I have a machine with a 1.2 GHz CPU which ought to be adequate for playing back videos using software decoders, but in practice I find that various media players that I have tried have a problem of excessive CPU load giving jerky playback. This is particularly a problem with DVDs. Free products like the DScaler mpeg-2 decoder and Media Player Classic give particularly poor results when playing DVDs. Commercial mpeg-2 decoders like Nvidia have a much reduced CPU load with the Cineplayer DVD decoder 2.3.1 having the least CPU load. However, each new version of WMP becomes more bloated and feature rich thus demanding more system resources and cancelling out the improved performance provided by the Nvidia and Cineplayer decoders.
ZoomPlayer is a lightweight rendering engine with no built in codecs and filters and which places less demand on system resources than WMP. There is a noticeable improvement in rendering of movement compared to WMP for all formats. A DivX4 movie that was unwatchable under WMP 11 is adequately presented by Zoomplayer. Zoomplayer provides the ability to select from more than one source of codecs installed for each format so that you can experiment for best performance. For instance, I deselected the Nero codec for DivX and instead selected the latest DivX 6.4.3 codec to produced enhanced playback of my DivX4 movie.
There is no limit to the number of video and audio formats that can be played back since the choice depends on how many codecs you have installed. When you first install Zoomplayer your system is scanned for the most important codecs and you informed if any are missing. You are then given the opportunity to automatically download and install the missing codecs of your choice. Not really any more messy than WMP install. You can use products like XPlite and Nlite to get rid of WMP leaving just WMP 6.4 so that you can install the WMV and WMA codec pack.
Zoomplayer also has a stylish and unfussy Gui with skins available.
I thought that maybe I was being a bit hard on DScaler in my previous post, so I have tried it again using XP professional with service pack 2 and WMP 9.00.00.3250 on the same computer. I downloaded Dscaler5008.exe again and this time it did allow DVDs to be played with WMP even though it was not detected by the Windows XP Video Decoder Checkup Utility. However, it's performance was inferior to that of nVIDIA Pure Video Decoder 1.2 which I am using with WMP9 on another partition on the same computer. The problem is the same as what I experienced with Media Player Classic - jerky movements. My CPU is a Cyrix C3, 1 Ghz which ought to be sufficient for playing DVDs. Maybe nVIDIA is better because some of the processing load is shared between the CPU and the graphics card.
If you are using WMP9 and Windows 98SE don't waste your time with this codec. Once installed you should be able to see a DVD option in the Play menu and in the Tools>Options>File Types menu there should be a check box for DVD video but neither was present.
I cannot see how any of these free MPEG2 decoders could possibly work since the media players with DVD playback capability are programmed to recognize only the main commercial software decoders like NVIDIA and PowerDVD. Anything else would require tweaking of the registry which is a skill beyond the average user.
If you want a free DVD player take my advice and use Media Player Classic. It works a treat with XP as long as you have a 1 Ghz or faster processor.
Don't waste your time with this half baked amateur effort. It doesn't work with WMP9 and Windows 98SE. The Play menu should show a DVD option when Dscaler is installed and the Tools>Options>File types menu should include a check box for DVD video but neither of these was present.
The so called help file gives no information on troubleshooting, configuring or anything else that would interest anyone who is not a programmer. Would be users are expected to join their forum and discuss among themselves how to get it to work.
If this is an XP only codec why doen't they say so?
It just doesn't work with WMP9 and Windows 98SE. After install you should be able to see in WMP9 tools>Options>File Types a check box for 'DVD Video' but there was none. Trying to open a VOB file with WMP9 doesn't work either. Luckily I used an uninstaller program with Stinkey's Codec so I could get rid of it completely.
So far the best option I have found for a free DVD player is Media Player Classic. You may find that you need XP and a processor of at least 1 Ghz for it to work though.
If anyone knows of another option for a free DVD player that works with Windows 98SE I would like to read about it.
I have been having tremendous problems using this codec pack with Media Player classic. Possibly the cause of the problem is the use of a product called XPlite that provides extra options to remove unwanted windows components. It is possible that media players or their codecs were not completely uninstalled. What happens is that wmv9 and wma9 will not open. When you re-install the codec pack the following two codecs are shown as remaining uninstalled:
Windows Media MPEG 4 v1.1 Direct Show
WM Audio Voice 9
Sherlock shows the following codecs as broken or missing:
Indeo video 5.10 Compression Filter
Indeo Video 5.10 Decompression Filter
Windows Media Video Decoder
The only answer is to open a media file in the WMP 6.4 that came with the OS and it will automatically download the required codecs. The two files downloaded were:
WMPK Dshow Voice Decoder Cab for 6.4 Player (RTW)
WMV-9 VCM RTW
I have not been able to find where you can download these files to save on a disc.
Incidentaly Media Player Classic does have a find codec button but the page you are referred to is full of programmers gibberish.
It's me again. I have been tearing my hair out in frustration trying to install the Media Player Classic that comes with RealAternative on my second XP partition. I was getting 'failed to render file' messages with each attempt to open wma and wmv files after having installed the latest windows media codec pack for WMP6.4. The answer was found in a Doom9 forum. Open View>Options>Tweaks and untick the box for 'Use Wm ASF Reader with Windows Media Files'. Unfortunately there is no help file with this program and the zipped document you can download will not open. Thank God for Google huh?
I love the no nonsense user interface of this programm with menus for File, View, Play, Navigate, Favourites and Help just like a proper Windows program. Winamp may do a better business of playing your media files but it has a ghastly user interface.
Incidentaly mpeg-4 support is not integral with MPC as I wrote before. You have to install the WMP6.4 codec pack.
I cannot recommend this program (MPC 188.8.131.52) too highly. It realy does play everything you could possibly want without code bloat or instability. I tried the WMP8 that I recieved with XP professional but I had endless trouble with error messages and files that would not open. I tried WMP9 and the same thing happened. MPClassic is a relatively small stand alone program with built in decoding support for DVD, mpeg-2 mpeg-4 AC3, CDA and mp3s among other things so it will play anything you buy in the shops without having to buy a software or hardware DVD decoder. Brilliant! You need to download the wm9 codecs for WMP6.4 to play the latest wma and wmv files. Better still get the MPClassic bundled with Real Alternative and you can junk Real Player. While you are at it get Quick Time alternative and then you are set up for just about everthing ther internet you throw at you.
As far as picture and sound quality go I see no advantage in WMP9 so all it has to offer are gimmicks like skins, CD library and internet radio.
Only problem is that I use a product called XPlite to get rid of the WMPs bundled with XP but then MPClassic does not work. Any solutions anyone?
I want to take back what I wrote about AutoGK earlier. It is nothing short of excellent. It's only fault is, as I discovered, is that it does not halt the program when an error is discovered.
AutoGK is a front end for a variety of programs including VirtualDUB, DGIndex and LAME. One of these programs, Azid.exe detected an error using a CRC check which was the cause of the delay in the audio that I noted before. The cause of this error was that the VOB files on my hard drive had become scrambled, possibly through copying from a badly scratched original. The solution to the problem was to rip the DVD again but with Smartripper rather than DVD Decrypter.
Another problem I noted was that changing the output resolution from Auto Width to 720 caused the movie to play back jerkily so it is best to stick to Auto Width. The auto output audio type for two CD output sizes is AC3 so it is OK to change to constant bitrate MP3 which leaves more space for video.
I cannot rate this program too highly. It is the answer to all your DVD ripping prayers and it is equal to anything you could pay money for.
At first this program seemed like a DVD rippers dream come true because it is a no-brainer that works every time. However there is a flaw that makes it useless. This is the sound being out of sync with the video. I tried to correct this after finishing the output file using VirtualDUB but I received an error message saying that there was no suitable audio decompresor installed. I am using divX521 and Radium MPEG Layer 3 with Media Player Classic. I have tried Xmpeg and MPG Convert but they don't work either. The latest Flaskmpeg crashes all the time so the only free option left is the incredibly slow Flaskmpeg 0.58.
It seems to me that unless you are willing to pay for this kind of software you are going to get rubbish.