GNU/Linux DVD Player Review

 in
Jon takes a look at Xine, VideoLAN Client, MPlayer and Ogle—four GNU/Linux DVD playback applications.

Playing DVDs under GNU/Linux has not had the happiest of histories, what with the DeCSS debacle and subsequent legal battle. So you'd be forgiven for thinking that you will never be able to play your DVDs on your GNU/Linux system. Luckily, this is not the case, and there are several applications available for you to download and use. The issue with DeCSS is still with us but is slowly getting clearer. However, this has left some of the DVD players officially not supporting encrypted DVDs, although unofficially, playback is possible via third-party additions.

This introduction to DVD playback applications for GNU/Linux looks at Xine, VideoLAN Client, MPlayer and Ogle. In addition to playing encrypted DVDs, unofficially in some cases, several of these players also will play back other file formats.

Xine

Xine has quite a large following, and for good reason, as it is a very capable DVD player. In addition, like most of the players reviewed here, Xine is capable of playing a large range of file types in addition to unencrypted-DVD playback. Xine easily can be extended with additional functionality as it supports plugins that enable you to incorporate new codecs (open- or closed-source) or any additional function easily. There are many plugins available for Xine on the Net ready to be downloaded.

Xine only supports the playback of unencrypted DVD directly, but support for encrypted DVDs is provided by a third-party plugin (xine_d4d_plugin). It is unlikely that Xine will support encrypted DVDs directly. The legal status of this plugin is, as always, debatable, but it is easy enough to find and install. There are some useful links on the Xine web site, and a search at Google should find the required links for this plugin. It is stated on the Xine web site that encrypted DVD playback is not going to be supported directly because of the legal issues that surround this area. However, once you have installed the plugin, Xine's playback of encrypted DVDs is smooth with no noticeable problems with audio synchronization or any video glitches.

Xine's interface is tidy and provides most of the function you might require. Depending upon your preferences, you may find that it takes up too much space on your desktop. As Xine is currently not skinnable, there is no way to change the size or layout of the GUI. If you are running XFree86 4.x, with a supported video card, you can switch Xine from windowed to full-screen mode and back again smoothly. If this is not supported by your video card or version of X, Xine still can be viewed in a window, which is the default startup mode.

Unfortunately, Xine does not support DVD menus directly; however, there is a plugin called dvdnav (available from prdownloads.sourceforge.net/dvd) that adds this functionality to Xine. This plugin is a must-have if you intend to use Xine for DVD playback. The plugin works very well, even with the complex animated menus that some DVDs have, and although this is not required for DVD playback, it obviously gives you complete access to all the features available. The code for the DVD navigation was written referencing the original Ogle DVD menu code base.

Xine is a good DVD player, and with the use of plugins it can be extended in many ways. It appears to have a solid following, which should ensure its survival. The interface, however, may not be to everyone's taste.

VideoLAN Client

The VideoLAN Client is part of the VideoLAN Project, a full MPEG-2 client/server solution. However, the VideoLAN Client also can be used as a standalone program to play MPEG-2 streams from a hard disk or DVD. It currently has GTK+, GNOME, KDE and Qt front ends and can use either X11, XVideo, SDL or DirectX for video output. For audio, VideoLAN Client supports OSS, ALSA and ESD. To access encrypted DVDs, VideoLAN Client uses the library libdvdcss, which is a simple library designed for accessing DVDs like a block device without having to bother with the decryption. VideoLAN Client does not use DeCSS but a different implementation that does not use the cracked Xing decoder key. The libdvdcss was written by the VideoLAN Client development team, using the original DeCSS code as a reference base.

DVD playback with VideoLAN Client is very smooth with no noticeable problems with audio synchronization. When you start viewing a DVD, it defaults to opening up a window to display the movie, but you switch to full-screen mode quickly and easily by pressing the F key, as with the other players reviewed here. The switch from windowed view to full-screen view, and back again, is very quick and smooth with no slowing of playback.

VideoLAN Client GUI is a rather large window by default, the largest of the group. This seems unnecessary, and although you can shrink it down, it does not scale very well—a minor point, but it does seem overly big for what is a simple interface. That said, the GUI itself is fairly easy to navigate, with buttons to Stop, Pause, Forward and so on. Preferences also can be modified for items such as the path to the DVD/VCD device, audio device and output to use, the default interface and so on. It is the only player reviewed here that allows you to modify the preferences from the GUI.

The only drawback to VideoLAN Client is that there is currently no support for DVD menus, so you only can see the movie and you cannot access any additional items. This is not a major drawback and should not be held against VideoLAN Client as its DVD playback is as good as Xine and MPlayer. If you are not too worried about having DVD menu support and can live with the largest GUI of the players reviewed here, VideoLAN Client is a good choice.

______________________

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

when we talk about VideoLan

cathrine gabler's picture

when we talk about VideoLan it is a non-profit organization composed of volunteers who will help in developing and promoting multimedia solution. Your guide about GNU/Linux DVD player is great and I have learned lot of things.
BT Infinity review

About GNU/Linux DVD player

Cathrine gabler's picture

The review about GNU/Linux DVD player is amazing and very nice hear about the interesting facts of this GNU/Linux DVD player. It is a quite long review and I have learned lot from your post. Thanks for sharing with us.
Mobile braodband Ipad deals

i want free software

k;sdflksdfsd's picture

i found free Dvd Player , work well , not hangup the pc , and has very good skins
i found it on this site http://www.softwarepile.com

It is a satisfactory review

rattan's picture

It is a satisfactory review of GNU/Linux DVD Player as it seems that proper care was taken to discuss both merits and demerits of the players and their best solution. Hope it would improve the system. Thanks for sharing the information.name plates

I am very happy to go through

Philip's picture

I am very happy to go through all your GNU/Linux DVD Player Review and also glad to notice much efforts put in and improvement. Thanks for the resourceful article.messenger bag men

Really nice blog , really

Anonymous's picture

Really nice blog , really very informative for the youth people because they really look for this sort of blog . I will be waiting for the new relase of new article on this blog.
Technology Details

Really nice blog , really

Anonymous's picture

Really nice blog , really very informative for the youth people because they really look for this sort of blog . I will be waiting for the new relase of new article on this blog.

Technology Details :- Really you will find here the new sort of technology

Useable Technology

olivianelson's picture

Well, it’s amazing. The miracle has been done. Well done.
---------

Useable Technology

Well, it’s amazing. The miracle has been done. Well done.
---------
Useable Technology

I've never had any such

Scott1202's picture

I've never had any such problems with mplayer and SDL or libdvdcss. by watching their mailing lists tho, you're right, don't email them. 99% of the time their response is RTFM. http://www.gpscardvd.com

Aimp on Linux here the

Anonymous's picture

Aimp on Linux here the tutorial

tips-linux.net/en/content/aimp-linux

Real player 11

danny0085's picture

Give a try to Real player 11 it recognize many video extensions

http://tips-linux.net/en/content/real-player-11

re

alice's picture

I cannot speculate on the professional seo motives of Japanese people (being completely ignorant of them, myself). But I will say that I website optimizer find by taking the time to make what I real soft am eating visually appealing, I am satisfied with less. I agree with the "making more out of less" idea.

best dvd playback

IT_helpdesk's picture

I have xine,Mplayer,and vlc installed on my ubuntu. I usually use vlc to watch dvd's because it has the biggest picture. I can't remember which one does it but either Mplayer or xine skips the commercials which I like sometimes.

Mplayer

Anonymous's picture

Mplayer I'm finding out, is extremely slow to start playing streaming audio in linux!

for mac users

maclove's picture

For Mac user, VLC player is better than DVD player.
If some DVD can not played by VLC player, use iMedia Converter to convert DVD on Mac.

MPlayer

jerry153's picture

I use MPlayer, Xine is also good!

BBK dvd player?

Movie is My Life's picture

What about BBK dvd player? Pls make review on BBK dvd ;)

I like MPlayer very much

Kre Alkalyn's picture

I like MPlayer very much which is easy to use.

Hi Linuxjournal, I (and many

Wezp Directory's picture

Hi Linuxjournal, I (and many others) would love to see a follow-up of this article as it's quite old now and a lot has changed in between. thank you!

Schade

John M. Bolder's picture

Schade, dass hier soviel automatische Einträge drin sind.

Community responds to theft of DVD player from child with autism

maxic's picture

A Rochester child will get to watch DVDs again, despite a thief's dirty work.

On Wednesday, a Rochester-based foundation made plans to replace Bailey Jasperson's portable DVD player.

Bailey, 7, lives with facial pain from growth problems, and he's had nearly two dozen surgeries.

He also lives with autism, which makes disruptive events especially traumatic. Rides to and from the Twin Cities, where he gets his treatments, cause him to cry from the pain.

Last week, Bailey's mother, Michelle Jasperson, forgot to lock the family's truck doors while she performed a good deed for her mother.

When Jasperson returned to the truck, both Bailey's and his sister's DVD players were gone.

On Wednesday, Jasperson said the RT Autism Awareness Foundation plans to replace Bailey's portable DVD player.

The Jasperson's had taken out a loan to buy a new DVD player that works for both their son and daughter, said Brad Trahan, a founder of the Awareness Foundation.

"Our foundation has agreed to reimburse the family for the DVD player," he said, noting the foundation board voted to do so unanimously.

Several people wrote or called the Post-Bulletin with offers of help for the family after news about the theft and Bailey's plight were published Tuesday.

Trahan said that if people are interested in connecting with other families living with autism, they can contact the Autism Awareness organization.

"We're not going to let these families face this illness alone," he said.

If you would like to help families with needs similar to the Jaspersons, call the United Way's information and referral service at 211.

MPlayer

Kevin Chen's picture

I like MPlayer very much which is easy to use.

agree

volker's picture

agree w you, but good informations given and will check out more.
good article !

Hi Linuxjournal, I (and many

Andrew's picture

Hi Linuxjournal, I (and many others) would love to see a follow-up of this article as it's quite old now and a lot has changed in between. thank you!

Configuration

Totti's picture

I found the configuration straightforward ;)

Videolan is also very

Severin's picture

Videolan is also very compatible

VLC plays everything without

Clemens's picture

VLC plays everything without problems

Re: Videolan is also very compatible

Anne Clark's picture

I also think that Videolan is the best choice. We have here in the company good experiences with this solution.

Ps3 and yellow dog linux = best dvd player based on linux ever!

Gringolo's picture

Videolan is very well. But if anybody has got the possibility to run Linux on a Playstation 3 console that will make the best DVD Player under Linux ever been. Try out! I am using Yellow Dog Linux doing it. Btw. nice article! Thx

I love Xine and so recommend

Markus's picture

I love Xine and so recommend it

Xine?

Bill's picture

Xine? Do you know something better?

Always a winner thanks

Lukas's picture

Always a winner thanks

I give the programmers of

Logodesign's picture

I give the programmers of mplayer my two thumbs up.
They are dedicated programmers.

New Comment

Heiko Müller's picture

Linuxjournal is a great hp. Good on you!

implementation of Open-Source

RonBuses's picture

This is a wonderful, insightful and uplifting case of a revealing infrastructure implementation of Open-Source & Free Software. Keep up these useful pieces.

XINE is the best

Peter's picture

I´ve been using XINE for a very long time now and I never had any problems using it. Had no problmes with any DVD - so I recommend XINE!

Nice article man! Didn't

mathews's picture

Nice article man! Didn't ethen knew about those players. I will sure try them all. Switched to linux a few days ago ans really need one of those. Thanks!ebooks novels

need your help !

msm.Linux.newbie's picture

i tried to install VLC but i found it needs alot of dependencies , though Xine needs fewer dependencies i couldn't install it regarding that im using RHEL 4.0 (which was made by oracle)
please if you had time send me the steps
thnx for ur time.

i have problems with

Anonymous's picture

i have problems with configuration ...

i have problems with

księgowy's picture

i have problems with configuration... ;/

No problem

Server-list's picture

If you have problems, please read the documentation in
DOCS/HTML/en/index.html, which should help you solve most of your problems.
Also read the man page to learn how to use MPlayer.

Polskie Forum Emule

eMule Forum's picture

What problem? configuraion is easy :)

enjoy

I've got 2 errors

AUtobusy's picture

Thanks for the article, jonathan.
ps: problems with configuration - I've got PIII800 - I've got 2 errors the picture has flickering yellowish stripes - which change shape as and I resize the window.

MPlayer

Erich Kass's picture

One of the best is VLC. Beyond question.

I am seriously considering to

Anonymous's picture

I am seriously considering to apply for a job at Post Logic Studios, I only heard assignment writing good things about them. As far as I am concerned I trust they have a good human resources management. assignment help

Well, has anybody else had

Van's picture

Well, has anybody else had experience with the latest version of Wine? Its mentioned in the latest stopzilla review that I read.

Mplayer

Katalog's picture

i have the Mplayer and its my first and i think for al long time...

videolan

Tim Muthmann's picture

i think videolan is the best cause it works on every os (macosx, win, unix) and needs really low hardware specifications. best prog. ever ;)

kaffeine

studium's picture

i think kaffeine is the best media player by using xine backend.

GNU/Linux DVD Player Review

Gry's picture

Nice article man! Didn't ethen knew about those players. I will sure try them all. Switched to linux a few days ago ans really need one of those. Thanks!

Webinar
One Click, Universal Protection: Implementing Centralized Security Policies on Linux Systems

As Linux continues to play an ever increasing role in corporate data centers and institutions, ensuring the integrity and protection of these systems must be a priority. With 60% of the world's websites and an increasing share of organization's mission-critical workloads running on Linux, failing to stop malware and other advanced threats on Linux can increasingly impact an organization's reputation and bottom line.

Learn More

Sponsored by Bit9

Webinar
Linux Backup and Recovery Webinar

Most companies incorporate backup procedures for critical data, which can be restored quickly if a loss occurs. However, fewer companies are prepared for catastrophic system failures, in which they lose all data, the entire operating system, applications, settings, patches and more, reducing their system(s) to “bare metal.” After all, before data can be restored to a system, there must be a system to restore it to.

In this one hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for better disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible bare-metal recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.

Learn More

Sponsored by Storix