Playing DVDs in Windows Media Center: frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some common questions about playing DVDs in Windows Media Center.

To learn how to play a DVD, see Play a CD or DVD in Windows Media Center.

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Why isn't there sound when watching a DVD?

There are several reasons why this might be happening. Try the following:

  • If you're using a Dolby sound system, make sure that your DVD audio settings in Media Center are set appropriately:

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click DVD, and then click Audio.

    2. Clear the check box next to Auto volume, choose the option under Dolby decoder setting that matches your setup, and then click Save.

  • If you're using speakers designed for computers, make sure they are connected to the line-out jack on your computer, and that they are turned on and working correctly.

    Picture of microphone jack, line-in jack, and line-out jack
    The microphone, line-in, and line-out jacks on a typical desktop computer

    For more information, see Connect a microphone, music player, or other audio device to your computer.

  • Make sure that the volume is not turned down too low or muted. To turn up (or unmute) the volume in Media Center, click the Volume Increase button Picture of the Volume Increase button repeatedly until the volume is at the desired level. (When you change the volume in Media Center, the main sound level in Windows is changed as well. For more information, see Adjust the sound level on your computer.)
  • Try configuring your speakers in Media Center:

    1. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click General, click Windows Media Center Setup, and then click Set Up Your Speakers.

    2. Follow the instructions to configure and test your speakers in Media Center.

  • Make sure your sound card is recognized and that you have the latest driver installed. For more information, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.

Why is the video distorted when watching a DVD?

It might be because another program for playing DVDs is installed on your computer. Some DVD playback programs install additional software that's used to decode the DVD video. If you're consistently having this problem in Media Center, try uninstalling the other DVD playback program.

Why won't a DVD play?

Here are some reasons why this might be happening:

  • Another DVD playback program is installed on your computer and is preventing Media Center from playing the DVD. Try closing the other program. If that doesn't work, you might need to uninstall it.

  • Your DVD drive is disabled, or you don't have the right driver installed on your computer. For more information, see Update a driver for hardware that isn't working properly.

  • Your screen resolution is not compatible with the DVD you're trying to play. You might need to change the screen resolution on your computer. For more information, see Change your screen resolution.

  • The cable you're using to connect your computer to your display isn't compatible with the DVD you're trying to play. If you're using an older type of cable connection, you might need to connect your computer to your display using a VGA, DVI, or HDMI cable. For more information about cable types and connections, see Connect your computer to a TV.

  • Your DVD drive isn't compatible with the type of DVD you're trying to play. For example, some drives can only read DVD+R or DVD-R discs. If you're trying to play a burned DVD that the DVD-ROM drive doesn't support, the DVD won't play.

  • The DVD is encoded for a different region. Most computer DVD players will only work with DVDs that are encoded for the same region that the computer was purchased in. So if you buy a DVD in one country and then try to play it on a computer from a different country, that DVD might not play.

Why is the movie information or cover art for my DVD wrong or missing?

Here are some reasons why this might be happening:

  • You aren't connected to the Internet, or your Internet connection is temporarily down. Media Center usually retrieves this information from the Internet.

  • Movie information and cover art aren't available for the DVD you're trying to play.

  • Media Center is configured not to download this information when you insert a DVD. This setting can be changed so that Media Center will download movie information:

    1. Make sure that your Internet connection is working properly.

    2. On the Windows Media Center start screen, scroll to Tasks, click Settings, click General, and then click Automatic Download Options.

    3. Select the Retrieve CD album art, media information for DVDs and movies, and Internet Services from the Internet check box.

    4. Click Save.

Why does a different program open every time I insert a DVD in my computer?

This is because of your AutoPlay settings. If you always use Media Center to watch DVDs, you can change your AutoPlay settings to not automatically open a program when a DVD is inserted. Then, when you insert a DVD, make sure that Media Center is in full-screen mode by clicking the Maximize button Picture of the Maximize button. The DVD should play automatically.

Here's how to change your AutoPlay settings:

  1. Open AutoPlay by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type autoplay, and then click AutoPlay.

  2. Next to DVD movie, do one of the following:

    • To never see the AutoPlay dialog box, select Take no action.

    • To choose an action each time you insert a DVD, select Ask me every time.