Right from the start, I will say that I am not particularly up on computers so don't laugh too much about my problems please. I arrived home from PC World with my lovely new DVD player, opened up my computer, installed the unit and decoder card, installed the software, rebooted the computer, and nothing. I sat down with the manual to see where I had gone wrong but seeing as the program used an auto set-up method, I couldn't do much. After checking everything out, there was a conflict with the Creative SB16 which I had to laugh at because you expect products from the same company to co-exist quite peacefully. No matter what settings I used, the sound card refused to work at the same time as the DVD player. Then the creative Riva TNT 16mb graphics card conked out too while the DVD player was attached. To cut a long story short, I ended up having to cobble another system together using an old Matrox Millenium card, a Soundblaster Pro, and used a switch box to save getting a new monitor. After the new system was built, everything worked like a dream. Now that you are all saying well get to the point then, I would suggest that unless you have your heart set on a PC DVD player, get a TV set-top one as it will work as soon as you plug it in. I find that whenever I buy an upgrade for my PC, I have to spend a week getting it going. But now it is going, I am over the moon with it.
Witness vibrant digital imagery with DVD video and immerse yourself in cinema-quality Dolby Digital (AC-3) surround audio, or DTS Digital Surround audio with Creative's PC-DVD Encore 12X with Dxr3 decoder board. One of the leading providers of DVD technology, Creative's latest PC-DVD 12X drive reads DVD content at up to 12X speeds and enables you to access your data almost instantly. The PC-DVD Encore 12X delivers impeccable image quality, crisp, flicker-free images and processing of color video at high resolutions. Smooth playback is also ensured with Dxr3, the award-winning picture enhancement technology. The versatile Dxr3 board can also be connected to your TV, your Cambridge SoundWorks DeskTop Theater 5.1 DTT2500 Digital or any consumer AC-3 receiver/amplifier for home theater audio like never before. In addition, support for popular disk types such as DVD-R, CD-R, CD-RW and CD audio means a seamless transition to your existing data and audio library. Bring the future of digital entertainment to your PC and home.
I have been using the Creative 6x DVD-ROM with its accompanying mpeg decoder card for about a year now. Initially, this was to be my gentle let-in to DVD movies. However, avarice got the better of me, and I bought a stand-alone DVD player as well! The PC based solution was easy to install, and worked first time, both as a CD/DVD-ROM and for playing DVD movies. The movie action created via the MPEG decoder card is very smooth unlike some software decoders I have seen running on entry-level machines, and the software emulates a remote control in appearance. Inevitably (for me, that is) I started to get interested in being able to watch Region 1 DVDs imported from the States. I had heard of all sorts of dire things that happened if you tried to tweak your player to play other than Region 2, like your DVD locking up and having to be sent to the makers to be reset. However, I found some regional software called Remote Selector which a very reasonably-priced piece of shareware. This enables you to alter the Region prior to playing, and is universal for Regions 0-6. Another advantage of a hardware decoder, is that it has a TV output, in this case an S-Video socket which comes with a step-down lead to make it a composite output as well. One little used feature of the Creative software is the ability to force an NTSC DVD to produce a PAL output. In theory, this enables you to copy American disks to a British-market VCR, but I never told you that! The copies can be a little jerky as the machine ditches several frames from the higher frame rate of NTSC to synch it up with PAL, but is not too noticeable except on “panning shots”. Aha, you say, but what about the anti-copying software coding? Well, the Remote Selector software has a “Disable Macrovision” option. Nuff said.
I bought this piece of hardware to watch my DVDs on before I stumped up the cash to buy my stand-alone player, Boy was it a good choice. Having your DVD set up through your PC is good as the monitor can usually offer a better resolution can any TV and hence gives you a better and more detailed picture and with monitors anything up to 30" available its a good thing. This package helps the picture on your computer monitor be better than usual becuase it contains a hardware player and not just software, it comes with the Dxr3 PCI card which is a hardware decoder thus improving picture and play quality on your PC. Installing the unit into your PC is very easy and its just a case of opening up the case and sliding the unit into the correct place, All I had to do was put the card in, screw the drive into the front 5.25" bay, and connect the ribbon cable and CD AUDIO cables. The back of the card has S-VIDEO output so that you can watch your DVDs on your television. The Dxr3 card is a good thing as it is designed for this, and thats always better than letting your computers processor do all the calculation. Thus the inclusion of the Dxr3 card increase the value of this package, so even a computer with a low-end processor could play the DVds with good quality with this card. The audio and video sync is very good and the software included it very stylish and easy to use. You get a pop-up remote control that plays next to the film window or at the bottom of the screen if the film is in full scrren mode. With the PC-DVD system, you use your mouse pointer to select menu items. This came in handy for selecting an Easter Egg menu selection that used to take a lot of monkeying around to get selected using a regular DVD player remote control. The price is good at around £150 (when I bought it a while ago) and is well worth it, even though you could buy the Proline 1000 stand alone player for that. Both the Proline and the Creative labs players ar
e hackable, so you can watch other region DVDs on them. For the Creative Labs its easier to install a new player and then you download a piece of software called Zone Selector and use this to launch your player. I am very satisfied with this product. This is a very sturdy product that does what it says it does. I have not found a problem that I could not fix. Everything works like it is supposed to, the installation was very easy, and the dvd-rom has not stopped working. This dvd-rom has worked with all the latest software out there, so no need on worrying that it is outdated. The only thing is that sometimes region 1 DVD seem to freeze and my computer crahes but when installed in my brothers computer we do not get this problem at all.
If you allready have a Sound blaster Live soundcard and a set of surround or desktop theatre speakers then this DVD + Decoder is for you because together it truely is a cinmatic experience. For movies this is the package to have. Its not as quick as other drives on the market but the PC-DVD player is a top notch app. You can output to a TV or watch it on your monitor, the DVD experience is better than a normal video and having this on your computer lets you use all the other little extra's you get with DVD's such as all the interactive games and deleted scenes etc. Well worth having, does not not need a high end machine to watch DVD's cause of the decoder card (the DXr3). Buy it and submerge into the world of cinema.
A few months ago i was looking for a good DVD-ROM drive for my computer, but due to a hardware shortage in the UK, most drives were sold out - or the only ones available were not multi-region. I managed to find the DVD Encore package which also included the Dxr3 DVD decoder... i am very happy with my purchase! I discovered that i needed the Dxr3 card in my computer anyway with my specification, a P300 overclocked to 338 Mhz. When playing DVDs using a software decoder, the picture quality is poor and it tends to miss a lot of frames. Creative's DVD Player is great, definately a lot better than the normal software bundled with Hollywood+ decoders. (The Dxr3 is actually a Hollywood+ decoder but with Creative's brand name) All DVDs play perfectly and i've had no major incompatibilities... well there are some minor problems with some titles, but the software is updated by Creative so make sure you download the latest drivers! Installing the hardware is fairly easy, you'll have to refer to the manual for a few of the audio connections though, you connect the CD/DVD-ROM drives to the decoder, and the decoder's audio output to the CD audio of your soundcard. There is one thing to note about connecting any decoder card to your computer if you have another card such as a 3D accelerator installed. Your picture quality will be less because the video signal has to pass-through 2 cards - although it's nothing major. The blacks in text for example blur very slightly, but most people won't notice. The drive is good and although it isn't as fast as the latest drives out there, it's more than efficient. There's a Creative DVD Encore 8x too but the only difference is a faster drive. A very good all-in-one solution for those who want to watch DVDs on their computer.
The creative labs pc dvd encore 6 speed dvd 24 speed cdrom is now around 12 months old but still works fine for me. It has on the dxr3 pci card connections for the following stereo out,line out, audio out, audio s/pdif jack,tv out,vga out and vga in Installing the card and dvd cdrom was a little tricky with the connections from the sound card but with the help of the well laid out manual i manage it. Installation of the drivers was very straight forward when i booted the computer up the dxr card and dvd cdrom where found and windows just ask for the drivers i inserted the disk supplied and all went well. I have no problems at all over the last 12 months and just now and again check for new drivers on the creative labs web site. I have bought many dvds including the matrix and have had no problems. All in all this is a good package. PS Has now been superseeded by its big brother which has a 8 speed dvd and 40 speed cdrom both have the same dxr3 card .This new model will only play region 2 dvds.