I want to watch my DVDs! (Part 2) - Adventures in Switching to Linux

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I want to watch my DVDs! (Part 2)

This is Part 2, the meat of what I did to watch DVDs on Ubuntu 7.10. For some background and an intro, read I want to watch my DVDs! (Part 1) first.

Yipee! I got watching DVDs working on my laptop. Unfortunately I did so many things that I can't tell you the minimal steps I took to get it working. So, I am instead going to use my destktop to recreate the steps required. I want to watch DVDs on it too. So, here is what I did:

Copyright restrictions prevent DVDs from playing on a default install of Gutsy Gibson so you have to install a few things. I assume also because of these restrictions, the files you need to install are not part of the default repositories either so we need to add the Medibuntu (Multimedia, Entertainment & Distractions In Ubuntu) repository.

If you are using Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibson, read on. If you are using a different release, check out the Medibunti installation and use wiki page.

Add the repository source list:

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/gutsy.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

Then add their GPG key:

wget -q http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update

You can continue using a command prompt from here but at this point I like to fire up the Synaptic Package Manager under System -> Administration. Search for and install libdvdcss2. This is a library that does all the "illegal" decryption of content protected by CSS. Installing this was the step that tripped me up the first few attempts. While you are in there you may also want to install w32codecs but I don't think they are required.

Next, you need to open up the normal Add/Remove Applications app. It is the very last option Add/Remove.... Be sure to close Synaptic first though because you modify packages when both are running at the same time. Search for and install VLC. It will be your DVD player. Installing VLC will actually install a lot of packages. At this point you should be able to watch a DVD in VLC.

On the laptop, I also installed Totem. Totem is the default Gnome media player called "Movie Player" under the applications menu. You should see 2 options, "Movie Player" (which is checked) and "Movie Player Totem (xine backend)". We want to replace the currently checked one which is using the gstreamer backend with the xine backend version. Now on my desktop after doing this, Totem still would not play a DVD. I imagine there is something else I installed on my laptop because it works fine there.

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