Watching DVDs on Lucid Lynx Ubuntu

Watching DVDs on Lucid Lynx Ubuntu by David Whelan I was recently watching a conference presentation that I had been unable to attend. When I opened the video file, Totem Movie Player showed the video and played the audio. If I moved or resized the window, the screen went black and all I had left was the audio. I found the same behavior when I tried to watch a DVD on my machine, and finally had to move to Kaffeine in order to get consistent video and sound.

The sound and video problem sounds like it’s not uncommon although I couldn’t find anyone who seemed to have the exact experience I did.  The first thing I stumbled upon was that you need to activate the application that enables playing of restricted or encrypted DVDs.  In my case, I already had libdvdcss2 installed but it wasn’t active; this instruction page showed how to enable it.

That step enabled the playing of the DVD but I then found I had the same problem I’d had with the Web-based video:  initially I could see the screen but then it would blank while the audio continued.  In the case of the DVD, I could actually click on the black screen to activate the DVD menu but it didn’t change the video issue.

I also added the Medibuntu repositories and the w32 codecs it offers.  This appeared to be a solution for some Ubuntu-ites although it didn’t fix my DVD problem.

After hunting for a very short while, I came across two things.  First, that this problem (when it happens) may be an existing bug in the movie player, and so there’s no workaround.  Secondly, the alternative Kaffeine video player seems to be free of this problem.  Sure enough, when I installed Kaffeine and played the DVD, I had no difficulties at all.  Kaffeine was already in my Ubuntu Software Center, so need for the command line.  I would have been interested to know if I’d installed Kaffeine first, whether I would have needed any of the other steps.

I went back to see if the Web version of the conference presentation was now fixed as well, and it seems to be fine even when playing in Movie Player.  I may try to change my default Web movie viewer to Kaffeine but if Movie Player is fixed for the Web and I can invoke Kaffeine for DVDs, I’m in good shape.



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