Playing DVDs

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The first attempt at someone trying to watch DVDs on his linux box nearly got the poor guy stuck in jail. Thankfully things are a lot more legal now, so it's perfectly safe to watch without the RIAA knocking on your door and asking for your kneecaps.

How Do I Do This?

There are two main pieces of software that you can use for watching DVDs under Linux: MPlayer and XINE.


MPlayer almost certainly comes with your distro - if it doesn't phone them up and shout at them!

MPlayer is probably the best video player Linux has, as it can play just about anything natively and can use Windows DLLs to play the rest (though this can be fiddly).

Mplayer needs a couple of other libraries before you can play DVDs with it:

  • libdvdcss
  • libdvdread

These should be detected when configure runs (Gentoo users just need to enable the DVD use flag).

Now you should be able to play DVDs like so:

mplayer dvd://<track> [-dvd-device <device>]


mplayer dvd://1 -dvd-device /dev/hdc

For more help see here (


Xine will also need the libdvdread and libdvdcss libraries before it can play DVDs. On a packages based distro, all you'll need to do is download and install those packages. When you start Kaffeine, or XineUI you should be able to select DVD as a source and it should play the disc.

There's some good stuff here (


Same here I'm afraid.

help (


Other possibilities include:

  • Kaboodle
  • Kaffeine
  • NoAtun
  • VLC: the Video Lan Client