With the advent of the PC-DVD drive and ever increasing CPU speeds, the time for software decoding of DVDs (as opposed to hardware decoding) has finally become a more prevalent practice. With more and more OEMs equipping their computers with DVD instead of the more traditional CD-ROM drives, the market for a SoftDVD player/decoder has erupted into an all-out battle for image quality, speed, ease of use, as well as sound. Among today's major players in the SoftDVD player market are, Cyberlink's PowerDVD, Intervideo's WinDVD, and VaroVision's VaroDVD.
DVD on the PC is nothing new. A few years ago when PC DVD players first arrived, the PCs of the time did not have nearly enough power to run them correctly. Special pieces of hardware were required to decode the DVD, freeing up the rest of the PC to do other tasks.
While all this is great, today's PCs have become much more powerful than the PCs of the past, and are more than equipped to handle today's DVDs – through software. This is where today's software DVD decoder/players come into play, hovering at around $25 each from top name players like Cyberlink, Xing, Varo Vision, and Intervideo.