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I've tried VLC, Totem and MPlayer and while they differ in their unique kind of choppiness, none of them play smoothly.

The Ubuntu documentation suggest enabling DMA[1] but the instructions don't seem to apply to a SCSI device.

How can I get the playback of DVDs to be smooth?

In case it matters, it's a BluRay player:

-scsi:0
          physical id: 1
          logical name: scsi0
          capabilities: emulated
        *-cdrom
             description: DVD-RAM writer
             product: BD-CMB UJ-120
             vendor: MATSHITA
             physical id: 0.0.0
             bus info: scsi@0:0.0.0
             logical name: /dev/cdrom
             logical name: /dev/cdrw
             logical name: /dev/dvd
             logical name: /dev/dvdrw
             logical name: /dev/sr0
             logical name: /media/jarlath/TGWTDT
             version: 1.00
             capabilities: removable audio cd-r cd-rw dvd dvd-r dvd-ram
             configuration: ansiversion=5 mount.fstype=udf mount.options=ro,nosuid,nodev,relatime,uid=1000,gid=1000,iocharset=utf8 state=mounted status=ready
           *-medium
                physical id: 0
                logical name: /dev/cdrom
                logical name: /media/jarlath/TGWTDT
                configuration: mount.fstype=udf mount.options=ro,nosuid,nodev,relatime,uid=1000,gid=1000,iocharset=utf8 state=mounted

1: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DMA

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One possible solution may involve the order in which SATA devices are connected to the motherboard controller. You should consult your motherboard documentation here.

For example, I built my main Linux box in 2009 using an Asus M3A78-EM motherboard. The onboard SATA connectors, from top (when mounted) to bottom are listed as SATA6, SATA5, SATA3, SATA2, SATA1. The docs suggest that ghosting requires the original disk to be in SATA6 or SATA5. For the RAID configurations the print manual refers to the support DVD.

I discovered that the Ubuntu apparently likes the SATA DVD in SATA6, with the connectors populated from SATA5 downward. If one populates the connections in reverse order from SATA1, the machine still works, but not optimally and not with proper DMA for the CD/DVD drive.

This DMA FAQ apparently does not address these issues.

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  • Thanks, this is a helpful answer. In my case, the machine is a laptop so I don't have these options. But I will build a desktop machine next and take the above into account. Oct 15, 2017 at 20:57

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