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Quick Tip: Mount DVD to Fix Playback Issues

By Andrew Powell, published 18/06/2017 in Tutorials

Popped in a DVD on your Linux box and started playing the disc directly, only to encounter weird playback issues such as stuttering, skipping or even flat-out stopping? It's a strange, hard to explain issue, but the fix is often quite simple.

I believe this is mostly with encrypted, copy-protected DVDs. I encountered the issue most recently when loading up one of the Star Wars movies on DVD. Didn't matter whether I tried playing with Kodi, VLC or MPV (MPlayer), the same issue would arise where the movie would not play past a certain point or otherwise buffer horribly.

Now one could curse Hollywood for horrible DRM techniques and making our lives difficult, but when one is using libdvdcss on their system, well known movies such as these should work, especially once they've loaded up in the first place. What to do, what to do?

The Fix

Instead of letting video/media programs access the DVD drive directly (usually /dev/sr0), we need to, for some reason, mount the DVD drive properly at a location of our choice. In my example we'll mount the DVD at /media/dvd.

sudo mkdir /media/dvd
sudo mount /dev/sr0 /media/dvd

Then just point your program of choice at the /media/dvd location instead of the default /dev/sr0 and things should play nicely. In my case, I actually like using MPV for simplicity:

mpv /media/dvd

MPV is smart and starts playing the movie right away, although there won't be any menus.

Once you're done watching, you can just issue the eject command which automatically unmounts your disc drive correctly:

sudo eject

Credit goes to this article I found:

An article from 2011, no less!

The strangest thing is the problem is not consistent. I tested the exact same movie again using the usual direct playback method and it worked fine, but that could be because the movie has already been played successfully all the way through (using the filesystem mount method) and therefore the libdvdcss keys are all setup... I am unsure.

If you're using a distribution or desktop environment that automatically mounts DVDs on the filesystem, you've probably never encountered this issue. I believe Nautilus and Thunar are two file managers that do mount the discs at a location such as /run/media/<user>/<disc name>.

If you're like me though and tend to do things a little more manually, though, perhaps the above tip helps!

About the author

Andrew Powell is the editor and owner of The Linux Rain who loves all things Linux, gaming and everything in between.

Tags: tutorials dvd libdvdcss multimedia mount video quick-tips
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