How to Play DVD in Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04 and 16.04

Ubuntu won’t play DVD? Even after you installed all the codecs from Ubuntu Restricted Extra package? Welcome to the club. You are not alone who cannot play DVD in Ubuntu. In this quick tip, I’ll show you how to fix the issues with playing DVD or even encrypted DVD in Ubuntu 20.04, 18.04 and 16.04.

Play DVDs in Ubuntu 20.04 and 18.04

How to Play DVD on Ubuntu

Though I am focusing on Ubuntu here, these methods should also work on Linux Mint and other Ubuntu based distributions. What we need to do here is to install the libdvd package that downloads and installs the required dependencies.

This libdvd-pkg is available in the multiverse repository of Ubuntu. Please make sure to enable it using this command:

sudo add-apt-repository multiverse

Open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt install libdvd-pkg

It will notify that you need to configure the package using dpkg so that it installs the required dependencies.

Enable DVD support on Ubuntu

Don’t worry, it’s a simple step. Once the libdvd-package installation finishes, use the command below to configure libdvd-package:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure libdvd-pkg

This will download the libdvdcss2 library from VLC repository.

Fix DVD not playing on Ubuntu

In the process, you’ll be asked whether you want automatic updates for libdvdcss2. You can go with the yes option here.

How to Play DVD on Ubuntu

Once the process completes, reboot your system and plugin your DVD and you should find DVD playing in your Ubuntu system.

Troubleshoot: “libdvdread not available” error in Ubuntu 20.04

Ubuntu 20.04 has libdvdread package available as libdvdread7. Install it using this command:

sudo apt install libdvdread7

For Ubuntu 22.04, use this package:

sudo apt install libdvdread8

Alternate Method: Play DVD in Ubuntu (only use if you are using Ubuntu 14.04)

This part of the article was written a few years ago when libdvd-pkg didn’t exist. Basically, it does almost the same thing as the previous section, manually. If the previous steps didn’t work for you, use the steps mentioned here.

We need to install few codecs required specifically to play DVDs comfortably. These are:

  • libdvdcss2: to recognize DVD
  • libdvdread4: to read DVD
  • libdvdnav4: to navigate DVD

Step 1:

First step (actually optional) is to get VLC media player. You can install VLC from Ubuntu Software Center or using the following command in terminal:

sudo apt-get install vlc

Once you have it installed, install libdvdcss2. It used to come by default with Medibuntu repository. But since Medibuntu is no longer available, you will have to install this library from the VLC repository. Use the links bellow to install libdvdcss2:

Double click on the downloaded deb files to install it via Ubuntu Software Center. Alternatively, you can use GDebi to install .deb files more easily.

Step 2:

Once we have it, lets install libdvdread4 and libdvdnav4. Use the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4 libdvdnav4

If the DVD play back does not work, try to set your region code. You can follow the instructions given here to set the region code. It worked for me without it.

That would be it. I hope that after completing all these steps, you would be able to play DVD in Ubuntu as well as in Linux Mint. Let me know if it worked for you or if you still can’t read DVD in Ubuntu.

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  • After installing libdvd-pkg and dpkg-reconfigure libdvdread7, The DVD player and VLC work great. But now Rhythmbox ,
    Cheese and Openshot video editor. sends the computer back to login when ever I open them. don’t know how to fix this I am using Ubuntu Mate 20.04 please help if you can

  • Unfortunately nothing here has helped me. I use USB DVD player with Ubuntu 22.04. The same works under Windows so drive and disc are fine.
    I’m trying to mount data DVD not movie.

    In dmesg I get:
    [sr0] unsupported sector size

    I can get the DVD to appear in Nemo if I change the mount settings in Disks to not use Session Defaults. BUT when I click on it I just get a message saying I have to be a super user to mount. I try to

    sudo mount /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
    mount: /mnt/cdrom: can’t read superblock on /dev/sr0.

    Crazy that this does not just work in Ubuntu, especially since it does just work under Windows. Very annoying.

  • Hi, 6/25/22, after 22.04 Ubuntu upgrade, none of my mp4 files work on Acer laptop or Lenova Thinkcentre. They don’t play with VLC or other players. Seems like “they” want to separate us from our files (some of which are home videos from 15 yrs ago) Would appreciate help and advice (:-)