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Media Operating Systems Software Windows

Media Players for Windows Without DRM? 85

jasonmicron asks: "I am curious as to what you Linux/UNIX people use for a media player that supports both license lookup on the internet and DVD Playback support. I am quite sick of Microsoft's media player telling me that my 'license is invalid', even on DVDs that I own. I find that VERY lame. I ask because not only does Microsoft tell me that my license is invalid but Real Network's Real Player tells me the same thing (even though I place my totally VALID and self-owned DVD in my DVD-ROM player in my DVD-ROM, which runs on Windows). What media players does Slashdot recommend to bypass the total ignorance of Microsoft and Real Networks? I am looking for a Windows solution, though any Linux / UNIX solution is completely welcome."
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Media Players for Windows Without DRM?

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  • Mplayer32 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omniscientist ( 806841 ) <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:53PM (#13812466) Homepage
    The 32 bit binary of mplayer will be all that you need. The 64 bit version of mplayer will lack some important windows/quicktime codecs, but you probably aren't worried about that.

    Mplayer is available for a multitude of platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, and *nix. In fact my girlfriend uses mplayer and mplayer only on her Mac OS X due to Quicktime being unable to play a large amount of movies.
    Of course if you want dvd playback you will need libdvdcss, libdvdread, etc.
    Get mplayer here [].

    • Re:Mplayer32 (Score:3, Informative)

      by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )
      FYI, mplayer on OS X has a really, really bad user interface. You can tell it was a port, and a poorly-done port at that... it took me probably a half hour to figure out how to quit. See, instead of the one Dock icon every OS X program gets, mplayer for some reason has two Dock icons... one of which works (has quit, minimize, etc) and one of which appears to do nothing at all. If you click in the movie window, (the nonfunctional Dock icon) you can't quit the program, use any services, or do anything at a
    • Re:Mplayer32 (Score:2, Informative)

      by biryokumaru ( 822262 ) *

      Both Xine [] and VLC [] are based on the mplayer code. In Linux GUIs, Xine is the clear choice (mplayer beating it out for consoles). Many of my Windows friends extol the virtues of VLC, but it leaves much to be desired in its Linux implementation.

    • While I recommend mplayer and vlc as others have. I also recommend bsplayer and powerdvd. Powerdvd is the only player that can play dvds w/o skipping on my via C3 1ghz processor. It seems to be the only one that takes advantage of the hardware mpeg decoder.
      Powerdvd is not free but keys can be found.
      bsplayer is free and seems pretty fast but is suceptible(sp?) to codec havoc
      mplayer comes with its own codec lib
      vlc also comes with its own codev lic.

      Vlc while not being based on mplayer code admits that they use
    • Of course if you want dvd playback you will need libdvdcss, libdvdread, etc.

      actually, I believe that the newest releases of mplayer for windows have all that built in, I've played dvd's with mplayer on a fresh install of windows without installing anything extra

  • VLC (Score:5, Informative)

    by Omega1045 ( 584264 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:54PM (#13812474)
    VLC [] is a great, cross platform media player. I run it on Windows and it works well - it actually performs better than WinDVD on my laptop. It will play a number of file formats as well. I think it is also open source.
    • I use it for mac as well for videos of all kinds (but the os x dvd player is excellent).
      I also love to use ogle for linux to watch dvd's.
    • Re:VLC (Score:3, Informative)

      by wed128 ( 722152 )
      The best part is it comes with most codecs built in... installing codecs on most players is such a pain in the ass!
    • by mibus ( 26291 )
      VLC is a great, cross platform media player.

      Most definately. I use it under Windows, Linux, and OSX. (Under Linux I'm more likely to fire up MPlayer, but that's due to it dealing better with my slow hardware).
    • I hate "me too" posts, but I'm going to make an exception here.

      VLC is great. Mplayer can play slightly more bizarre video formats, but it can be very hard to get to work, espically for a beginner. VLC is complete self-contained (no downloading of lots of weird conflicting subtitle / codec packages), plays every video file I've ever wanted to play. On windows in parcticular, it is much easier to use it to watch things like fansubs, as it doesn't require downloading codec packages.

      Also, very usefully, on both
    • - VLC plays movies that you're currently downloading, - VLC plays fragmented files (i.e. 30% completed torrent downloads), - Quicktime files, DVDs, SVCDs, VCDs, even music files There have only been 1-2 files that I wasn't able to play with VLC, and even then the audio still played (which wasn't sufficient but shows that the software tried anyway). I never download any other player anymore, this one has all the codecs and capabilities.
  • here's what i use (Score:4, Informative)

    by real_smiff ( 611054 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:54PM (#13812477)
    Good media players: ZoomPlayer [] (for DVD playback is not free) or MPC [] (is, but less pretty). use Dscaler5 [] and ffdshow [] and you're set. oh, add something like DVD43 [] for de-CSS and other bullshit removal. I use this on my HTPC and with some careful setup its the bees knees. Certainly nothing complains about piracy here :D. Glad to be of service.
  • Get on the Linux bandwagon, man!
  • VideoLan Client (Score:3, Informative)

    by mike_lynn ( 463952 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:55PM (#13812485) []

    A player and oh so much more.

    Also, next time try Google. Really.
  • Overkill (Score:3, Funny)

    by c0d3h4x0r ( 604141 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:55PM (#13812489) Homepage Journal
    Dear Slashdot,

    The lightswitch in my bedroom stopped working, so I'm wondering what other types of housing options might work for me. Should I switch to living in a cave, a hut, or a bamboo shack? Or should I just bulldoze my entire home and rebuild a new on in its place? Please help as I am desperate to get my lightswitch working again. Thanks.

    - L. Oozer

    • Re:Overkill (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Dear Mr. Oozer,

      Please desist immediately from use of our new Darknesstm operating system trademark.

      Thank you

      Dewey, Suem and Howe
      Corporate Council
      Evil Empire, Inc.
      Redmond, Washington
  • 3 key options. (Score:4, Informative)

    by AkaXakA ( 695610 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @05:58PM (#13812513) Homepage
    Mplayer - Distibuted as MPF on windows, it's not _that_ user friendly, but it plays everything under the sun.

    MediaPlayerClassic - Hosted at sourceforge, this recreates the WMP 6 UI and has pretty solid playback. Friendlier than Mplayer, but a tad less solid video playback.

    VLC - yup the one and truly. Not too user friendly.
  • by BusDriver ( 34906 ) <> on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:06PM (#13812562) Homepage
    I use and recommend to everyone the K-Lite Codec Pack [] for all your Windows Media needs.

    Along with everything else, the Mega Codec Pack includes "Windows Media Player Classic" which despite the name isn't anything to do with Microsoft, though it does clone the interface of Media Player version 6.

    I carry the Mega Codec pack around with me on a USB Stick, you can install just one thing or you can install everything. Media Player Classic has built in support for a lot of things (I think including DVD Playback) so I'm sure it'll fit your needs exactly. If it doesn't by itself, the Mega Codec Pack includes plugins for just about any codec you'd ever need, including a DVD Decoder.

    I really can't recommend the family of K-Lite codec packs enough, especially the Mega becasue you don't need to install Real Player or Quicktime anymore! It'll install cut down versions of them that have just the bare bones dll's, enough for MPC to play Quicktime/Real clips without needing all the bloat those programs bring on their own.

    Give the site a look over, I'm sure it's probably what you're looking for. The Mega pack might be overkill for you, but Media Player Classic I think suits the bill perfectly.


    [Sorry for the double post, I accidently posted this without being logged in. Duh]
    • not sure about that one, but codec packs are a pretty bad idea, they can install so much crap it'll take hours to work out what happened when something goes wrong with filter merits etc leading often to windows reinstalls. also, they're pretty pointless when ffdshow plays almost everything. i agree that MPC is good though, and it includes a lot of its own splitters so you don't need to install much else.
      i think no (free) player includes DVD playback as MPEG2 decoding needs a license (or some part of it, bu
      • I don't know about windows reinstalls just for a codec pack?
        I'd used some terrible codec packs before K-Lite and some of them did mess up pretty bad and that's why I praise this one so highly, it's never given me any grief. The few times I have uninstalled it, it's removed everything cleanly.

        You're right in that installing all those codecs is really overkill, but don't forget that installing this codec pack also allows you to *encode* as well as decode, something neither MPC or ffdshow will do. As I under
      • Thats why codec packs that I've used always go in /usr/local/lib/win32

      • IIRC, VideoLan plays back DVD's out of the box. MPEG2 is only licensed in countries where software patents are valid, VideoLan is developed in France which I believe does not have them, ergo, free and legal.
    • Weird, it does not include the best codec out there (hmm, well, imho):
      Lagarith. Dunno why, it's a free codec.
      • Probably because there's little content (at least in the wider public) in that format?
        I'd never heard of it until you mentioned it.
        I'm not sure what the entry criteria is for a codec to make it in though, because there's quite a few in it already I've not really heard or ever needed.
  • Winamp (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Creos073 ( 763208 )
    I use winamp for music, and a lot of the time I just use it for videos, too.
  • by Utopia ( 149375 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:20PM (#13812657)
    Your time-limited DVD playback software has probably expired.
    Media Player by itself will not display 'license is invalid' message for normal DVD playback.

    You just need to buy a new DVD decoder.
    NVidia PureVideo Decoder or WinDVD are some of the best around.

    • by rmjohnso ( 891555 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:35PM (#13812770)
      I think the parent commentor is on the right track here. Windows Media Player and Real Player CANNOT natively decode DVDs. They require a licensed decoder in the background. WMP and RP just are different looks to the same decoder.

      For example, you can install WinDVD and have WMP or RP use the WinDVD decoding to play back DVDs. I'm not sure why anyone would want to do this, but that's just me. Remember, you USUALLY have to pay for a decoder, so the software maker can pay the monolithic MPAA for the CSS keys.

      As for Linux programs, see the other comments about MPlayer, VLC, Xine, etc.
    • This is NOT DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

      by malakai ( 136531 ) * on Monday October 17, 2005 @09:08PM (#13813549) Journal
      After all, if it was true DRM, switching to another player wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. If the content was locked and encoded with DRM technology.

      Nope, instead the parent post is most certainly right. WMP9/10 will not prevent you via any DRM mechanism from watching a DVD. The DRM technology is for downloaded and locked content. Examples of such content? I don't really know of any. It's one of those things they spent a lot of money to build but no market for it yet.

      The error message you are getting, and the fact you get the same message via WMP and RealPlayer is likely because they both are using the same CODEC for DVD data. The CODEC has expired. Remeber, by default Windows out of the box (Excluding Plus+ Pack) can't play DVDs. So you had to install something to make it work (unless the OEM pre-installed something) and that something appears to have been a trial only.

      But, it is funny how well trained you are to immediately think DRM/MS conspiracy to prevent you from playing your legitimatly own DVDs. Shows the OpenSource FUD is working.

      It wont be long now until Microsoft^h^h^h^$oft is groveling at the feet of the supreme GNU council begging for a seat at the table...

      Oh how they'll pay....

      • Actually, it's still DRM - the codec automatically de-activiting itself is DRM, and the fact that the codec is proprietary at all is DRM - because the codec is used to decode the DRM features on the DVD itself. This is actually a perfect example of the hassles that legitimate users get with DRM, that simply do not effect non-legitimate users.
  • videolan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mnmn ( 145599 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @06:32PM (#13812741) Homepage
    you mean you can play dvds in other media players than videolan?
  • I am quite sick of Microsoft's media player telling me that my 'license is invalid', even on DVDs that I own.

    Even so, you're more tolerant of Media Player's shortcomings than I am. When I watch a DVD, I usually just want to open the main menu and watch the DVD the way it was programmed to be watched. (One exception: stupid spammish DVDs that try to make you sit through a lot of commercials before the main menu.) No obvious way to do that in Media Player.

    I almost always use Power DVD, which I would never

    • I dislike adverts/intros you're "not allowed" to fast-forward immensely. Sadly, DVD Player on Mac OS X won't let you skip them using the controls, but there's a workaround which might work for PowerDVD and others, too: create a bookmark of the menus. This should skip right to them, with no fuss.
  • Real Player (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NullProg ( 70833 ) on Monday October 17, 2005 @11:03PM (#13814061) Homepage Journal
    Real Network's Real Player tells me the same thing (even though I place my totally VALID and self-owned DVD in my DVD-ROM player in my DVD-ROM, which runs on Windows).

    I had this problem with NFL direct. Enable cookies and your content should play. The new Real Player now defaults to secure mode (no cookies) which I appreciate. Works under Linux and Win32.


  • get a clue! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bonezed ( 187343 )
    media player classic and klite codec pack or just VLC

    not real hard to use Google
  • I have a huge collection of DVDs myself, some are legit and some are not. I also have home movies on DVD. I have never, ever been informed that my license is invalid (except for when I've downloaded pr0n with the spyware "license" embedded. Are you sure this isn't what's happening with you *wink wink*?) for any of them, including the backup DVDs I've made for "archival purposes". WMP is still the best media player around for the money (i.e., free), and it exceeds my expectations in nearly every area of oper

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith