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As far as I know, this is impossible. The reading of the DVD is done at a hardware level - you need the right lasers etc. If you don't have a DVD drive then your computer can't read DVDs - period. (I would love to be corrected wrong on this one - it sounds cool if it really is possible ).
You can watch a movie, just not a DVD. I think what you heard of is a VCD. Its a dvd formatted disk with only 700mb of storage. So its a shrunken dvd burnt on to a cd. These will work with any dvd player, and cd-roms in computers, assuming you have vcd playing software such as mplayer or xine (w00t). I've never actually burned one myself, but I have read a lot about them.
IIRC, CDs use lasers within 750-780nm, while DVD lasers are at 630 to 650 nm. The CD's laser is just too wide to accurately read the denser tracks on the DVD, to say nothing of the problems brought on by layering.