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Resolving DVD and Blu-ray Movie Problems (Windows 8)

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This document applies to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.
This document is intended to fix problems that can happen when playing DVD or Blu-ray movies on a computer. If you cannot find a section that fits your situation, try reinstalling the DVD or Blu-ray software to see if the problem resolves.
NOTE:If your computer came with a different operating system and you upgraded to Windows 8, there may not be a software application capable of playing DVD or Blu-ray movies installed on your computer. Windows 8 does not include a pre-installed app for DVD and Blu-ray movie playback. Windows Media Center is available as an add-on feature after upgrading to Windows 8 Pro, and will provide playback and encoding support for DVDs but not Blu-ray discs. Third-party solutions for DVD and Blu-ray movie playback are available for download on the Internet.
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

The movie skips, temporarily freezes, or the playback is not smooth

Use each of the following steps, using the order given. Attempt to play a movie after performing each step, until the playback problem is resolved:

Step 1: Cleaning the movie disc

A dirty or scratched disc surface is the most common reason for a movie to skip when played on a computer. Because the reading area on a disc is much smaller, DVD and Blu-ray movies are more susceptible to skipping and playback problems than CDs. Skipping is much more likely to happen with movies that have been handled frequently, like those from a movie rental store.
To fix playback problems, clean the disc. Clean discs with filtered water and a lint-free cloth. Wipe from the center of the disc to the outer edge. If cleaning does not work, buy a CD/DVD repair kit available at electronics stores.
If cleaning and repairing the disc does not work and all discs play erratically, continue to the next step. If one or just a few movies have problems, the discs may be bad. Data on discs can degrade over time.
To increase the life of DVD and Blu-rays discs:
  • Keep discs in their cases when not in use.
  • Avoid exposing the discs to direct sunlight.
  • Never slide or rotate discs across any surface.

Step 2: Logging off the Internet while playing movies

Software applications can access the Internet or network while a movie plays. This can disrupt the movie. Disconnect from the Internet and turn off your computer's wireless Internet connection before playing a movie. If you are not connected to the Internet while playing movies and movies still skip, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Avoiding virus scans

Do not watch movies when the computer is performing a routine system scan for viruses. Instead, change the virus scan time to a time that does not interfere with your viewing. Or, if you disconnect from the Internet, disable your security software temporarily. Be sure to re-enable it when you are finished watching the movie.

Step 4: Turning off extra peripherals (connected devices)

Disconnecting non-essential devices that are connected to the computer can free up valuable system resources and can result in better movie performance. Turn off printers, multifunction devices (or all-in-ones), and scanners, and unplug cameras, thumb drives, and portable music devices. If this does not help, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Making sure that your DVD or Blu-ray drive and player software have the latest updates

Some models of DVD or Blu-ray drives show improved video playback after upgrading the drive firmware. If you are having trouble playing Blu-rays or DVDs, try installing the latest drive and player software. The latest DVD or Blu-ray player software for your computer may contain updates that address playback performance problems. Use the HP Support Web page to find and install DVD or Blu-ray drive firmware updates. Check for software updates from the manufacturer of the media player software you have installed.

Copy of a DVD or Blu-ray movie does not play

The data stored on most DVD or Blu-ray movies is encrypted and does not allow a playable movie to be copied. Making a normal disc copy of a commercial movie produces a disc that cannot be played - this is normal.
Unprotected DVD or Blu-ray movies, such as home videos, can be copied and played.

Testing the drive to see if it can read files on the DVD or Blu-ray movie disc

If the drive cannot read the files stored on any DVD or any Blu-ray movie discs, then you know that you need to troubleshoot the CD/DVD drive, rather than the discs and movie player software. Do the following to make sure your drive is capable of reading the file structure of a disc.
  1. Insert a disc into the disc drive - a DVD or Blu-ray movie or data disc.
    If a window opens automatically, close it.
  2. On the Windows 8 Start screen, type File Explorer to open the Search charm, and then select File Explorer from the search results.
    Figure 1: Opening File Explorer
    Image of opening File Explorer
  3. Right-click the drive icon and select Open .
    Figure 2: Exploring a Blu-ray disc
    Exploring a Blu-ray disc
    If the tray ejects or a message appears asking to insert a disc, the drive is not recognizing the disc. Try another disc and make sure the drive is truly a DVD or Blu-ray drive.
  4. You should see a listing of files/folders in the right pane of File Explorer. If you inserted a conventional DVD movie, you should see the folders VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS.
    If there are no folders or an error message opens, the following problems may exist:
    • The disc may be bad; try another disc.
    • The disc type may be incompatible with the type of drive in the computer. For example, the drive may be designed to read DVDs, but not Blu-ray discs.
    • The drive may need to have the firmware upgraded. Use the HP Support & Drivers Web page to find and install drive firmware upgrades for your computer model.
    • After trying multiple discs if the problem still occurs, see Drive Cannot Read Discs (Windows 8) .

A specific movie title does not play

Reasons why a specific movie title will not play, and what you can do:
  • If you cannot play a specific movie title, but other movie titles play, the most likely problem is that the movie disc is defective - scratched, dirty, sun damaged, or it has a manufacturing flaw. To try to recover a disc, clean the disc with filtered water and a lint-free cloth. Wipe from the center of the disc to the outer edge. If cleaning does not work, buy a CD/DVD repair kit available at electronics stores.
  • If the movie that will not play is a Blu-ray title, and other Blu-ray movies play, then the Blu-ray compatible software might need to be updated. Blu-ray content protection can be updated by the movie industry, which requires new codes before the title can be viewed. Connect to the Internet, open the software, and use its update feature to install the latest update. For example, if your HP computer came with a Blu-ray compatible drive and HP MediaSmart software, go to Settings and click Update to get the latest updates. If problems persist, see the next section, Unable to view Blu-ray movies .
  • The drive's firmware may need to be updated if the movie is using a disc format the drive does not currently recognize. To make sure that the drive firmware is updated, use the HP Support & Drivers Web page to find and install any available drive firmware updates from HP that match the type of drive installed in your computer.

Unable to view Blu-ray movies

Before you can watch high-definition Blu-ray movies, all of the components in the system must meet the following requirements:
  • The optical drive in your computer must be compatible with the Blu-ray disc format, also known as BD format. You can look for a Blu-ray label on the front of the drive, or look up the product specifications for your computer to find out whether the drive is Blu-ray compatible. If the laser element of your drive is visible, check the number of lenses. Blu-ray disc drives have two separate laser lenses.
    Figure 3: Blu-ray disc drive with dual laser lenses
    Blu-ray disc drive with dual laser lenses
  • The computer must have movie player software that supports Blu-ray playback. Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center will not play Blu-ray movies in Windows 8. If your computer did not come with Blu-ray player software, you may need to install third-party software to play Blu-ray movies.
  • The monitor or HDTV should support High-Definition Content Protection (HDCP). You can view the movie on non-HDCP display devices by setting the monitor or TV to a display resolution of 480p or less.
  • A DVI cable or HDMI cable connection is required for viewing resolutions beyond 480p.
  • The disc must be a Blu-ray movie disc (you cannot use an HD DVD in a Blu-ray drive that does not also support the HD DVD format).
  • An Internet connection is required to view Blu-ray movies for an extended period of time (for AACS key renewal). It is not needed for initial setup and viewing, but is required for continued use. The player software automatically performs the updates when connected to the Internet.
  • The drive's firmware may need to be updated if the movie is using a disc format the drive does not currently recognize. To make sure that the drive firmware is updated, use the HP Support Web page. Click the Drivers & Software tab, and enter your product name/number to find and install any available drive firmware updates from HP that match the type of drive installed in your computer.
  • If the movie is a newer Blu-ray title and other Blu-ray movies play, then the Blu-Ray compatible software might need to be updated. Blu-ray content protection can be updated by the movie industry, which requires new codes before the title can be viewed.
    NOTE:The manufacturer of your Blu-ray playback software may not have software available to play the latest releases. If an update is not available that enables you to watch a specific title, check back for updates on a regular basis.
    Examples of how to check for Blu-ray playback software updates:
    • CyberLink PowerDVD : Use the CyberLink Update Center Web site (in English) to check for updates.
    • Other Blu-ray software that came with your computer : Check the program for a way to update the software. You can also check the software and driver download page for your computer model by visiting the HP Support Web page and entering your product name/number in the Drivers & Software tab.
    • Blu-ray software you installed yourself : Check the software application for a way to update the software. If you cannot find a way to update the software, check the Web site of the software manufacturer.
Once all of these components are connected and turned on, you should adjust the display resolution on the computer to match the best possible HDTV resolution on your display device - preferably 1080p or 1920x1080. If your TV or monitor is not compatible with HDCP, then you must use a lower display setting of 480p or less.

Problems occur while viewing Blu-ray movies on a notebook PC

When viewing Blu-ray movies on a notebook PC, the following problems can occur:
  • The Blu-ray movie does not play on the notebook display and an external display at the same time . The message The content is protected. The content is not allowed to play in current display mode may appear when playing a Blu-ray movie in dual display mode. This behavior is intentional. For copy-protection purposes, viewing a Blu-ray movie is limited to only one display at a time. Therefore, you must choose either the notebook display or an external display device to view the output from the Blu-ray video. In Windows 8, press the Windows + P key to open the Second screen menu on the right side of the notebook screen. Select Second screen only to transfer the display from the notebook to the desired external display.
  • The Blu-ray movie play menu cannot be controlled from either the touchpad or an attached mouse . This behavior is intentional. The Blu-ray movie assumes that you are using either the keyboard, or PC remote (if included with the system) to select play.
  • Sporadic horizontal lines appear when playing a Blu-ray movie if the notebook PC wireless is turned on . The lines on the display are caused by interference from the wireless network. To resolve the issue, you should close any open applications and turn off wireless by pressing the notebook PC wireless button. This should prevent any further wireless network interference.

Unable to view 3D Blu-ray movies

Before you can watch Blu-ray movies in 3D, make sure that your computer meets the following specifications and that you have the correct hardware and software.
  • The optical drive in your computer must be compatible with the Blu-ray disc format, also known as BD format. You can look for a Blu-ray label on the front of the drive, or you can look up the product specifications for your computer to find out whether the drive is Blu-ray compatible. If the laser element of your drive is visible, check the number of lenses. Blu-ray disc drives have two separate laser lenses.
    Figure 4: Blu-ray disc drive with dual laser lenses
    Blu-ray disc drive with dual laser lenses
  • The computer must have movie player software that supports 3D Blu-ray playback. Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center will not play 3D Blu-ray movies in Windows 8. If your computer did not come with 3D Blu-ray player software, you may need to install third-party software to play 3D Blu-ray movies.
  • Use a 3D Vision-ready PC display, such as a monitor or HDTV, with a High-Definition Content Protection (HDCP) compliant input. The refresh rate will probably need to be set at 120 Hz (or multiples of 120 HZ) and the resolution set to 1080p.
  • Make sure that you have Blu-ray 3D movie playback software installed on your computer. Standard media players may not play 3D movies.
  • Use 3D glasses that are compatible with your software.
  • The graphics card in your computer must also be compatible with the type of 3D technology used by the software. For example, if you use NVIDIA 3D Vision technology, the software, glasses, and graphics adapter all must conform to this technology. You can look up the specifications for your computer or your graphics card to find out whether the graphics card is compatible.
  • The processor in your computer must be fast enough to support Blu-ray 3D. Usually, if your graphics card is compatible with Blu-ray 3D, your processor can support 3D.
  • The drive's firmware may need to be updated if the movie is using a disc format the drive does not currently recognize. To make sure that the drive firmware is updated, use the HP Support Web page. Search for your product name/number in the Drivers & Software tab to find and install any available drive firmware updates from HP that match the type of drive installed in your computer.

Error: DVD decoder not found

A decoder is software that tells Windows how to put the movie image back together from the DVD files for playback. A "DVD decoder not found" error occurs when the decoder is not installed or not properly registered with Windows. In the United States and many other countries, DVD decoders are not free and are not legally available for free download from the Internet. The only ways to legally fix this error are to reinstall the DVD software or purchase new DVD player software.

Resolving region errors

A region error opens after inserting a movie disc into the drive. The movie cannot be played. Examples of region error messages include:
NOTE: The following information applies to Region 1 DVDs. Depending on country/region, laws and drive behaviors may differ.
  • Illegal DVD Region
  • The region of the DVD movie you are trying to play does not match the authorized region of the DVD player
  • 0x80004003
  • 0x80034013
Region errors occur when the DVD or Blu-ray movie does not match the country/region in which it was intended to be sold. The drive is matched to the region where it was sold. If a movie from a different country/region is placed in the drive, a message appears and the software may not let the movie play.
Region table for standard DVDs
Countries/RegionsCountry/Region CodesCountries/Regions
1 United States and Canada
2 Europe, Japan, Near East, South Africa
3 Southeast Asia (including Hong Kong SAR)
4 Australia, Central and South America, Mexico, New Zealand
5 Eastern Europe, North Africa, Northwest Asia
6 China
Region table for standard Blu-rays
Region CodeCountries/Regions
A East Asia (except Mainland China and Mongolia), Southeast Asia, the Americas and their dependencies.
BAfrica, Southwest Asia, Europe (except Russia), Oceania and their dependencies.
C Central Asia, East Asia (Mainland China and Mongolia only), South Asia, central Eurasia and their dependencies.
The following map shows the regions as defined by the BDA
Blu-ray Disc Association - BDA
.
Blu-ray regional map
Commercial DVD and Blu-ray movie discs contain a region code. For example, if you play a DVD disc from Region 1, and the DVD player is set to Region 2, a dialog box displays, stating, a disc has been inserted from a different region . This dialog box displays the region for the inserted movie disc and the current player region, along with a list of new player regions and countries available to select. At this time you can elect to change the region.
Most disc players play up to three non-region titles before they stop playing non-region titles. When a new region is selected, a warning appears, stating the number of region changes remaining before the change is written. This is designed to prevent illegal selling of software titles between regions. Use compatible DVD or Blu-ray movies for the region where you are located or replace the drive with one from the same region where the movies are sold.
If you live in a region other than what the drive is set to, you can change the drive to match the region in which you live. For example: If a computer is purchased in the United States (part of Region 1) and is then moved to the Netherlands (Region 2), the drive region setting should be changed to match the new region. Changing the drive region setting can be done a limited number of times. To change the drive region setting, do the following steps.
  1. On the Windows 8 Start screen, type Device Manager to open the Search charm, and then select Device Manager from the search results.
    Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click, and select Device Manager from the menu.
    Figure 5: Opening Device Manager
    Image of opening Device Manager
  2. Double-click DVD/CD-ROM drives .
  3. Double-click the name of the disc drive.
    A properties window opens.
  4. Click the DVD Region tab, select a geographic area, and then click OK to make the change.
    Figure 6: DVD Region tab in Device Properties
    DVD Region tab in Device Properties

Unable to view movies in Windows Media Player

If Windows Media Player does not play DVD or Blu-ray movies in Windows 8, look for third-party solutions or use the support included with Media Player.
The Windows 8 operating system does not include a pre-installed software application for DVD and Blu-ray movie playback. Windows Media Center is available as an add-on feature after upgrading to Windows 8 Pro, and will provide playback and encoding support for DVDs but not Blu-ray discs. Third-party solutions for DVD and Blu-ray movie playback are available for download on the Internet.

Audio problems when playing a movie

Windows 8 includes a troubleshooter that checks for problems playing sound. Follow these steps to use the audio playback troubleshooter to check for problems:
  1. On the Windows 8 Start screen, type find and fix problems to open the Search charm, and then select find and fix problems from the search results.
    Figure 7: Opening Find and fix problems
    Image of Opening Find and fix problems
  2. Under Hardware and Sound, click Troubleshoot audio playback .
    Figure 8: Troubleshoot audio playback
    Image of Troubleshoot audio playback option in Control Panel
    If you are prompted for an Administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Click Next .
  4. Windows checks for problems. If the troubleshooter detects problems, follow the instructions to fix the problem.

Reinstalling movie player software

Reinstalling the DVD or Blu-ray player software can resolve a variety of problems, including missing file messages, encoder not found messages, and errors involving device library (.dll) files. Use Recovery Manager to reinstall the DVD or Blu-ray player that came with your computer. For more information, see Using Recovery Manager to Restore Software and Drivers (Windows 8) .

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