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This chapter is from the book

Watching a DVD Movie

To watch a DVD movie from within WMC, insert the DVD into your computer’s DVD drive, select the Play DVD option from the Movies + TV menu, and the DVD starts playing immediately.

For more options, press the More Info/Details button on your remote or right-click the screen to display the menu shown in Figure 5.20.

Figure 5.20

Figure 5.20 Opening the More Information menu while playing a DVD.

Selecting Zoom Settings

Because we live in a world where movies and TV shows might use any one of several aspect ratios, you might need to tweak the screen settings used for playback to avoid squashed or vertically stretched displays, even if you followed the procedure described in Chapter 3, “Setting Up Windows Media Center,” for configuring your display.

Use the Zoom setting on the DVD playback menu to help match your display and the aspect ratio used by your movie.

To toggle through zoom options, select Zoom from the Info menu and press the OK button on your remote or keep clicking Zoom in the Info menu with your mouse. The options include

  • Zoom option 1 (Normal): The movie displays full-screen on displays with the same aspect ratio. Widescreen films will display letterbox black bars on standard displays; standard films will display black bars at the side on widescreen displays.
  • Zoom option 2 (Zoom): The movie is zoomed to display full-screen; edges of the image will be cropped.
  • Zoom option 3 (Stretch): The movie is stretched to fit the screen without cropping, but the image might be distorted horizontally (standard movie) or vertically (widescreen movie).
  • Zoom option 4 (Intelligent Zoom): The movie is zoomed to display full-screen, but the edges are stretched more than the center.

Which zoom option works the best? That depends on the aspect ratio of your display and of the movie itself. If the movie is in the same aspect ratio as the the display (for example, a widescreen movie on a widescreen HDTV or desktop display, or a classic movie on a standard TV or display), use the default, zoom level 1. However, if the movie and the display don’t match, use one of the other zoom options if you want to fill the screen. I prefer to view films at their native aspect ratio and put up with letterbox borders, but if you don’t, the Zoom menu is your friend.

Figure 5.21

Figure 5.21 Normal Zoom versus Zoom.

Figure 5.22

Figure 5.22 Stretch versus Intelligent Zoom.

Figures 5.21 and 5.22 compare zoom results when viewing a typical 1.85:1 wide-screen comedy (Bill Murray’s classic Groundhog Day) on a wide-screen display.

Using Other Menu Options

The Movie Details option doesn’t do much: Select it, and you get two choices—play the movie from its current position or restart it. WMC might crash when you use this option, so stay away from it.

You can restart a paused movie by pressing the Play button on your remote or by clicking the Play icon in the mouse menu, and you can restart a film from the beginning by selecting Title Menu and restarting the film from there.

Use the Settings selection to open the Settings menu.

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