Xubuntu 16.04 - DVD playback

  • 20 October 2017
  • charm
VLC playing a DVD

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I deleted Windows 10 completely from my desktop computer and installed Xubuntu across the SSD (boot and root partition) and hard drive (/home folder). The hard drive I formatted a little bit differently, I chose to use the XFS file system. There are a number of articles and discussions floating about the Internet that hint that XFS is better at handling large files (this arstechnica thread is one such example). I'm always ripping new DVDs and Blu-ray discs I've bought and those files can be quite large (45GB in a couple of instances), so I figured it couldn't hurt to try out XFS for awhile.

This evening I ran updates then installed the xubuntu-restricted-extras package. The description for xubuntu-restricted-extras is as follows:

- MP3 and other audio codec software to play various audio formats
(GStreamer plugins)
- software to install the Microsoft Web fonts
- the Adobe Flash plugin
- LAME, software to create compressed audio files.

There is a note in the package description that xubuntu-restricted-extras doesn't contain libdvdcss2, which is used to descramble video content on DVDs. If you want to play a DVD in Linux, you need libdvdcss2 or something similar. Installing libdvdcss2 is a matter of:

apt install libdvd-pkg
sudo dpkg-reconfigure libdvd-pkg

The first DVD I tried (James Bond - Octopussy) only worked partially, it only played the main menu. When I clicked on the Parole (the default media player in Xubuntu) menu option to play the movie hung. Thinking it might be an issue with Parole I installed VLC. VLC didn't display the movie, but I could hear the audio working in the background. I installed a couple more media playing programs, but they all had their own issues (one wouldn't load because of a missing skin and the other segfaulted when I told it to play the DVD).

At this point I tried a different movie (Sleepers). Parole played the movie, but VLC didn't. I almost never watch movies on my desktop computer so much of this was actually pointless. Most of the time I rip movies either using Handbrake or MakeMKV (both of which have Linux versions).

Octopussy ripped just fine and played back in Parole fine, but VLC still wouldn't display any video. At this point I suspected video drivers, so I opened the Additional Drivers application and installed the NVidia drivers for my GeForce 650Ti. This seemed to not only resolve the issue of VLC not playing video, but both VLC and Parole playing the Octopussy DVD. The lesson here is always install your proprietary accelerated video drivers first.

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