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We have a proto-media centre, which is just a box in the corner, running Ubuntu, and connected to a projector.

What is the best way to control a DVD player running on that box, without a remote control? We would like instead to control it from a laptop/phone over the network.

I'm open to suggestions for software to use, and the more flexible the interface, the better.

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The first idea that jumps to mind is to just use mplayer Install mplayer. SSH into the remote machine, and control playback normally, DISPLAY=:0.0 mplayer dvd://1

The same could be done with xine Install xine-ui too.

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In software center, try anyremote (there should be a list of related interfaces if you search for it). On the website you can download a client for your phone. The documentation page contains extensive instructions on how to set up anyremote with your application, and a device for controlling the application remotely.

  • I will update my answer with more choices as soon as I can (unless this is more than enough for you).
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VLC has a powerful set of interfaces you can use, including a web interface and a CURSES-based one that I use all the time for streaming video and controlling playback. The web interface can be customized with HTML/CSS for phone control or if you care about branding, and there's quite a bit of documentation available on the VLC wiki. Engadget had a nice article on this too:

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I use VLC on my computer and VLCRemote on my Android phone, works just beautifully. A one-time preference change is needed to enable the web interface in VLC.

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Try Remuco.

Remuco is a duplex remote control system for Linux media players and mobile phones equipped with Bluetooth or WiFi.

With Remuco, you can remotely control your favorite media player. You can switch to the next, previous, or any other media within the current playlist, browse your media library and activate other playlists, rate your media, adjust volume, and more. On the mobile phone it displays information about the current media, including cover art.

Remuco can be used with Amarok, Audacious, Banshee, Exaile, MPD, MPlayer, Rhythmbox, Songbird, Totem, TVtime, VLC and XMMS2.

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