Weird DVD play issue

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Hello --

I am a computer tech trying to troubleshoot a Dell Inspiron with a
strange issue: Most movie DVDs will play fine, but a few will cause the
graphics to go berzerk -- You insert the disk, and as soon as the DVD
player (PowerDVD) opens and starts to play, the display rapidly flashes
on and off and I can't find the mouse pointer.  In the flashing chaos, I
am barely able to do a 3-finger salute to get Task Manager up, and do an
<ALT>-E to do an End Task on PowerDVD, after which the flashing stops,
but some window elements are not rendered, and there are black boxes on
the screen they should be drawn.  

As I say, this happens only with SOME movie DVDs -- It appears to only
occur with certain hybrid DVDs with some interactive content, such as
the Harry Potter films, which always want to install "InterActual
Player", thus forcing you to manually open the already-installed DVD
player and hit "Play" (which is when the graphics go crazy).

I realize the flashing screen, etc. sounds like an issue with the
graphics controller, but why would it only happen with these hybrid

Here's the system info:

Laptop: Dell Inspiron E1505
Onboard graphics controller: Intel 945GM
OS: Windows XP Pro
DVD Player app: PowerDVD (OEM version)

Any advice would be appreciated.


Re: Weird DVD play issue

Dave Hardenbrook typed on Sun, 27 Sep 2009 15:44:04 -0700:
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Classic laser problems. DVDs has two lasers, one for CDs and one for
DVDs. Once one gets funny, either CDs or DVDs gets screwy. It will read
some and not some others. Give it enough time which ever one is funny,
will probably die altogether. Odds are great that replacing the drive
with a known good drive and all of the problems will disappear.

Gateway MX6124 ('06 era) - Windows XP SP2

Re: Weird DVD play issue

On 9/27/2009 4:44 PM, Dave Hardenbrook wrote:
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Hi Dave,

If the problem is consistently reproducable then I would guess that
their is content on the DVDs in question that require a 'codec' that you
normal DVD player doesn't contain. It tries to use one of its built in
codecs and you end up with the weird screen.

If a lot of the DVDs in question do want to load the InterActual player
then that is probably one of the things you want to look at before you
make any decisions as to how best configure your machine.

C.Joseph Drayton, Ph.D. AS&T

CSD Computer Services

Web site: /

Re: Weird DVD play issue

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Do not allow the InterActual player to install even if you feel that you
want to use its interactive features.

InterActual is basically a DVD playing software (with enhancements for the
interactive features) that is designed to lock your PC to playing only
region 2 discs (if you have defeated this functionality).  It will
automatically replace your normal DVD player as the default player.  It has
a bug in its code in that it plays many widescreen DVDs in 4:3 mode making
everything tall and thin.

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