My new movie-watching mode

2010-03-31 19:36:39 UTC

The DVD drives in the last few years’ Mac models are quite loud. When watching a movie from a DVD, it sounds like I have a very-high-speed fan only a few feet from me, only without the cool breeze.

This is a problem because I keep my sound volume cranked way down (to the benefit of my hearing), so the DVD drive effectively drowns out the movie. I don’t have this problem when watching a video from a hard drive or the internet.

So here’s what I do:

  1. Copy (straight across—no decrypting) the DVD to my media hard drive on my desktop machine.
  2. Eject the DVD, put it back in the case, and put the encased DVD away.
  3. Watch the movie in VLC.

Yesterday, I successfully tried a new variation on this procedure:

  1. Copy the DVD to my media drive on my desktop machine.
  2. Eject the DVD and put it away.
  3. Make the Movies folder on the media drive a shared folder.
  4. With the desktop machine downloading stuff from the internet or maybe seeding a (legal) torrent, go on my laptop in another room and mount the desktop’s Movies folder on the laptop.
  5. Watch the movie (in the mounted shared Movies folder) in VLC.

You’ll notice that I did not copy the movie to the laptop. I opened the copy on the mounted local share, so VLC on my laptop was effectively streaming the movie from my desktop.

This requires a bit of tweaking in VLC’s Advanced Preferences. The default settings waited too long to read more data from the “disk”, so the movie was jerky. I fixed this by appending a couple of zeroes to the latency fields for the three relevant “access modules”: DVD without menus, DVD with menus, and file. (You may only need to set the last one; it didn’t work right until I set that one, and once it did, I didn’t do any further investigation.)

Once I’d made those small changes, the movie streamed fine over the local network.

4 Responses to “My new movie-watching mode”

  1. ssp Says:

    Nice idea.

    With a bit of luck you could perhaps also share the DVD right away and leave out the copying step?

    And if you want menus and stuff, you may also be able to open the VIDEO_TS folder from Apple’s DVD player. Of course that means that you’d be bossed into watching stupid copyright notices as well…

  2. Peter Hosey Says:

    The original reason I started using VLC to view the hard-drive copies is that DVD Player didn’t like them. I guess DVD Player will only decrypt from an actual disc, whereas VLC doesn’t mind decrypting from an imaginary disc.

  3. ssp Says:

    Could be, VLC definitely has the necessary code for handling encryption stuff.

    However, my impression so far was that I cannot copy encrypted disks at all and need a tool like FairMount to handle that.

    Perhaps different pieces of user hostility are at work there.

  4. Peter Hosey Says:

    However, my impression so far was that I cannot copy encrypted disks at all and need a tool like FairMount to handle that.

    My understanding is that all major-distributor commercial discs are CSS-encrypted. All the discs I’ve copied so far have been commercial discs, and DVD Player refuses to play the copies.

    A tool like Fairmount or RipIt decrypts as it copies, so that the copy is unencrypted. (Fairmount is not strictly a copier; it’s more like Mac OS X’s CDDA driver, presenting a transformed—decrypted, in Fairmount’s case—picture of what’s on the disc. You can, of course, copy that transformed picture, and the result is a transformed copy.)

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