The DVD player that Ubuntu comes with pre-installed won't play some DVDs. You see, most commercial DVDs are encrypted and in some countries fair use laws (i.e. the laws that say you can play an encrypted DVD that you've legally bought) don't apply as well as in others.

Luckily, it's very easy to install a DVD player that will play encrypted DVDs.

Note: You'll probably also want to check out So I installed Ubuntu... Now what? for a one-shot command that will install a DVD player as well as perform several other common (and important) tasks for a freshly installed Ubuntu. If not, you still might want to look at How to play Blu-Rays with Blu-Play on Ubuntu

Install the DVD decrypter and VLC

  1. Click Dash (the upper left-most button in Launcher)

  2. Type Terminal

  3. Hit the <enter> key to open Terminal (or click on the icon)

  4. Copy and paste these lines into Terminal (all at once)

     sudo apt-get install -y vlc libdvdread4 && \
     sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/ && \
  5. Hit the <enter> key

  6. If asked, type your password (you won't see what's being typed, but that's okay)

  7. Wait for the install to complete (Terminal will exit if it does)

Note: VLC can also be used for playing DVDs on Mac and Windows (which also doesn't have a DVD decrypter when freshly installed).

Play a DVD

  1. Stick your DVD in the DVD drive
  2. If Ubuntu asks what you want to do, choose to use VLC (or follow the steps below)
  3. If asked about Privacy and Network Policy, choose to allow and click Save and Continue (this should only happen the first time).

Note: The default DVD player may also work once VLC and the decrypter have been installed. Don't be afraid to try it, but don't be disappointed if it doesn't work well and you have to open VLC.

If the DVD doesn't play automatically

  1. Open VLC (from Dash, just like you did with Terminal)
  2. Click the Play Button
  3. Select the Disc tab
  4. Select DVD
  5. Click Play


By AJ ONeal

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