formats when playing stuff

GPL MPEG-1/2 DirectShow Decoder Filter 0.1.2 (http://www.free-codecs.com/download/GPL_MPEG-1_2_DirectShow_Decoder_Filter.htm)
AC3 Filter 1.46 (http://www.free-codecs.com/download/AC3_Filter.htm)

good luck


Negative Sun
12-16-2007, 05:29 PM
My link is easier, it only involves one click and installs everything :p

12-17-2007, 10:26 AM
My link is easier, it only involves one click and installs everything :p

It is easier indeed - but not everyone may need *all* those filters negsun. Ive just given OP what he needs to know for a minimal install - if he is interested in such a thing :D


Negative Sun
12-17-2007, 05:00 PM
You can never have enough filters when you're a media whore...

*tag* Serpentine is a media whore now.

12-17-2007, 07:42 PM
You can never have enough filters when you're a media whore...

*tag* Serpentine is a media whore now.

lolz...well I guess thats a relatively better type of whore to be :D

I am part of said fraternity as well, powering a htpc is impossible without being such a floozy ;)