After days of frustration, I vowed that I would find out what was causing those DVD issues of mine or die trying.
Turns out that it wasn’t the DVD player at all; it was a driver issue revolving around my graphics card.
I just want to update this one final time so that perhaps my resolution can help someone else resolve a similar issue. It was crazy aggravating.
After failing to find a resolution here, I copied a DVD that I knew had previously played successfully several times with this Lite On drive on my system to my hard drive, and tried playing it there. I got the exact same sort of stuttery playback, which told me that it wasn’t the drive at fault at all. I immediately knew that my GeForce 5700LE graphics card…which video card-saavy folks tend to refer to as the “Loser’s Edition” (and now I know why!)…was at fault. I’ve had some moderate trouble with the card here and there, but never was able to hunt down the cause or find a solution.
Since I was able to play DVDs with no problem at all right until right around June (I dont use the drive often for DVD playback), I knew that something had to have occurred between then and now to cause the playback issues I have been experiencing. The only thing it could be was a driver update, or possibly a remote chance of a piece of recently installed software causing a conflict. I am very adamant about keeping the newest possible drivers on my system. I must have deleted and reinstalled these graphics drivers a hundred times trying to resolve this most recent problem!
I went Googling and after a few hours of research and reading I did the following:
Downloaded the newest set of nvidia graphics drivers from the highly recommended Omegadrivers.net site.
Downloaded and installed Driver Cleaner from http://www.driverheaven.net/cleaner/
Removed all the graphics drivers from my system using the Add/Remove feature in control panel.
Rebooted into safe mode (F8 while rebooting).
Using Driver Cleaner, cleaned up all my cabs and then chose the “nvidia” option from the drop down menu and cleaned up those remnants as well (I suspect the culprit lurked in those files that were removed).
Emptied recycle bin and rebooted to my regular desktop
Installed the Omega drivers.
Most of this is basically following the instructions in the readme file that comes with Driver Cleaner.
I then tested the DVD I had copied to my hard drive and was ecstatic to see that it worked perfectly. Then I tested the DVD in my Lite On drive (same one that I copied to my hard drive), and it too worked flawlessly. Now I can delete that huge DVD file from my hard drive and reclaim that valuable space.
Thanks again for your help. I hope that the information I’ve included here helps someone else in return someday.
Take care, everyone! It’s nice to find a community where folks are so helpful. I’m looking forward to reading the forums regularly and learning a lot from everyone here.