My Dell Studio Hybrid living room PC replacement arrived today. I was pleasantly surprised how well the setup went only to be stymied when I went to watch disc three of Big Love tonight. Turns out Dell likely mis-configured the DVD decoder and has essentially broken Windows Media Center and Windows Media Player DVD playback (Windows Home Premium and Ultimate come with their own DVD decoder that Microsoft licensed but Dell is installing their own DVD software that might be messing that up.)
People are complaining in the forums, Dell Studio Hybrid Cannot play DVD’s in Media Centre! Help! and Dell Studio Hybrid – DVD playback problems, CD importing problems.
Looks like they not only messed up regular DVD playback but also BlueRay too if you opted for that $250 upgrade, Studio Hybrid – Dell Media Direct 4 – Blu Ray issues – out of the box!
It is shocking that a major OEM would drop the ball on key out of the box scenarios like DVD playback from native Windows apps.
What’s worse is that they don’t appear to know how to correct the problem, nor have they fixed it yet and the system has been shipping for at least a month.
What also bugged me about Dell tonight (but less) is that Dell uses Lithium to host their forums (Redfin also uses Lithium for our forums) but Dell is not using Lithium’s single sign on (SSO) solution to share one account across the forums and their regular site. It took Redfin only a few days to implement and was a requirement when we added forums. It’s also annoying that the password requirements for the forums exceed the password requirements for their main site so I couldn’t even re-use the same password. And while we’re on the subject of Dell sign in. Does anyone else find it very odd and highly insecure that sign in to Dell’s main site is over HTTP? I would think that HTTPS would be the requirement because of stored credit card information.
Update: Vista Media Center Decoder utility reports both audio and video decoders as Microsoft. DVDs play fine in Dell’s Media Direct software. I’ve also contacted my contacts at Media Center to see if they can find a work around and set Dell straight.
Update: Here’s the fix.