Most commercial DVDs are encrypted with CSS (the Content Scramble System), which attempts to restrict the software that can play a DVD.

By installing the libdvdcss2 package you can play encrypted DVDs with:

Installing libdvdcss

Legal warning: Check with your local laws to make sure usage of libdvdcss2 would be legal in your area.

Ubuntu 15.10 and newer

From Ubuntu 15.10 onwards, libdvd-pkg is available to ease the installation of libdvdcss.

  • Install the libdvd-pkg package (no need to add third party repositories) via Synaptic or command line:

sudo apt install libdvd-pkg && sudo dpkg-reconfigure libdvd-pkg
  • Follow libdvd-pkg's instructions to let it download, compile, and install libdvdcss.

Ubuntu 12.04 up to 15.04 (i386, amd64)

May also work for old releases, 9.04 onwards, that are no longer supported only if you have repositories on CD/DVD or somewhere.

Ubuntu 12.04 up to 15.04 work this way.

  • Install the libdvdread4 package (no need to add third party repositories) via Synaptic or command line: (note: if you have installed *ubuntu-restricted-extras this has already been installed automatically for you)

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).

Setting DVD Region Codes

If your DVD player regularly locks up when you try to play back a DVD, your DVD player probably does not match the DVD's region code. Region codes are a form of vendor lock-in. For example, you cannot play a DVD published in Japan (Region 2) on a DVD player in the United States (Region 1) without changing the region code of the DVD player (unless you own a region-free DVD player). You can view or modify the region code of your DVD drive with the regionset tool.


The author of regionset writes: "On delivery, most DVD drives have no region code set. The drive firmware allows you to change the region code, but on nearly all drives you are limited to five (5) changes. After the fifth change, the DVD drive will stay fixed on that code -- on some drives you can upgrade the drive firmware and have then additional five changes, on other drives you won't be able to change the region code any more."

  • Most players (e.g. MPlayer/VLC) with most DVD drives are able to ignore the value of the region setting. However, it must be set to something; if it hasn't been initialized, even non-region-restricted DVDs won't play. Also, if it is necessary to crack the CSS key, it can sometimes take up to a few minutes to do so.
  • To change the region code of your DVD player, insert a DVD from your region in the DVD player, and do the following:


  • DVD still not playable
    • There's a chance that even after installing libdvdcss, some of your DVD's still won't play. One solution is to play the DVD with a media player that allows you to disable DVD menus. In VLC Media Player for example, when you choose to open a disc, there's an option "No DVD menus". You just have to enable that option before you press Play. Media players that lack support for DVD menus should work as well (e.g. mplayer). Also there's a chance that dvdcss keys generated for the movie are corrupted, the solution is to delete the folder related to the movie that you are trying to play inside the ~./dvdcss folder.
  • Jerky playback
    • If DVD playback is noticeably choppy or burning a CD/DVD is slower than it should be, then you may need to enable DMA transfer for the DVD drive. See the DMA (Direct Memory Access) page for details. The other (quicker) fix for this is to delete the ~/.dvdcss/ folder, if you have attempted to play a DVD without everything set up perfectly the incorrect CSS key will always be used. Deleting this folder causes the key to be rebuilt.

  • Decryption errors
    • If you've installed libdvdcss2 as described above, it should Just Work. However, I had to chmod 660 /dev/sr0; chgrp cdrom /dev/sr0 (replace with the path to your dvd drive) in order to get videos to play.

  • No sound
    • If you don't hear any sound, try: (a) click System -> Preferences -> Sounds. Then click a sound in the bottom list, and make sure that it's not already selected. You should hear the sound you selected. If not, make sure your speakers are working and that your volume is up. Try clicking another sound in the list, after ajusting your volume. Also make sure your speakers are working. Once you're done, select the sound it was on before and click OK. (b) downloading VLC Media Player by clicking Applications -> Ubuntu Software Centre or Applications -> Add/Remove Appications. Search for "VLC Media Player" and download the program with the orange cone icon. If you don't see an orange cone, the icon might be a cardboard box with all kinds of stuff sticking out of it. In that case, look at the discriptions. Install VLC and then use it to play your movie or DVD.

RestrictedFormats/PlayingDVDs (last edited 2018-12-29 15:13:26 by 76-235-14-52)