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Old 10-16-2010, 06:59 PM   #1
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DVD Playback Issues on Ubuntu

Hello all. I'm sure this is a pretty common issue on these forums and I've searched high and low for an answer for my current predicament but right now, I'm at a total loss as to what to do next.

Before I continue, I'm running Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit and my optical drive is internal.

From what I've been able to piece together, DVD playback on Ubuntu requires three primary pieces of software: libdvdcss2, any of the ffmpeg or gstreamer codecs, and a good playback software (I'm more keen toward VLC). Searching through the default software repository, I've found that libdvdcss2 is included in the ubuntu-restricted-extras package, which is what I typically install in any Ubuntu installation from the get-go. I next install gstreamer and ffmpeg codecs and then install VLC. Now according to a lot of sources, once I get this far, I should have no problems. libdvdcss2 should work around the DVD encryption issue. Here's what I've put together from my experience.

I decided that I wanted to convert one of my movies to H.264 for playback on a portable device. I found that Handbrake (which I used on Windows) had a GTK port so I downloaded and installed that. I inserted my DVD into my optical drive and Ubuntu was able to mount the device and read the media, so I know that it can in fact be mounted and recognized. Handbrake also recognized that there was a mounted optical drive and that there was indeed media inside (it was reading the metadata on the DVD). After performing project-specific modifications in Handbrake for the rip/convert, I pressed the button to start the process and this is where it died. Handbrake didn't freeze but the progress bar just stopped moving period. I checked the debugging log and it kept throwing sector read errors on the DVD. So curiously, I decided to try and simply play the DVD back with VLC which didn't work. VLC isn't too verbose so I tried Totem next and what do you know: a "can't read from source" error occurred every time. I checked the documentation on Totem and other sources which say that that error in Totem means that the CSS encryption on the DVD is keeping it from being played. But I thought that libdvdcss2 was already installed on my system so I checked with the Software Source Manager and behold it was installed.

So I'm completely lost at this point. If anyone could help me with this issue, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Old 10-16-2010, 09:33 PM   #2
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First, check the disc. Could be scratched, this usually causes sector read errors. Try any other disc, rather it be a CD, DVD-Video, or even data - just to make sure that your DVD ROM is operating correctly.

Also, try for restricted software for Ubuntu. Ubuntu neuters their multimedia packages.
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 10-17-2010, 09:00 AM   #3
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Thanks for your help!

My DVD discs are all pristine; I actually backup my DVD's immediately onto my external hard drive and stream so I don't have to use the disc unless I absolutely have to (perfectly legal as long as I have the original copy and don't bootleg or pirate which I don't). This just happened to be a family disc that I'd found and wanted to convert it to another format.

As to your recommendation on Medibuntu, that hit the spot there. I had a lurking suspicion that some of that software wasn't installed, even after getting the ubuntu-restricted-extras package, when I was getting the errors I was getting. However I was't really aware of the Medibuntu repository. Site is bookmarked, repository added, and DVD's playback flawlessly. Thanks again!


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