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My machine can't play encrypted DVDs on a fresh install. How do I add this capability? Another useful bit of information would be what programs are best for playing DVDs, once I'm able to do so. See the similar question here. Will I be able to play DVD movies from any region?

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up vote 89 down vote accepted

To Enable Playback:

  1. Install libdvdread4:

    sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
  2. Then install libdvdcss:

    sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

Best Players:

According to the Ubuntu Wiki, Kaffeine, MPlayer, xine, Totem-xine, VLC, and Ogle will play DVDs with libdvdread and libdvdcss installed.

I use both Totem and VLC to play DVDs. It's useful to have both installed, because sometimes one will have a playback quirk that the other will not.


I believe playback will work in any region.

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Not all players support DVD Menus yet. One player that does support this is Totem, and I believe VLC can also handle the DVD menus. MPlayer for one does not support menus (yet). – Serrano Pereira Aug 3 '10 at 0:11
Thanks for pointing that out. I made a mistake saying I used MPlayer; I actually use Totem. Don't know how I got them mixed up. I corrected that in my answer. – mac9416 Aug 3 '10 at 0:41
I tried the commands in this answer but could only get some DVDs to play. City of God doesn't play in VLC on Ubuntu but does on same machine booted into Windows, with VLC.… – therobyouknow Jan 7 '11 at 13:33

Commercial DVDs are copy protected to ensure that you aren't able to backup your legally acquired movies, but instead have to buy new ones if they break. You also aren't allowed to enjoy them in just any manner you please; you may only watch them on certain devices with pre-installed decryption keys. Unless those devices are too old, of course; Then you have to buy new ones.

To get around this, install libdvdcss.


Installing libdvdcss

Legal Warning: Check with your local laws to make sure usage of libdvdcss2 would be legal in your area. *[Unless you live in Somalia or some other place with no rule of law, it's not legal]

Ubuntu 10.04 (i386, amd64), 10.10 and 11.04 (i386, amd64)

[edit: This method has been used successfully in 11.10 and 12.04 as well]

Works for old releases that are no longer supported if you have repositories on Cd/Dvd or somewhere. So, anything from 9.04 onwards. The latest LTS, 10.04, and the radically different 11.04 also work this way.

Install the libdvdread4 package (no need to add third party repositories) via Synaptic or command line:

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4

Then open a terminal window and execute:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

Rebooting may be necessary.

After this, VLC will automatically use it. Some programs may need recompilation.

If after doing all this, you still get messages about not being able to play DVDs, check that the DVD drive has a region set (see below).

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I'm not talking about backups of DVDs. I'm talking about when I insert the disk its self! Is there a legal way to do this? – rocket101 Mar 1 '12 at 14:25
@rocket101 Nope. – bessman Mar 1 '12 at 14:28
Mac and windows can play it just fine. Are they using illegal code? – rocket101 Mar 1 '12 at 21:06
@Rocket101 On Windows, yes, unless you are using commercial software like PowerDVD or TMT. On Mac I'm not sure. – bessman Mar 1 '12 at 22:13
+1 love this answer. Pretty sure this is also legal in North Korea, too. Also not yet illegal to do aboard the Int'l Space Station. No lawyers there yet. – Tom Brossman Mar 2 '12 at 17:09

This is explained in the official Ubuntu documentation under, well "Playing DVDs" ;)

Install the libdvdnav4, libdvdread4, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad and gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly packages and run the following in a terminal (Applications → Accessories → Terminal ):

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/
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What do these do? gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad and gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly - do they make more DVDs playable in Ubuntu? – therobyouknow Jan 7 '11 at 13:31
@Rob: The gstreamer plugins are necessary to enable DVD support including menus etc. for all applications using gstreamer (e.g. Totem). The libdvdread4 library is only necessary for encrypted DVDs (like most DVDs you can buy). – Marcel Stimberg Jan 7 '11 at 17:10

You can add the medibuntu repository. It will add some other niceties like the ability to play some windows-only codecs.

You can find a how-to here :

Please note that installing this packages can be illegal in some jurisdictions. You can always buy Power DVD from canonical web store, if your concerned about it.

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I can't find Power DVD on the store. Is it gone? — edit — there is Fluendo DVD Player however. – Hibou57 Jun 7 '15 at 23:37

If you want to avoid legal issues with libdvdcss, you'll need to install Fluendo DVD Player ($24.95) from Ubuntu Software Center.

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Could you provide more details what is the problem using libdvdcss instead of Fluendo? – desgua Sep 13 '11 at 23:25
Sorry for the delay but I had major issues with internet. The Ubuntu Community Documentation [1] states: "Legal Warning: Check with your local laws to make sure usage of libdvdcss2 would be legal in your area." For example, VLC's website [2] says that using libcss is legal in France but "In the USA, you should check out the US Copyright Office decision [3] that allows circumvention in some cases." [1]: [2]: [3]: – papukaija Oct 29 '11 at 20:12

I used AcidRip DVD Ripper and all my problems with playing DVD are gone.

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Fluendo produces a binary-only DVD player for purchase that (supposedly) works in Ubuntu quite well. You can get it from their webshop.

Please note that in some jurisdictions (Finland at least) even engaging in discussion about circumvention of copy protections is illegal.

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protected by Community Dec 29 '13 at 18:21

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