What is a decoder, and how do I fix it?


Beta member
Hi All:

I have a Dell XPS 410 w/xp media center. Until very recently, my DVD RW was working fine.

The other day, I tried putting in a blank DVD RW disk, and the drive designation for the player actually went from DVD to CD! In trying to make it work (obviously to no avail - reason for this post) an error message came back telling me I need a decoder.

Dell does not feel it is necessary to include such things on their download site, even though their system obviously allowed the file to be blown up. And, of course, they want about $60.00 from me to get the software that I had already paid for when I bought the system.

Before I bother spending any money, I really want to know what a decoder is. If I buy one, how do I know what to buy? How will I know it will work with what I have?

Is the decoder the same as a codec?

If you don't wish to explain it to me, is there somewhere I can find out about it?



Fully Optimized
Did anything change before you put the disk in - didn't install any software or new updates that could potentially be problematic?

Also, can you be a bit more specific about the error message? Did it just say that or were there any more specifics?


Beta member
Sorry it took so long to read your reply. I wasn't aware I had to turn on the e-mail notification.

All I know is that when I place a blank DVD RW in the player, the drive designation goes from DVD to CD, and it cannot recognize the disk. If I try to play it on Windows Media Player, it will only do the trailer, and not allow me to pick "chapters".

Needless to say, I can't record anything onto a DVD RW.

All the error message said is that I need a decoder. No error number or such.

If I buy a new DVDRW player, will the installation software included in it fix this issue? I can get a DVD RW for a lot less than what I can get the "decoder" from Dell for.