DVD-ROM For My New Computer?

I’m getting ready to purchase a new home computer and the dealers seem to think I want to purchase a DVD-ROM instead of a CD-ROM. Do I?

What do I get? What do I lose?

Any of you brainiacs out there able to help me?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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You Lose: nothing but some money. DVD drives play CDs too.

You Gain: the ability to play DVD movies on your PC, and run software on DVD-ROM.

I got a DVD-ROM on my PC a year ago, and it’s been pretty much a waste so far. I don’t care to watch movies on my PC, and there is very little software on DVD-ROM.

If the difference between CD and DVD is a low percentage of the cost of the unit, it may be worth it in case there are good titles in the future.

You can plug your TV into your DVD-ROM to watch them there if you’d rather. And DVDs will very soon become even bigger and better than currently.

So you’re probably getting a good deal, in the long run. As long as it’s a good player.

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Make sure your DVD-ROM comes with a decoder card. Software decoding is slow and doesn’t look as nice. Even a slower computer with a decoder card can play DVDs with no trouble.

Well… The latest video cards have some MPEG decoding built into them. I have a Rage Fury, and DVD output is as good as with a hardware decoder, and CPU utilization is almost as low as with a full hardware decoder.

i dont recommend getting a dvd drive unless you can plug it into your tv and sound system somehow… because i wouldnt be watching movies on my pc anyway…

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I’d suggest getting the DVD. It’s not much cheaper to get the CD-Rom, and in the future games, and large multimedia software will be on DVD. So far the only thing I use my DVD for is movies (until I spring for a really nice DVD player, and I have a 21" monitor so i don’t mind watching moives on it), and Riven. Riven is the sequel to Myst and comes on 7 CDs or one DVD. Its much nicer on DVD, and nice to not need to swap discs. If you use encyclopedias the DVD versions of the popular ones are the most common DVD software.

The only decision I regret is getting the DVD instead of the CD-RW drive. The DVD is nice, but a CD burner is more useful. If they come out with a DVD/CD-RW drive, or DVD-RW/CD-RW drive soon you may want to save the $200 and buy one of those in 18 months. Otherwise a plain CD-ROM is getting very close to obsolete.

I have a CD-RW drive on my computer but I can’t figure out how to do anything on it…No manual came with it b/c it was pre-loaded and it’s not intuitive IMO.

I did manage to get one of my favorite CD’s digitalized so that I could burn my own CD. Trouble is, it doesn’t look like there’s an option for picking just a couple tracks. And heck, I don’t want to burn the entire thing. Not to mention that the blank writable cd-roms I bought say you can only record once. I don’t know if this is a lie, but they’re too expensive to just fiddle with.

Now I wish I had gotten the zip drive. At least I would have been able to back up my files quickly…

The computer illiterate doper, Lisa

Lisa, that CD-RW (assuming its a CD-RW, and not a CD-R) is a great toy, and a thousand times better than a Zip drive. The simple fact of copying CDs and downloading MP3’s will pay for it in a month. You need a CD Ripper to copy CD’s and to break it up into individual tracks. I recommend Real Jukebox. Download it here: http://www.real.com/jukebox/
The free one is fine, but I suggest using the full version to burn CD-R’s because you want to use as high quality sound as posibble. If you have a CD-RW drive you can burn a CD-R once, and CD-RWs as many times as you want. You need to buy the right type of blanks though. I got Real Jukebox’s full version for free included with one of my packages (not sure which) It could have been Natscape, Windows, Office, or something. I’d search your software before spending any cash.

If you do a simple search online you’ll find alot of info on how to use CD rippers, MP3 players, and downloading software. I found alot of sites that I download MP3s from and thereofore I get lots of One hit wonders free, I would post some links, but I imagine that somewhere in the fine print I’m breaking some laws, and the SD may not like that.

A couple of sites to look at for a start is www.real.com, and www.winamp.com Both are sites that provide MP3 players, and CD burners, but they have a nice beginners section. Thats how i got started. You can find lots of freeware CD Rippers, and MP3 Players online, but I’d say Winamp is the best free one, and Real Jukebox is the best and most user friendly, and customizable. If you have any ?s let me know.

That first link is www.real.com I always forget about that damn auto URL code that includes commas and periods.

As long as you’re aware that Real Jukebox sends personal info on what you’re doing with the application right back to the Real Player folks…

Yer pal,

When I went shopping recently, one of the salesmen said something about the cheaper computers having merely DVD Version 2, and that those would not play movies at all. He said you need Version 3 to watch movies, and for the price difference, you might as well buy a regular DVD player and not bother with the computer.

Does this make sense to anyone? Perhaps I misunderstood him, or maybe he’s totally wrong to begin with. Any guesses?

What kind of info does it send? Does the software not work if you are not connected to the internet? Do they tell you in the user agreement that the info is sent?


I bought my computer about a year ago and opted for the DVD and have never regretted getting it. The quality of the picture is unbelieveable and I am really glad I got it. I know I can hook it to my TV but have never got around to it but truely the picture is so amazingly clear.

I think it is a very wise move to explore all the options and do not trust the salesmen as they only want to sell you the most.

I researched it too when I planned to buy my first desktop after using a laptop for many years. I suggest you look at buying something in the midrange category. There’s no sence in buying top of the line unless you use all the features. Make up a list of what you use and need and the memory you want and just shop around for the best price. I strongly recommend getting the extended warranty on any computer as I have always done and get that extra support because you never know when your going to need it.

There are more and more movies on DVD and there will certainly be more in the future.

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Actually the government just nailed Real for that and Real claims that they’re going to send a patch so that it will no longer send the info. back to them.

Never heard that about the DVD 2 vs. DVD 3. AFAIK, all DVD players will play the movies as long as you have a decoder card or a fast computer with software.

ATI’s All in Wonder 128 does the DVD decoding and allows you to hook it to a TV and sound system. I just got mine and am working on getting it set up.


Buy a DVD player if you want to watch DVDs on your television. The tv out sucks from a computer. A DVD cdrom in your computer will play the movies great to your monitor.

I would go for a CDRW drive instead. You can burn CDR for play back in a regular cd player, or CDRW for rewritable use in your computer. You store 650MB on each CD and it’s great for data backup. A lot better than a zip drive or tape backup.

I’m scanning in family photos and storing them to cdr. Same for some old folksongs I can’t buy, but have on live cassette recordings.

You can boot your computer from one if you burn it right.

Thanks for the info, Omniscient. I downloaded the free version of Jukebox and plan on playing with it tonight. Do you use this software to back-up your hard drive, or do I just go through Windows Explorer? I’m sooo confused. Can you tell?

And, btw, what is an MP3? I’m hopelessly behind on my computer lingo.

P.S. It’s a CD-RW. “HP’s Exclusive CD-Writer Plus.” Don’t know what’s “plus” about it…

FWIW, I watched a bootleg of BWP on my DVD-ROM, except for the annoying Japanese (?) subtitles, the picture and sound were awesome.

Well, i don’t want to pass myself off as any kind of expert, I most definately am not, but i have clumsily stumbled through the computer learning curve, and am pretty comfortable with experimenting.

Satan, please enlighten me. I am very very cautious when i download, and read agreements carefully. I don’t recall any of the implications you make. Some cites would be appreciated. Ditto funnee. I always use a web based e-mail for registering, never a full name, and unless they go through the trouble of tracking me through my ISP its anonomous AFAIK.

I do know that when you play a CD they use your internet connection to look up the Track data, song titles etc. I suppose they could attach info listing any MP3’s on your computer, but that’s illegal. I suppose it could keep track of any music you burn to CD, but that would take some doing, and is certainly illegal.