Monday, September 21, 2009

Watching Videos with Ubuntu

Long before YouTube videos and video podcasts were all the rage, people used their computers as a means to play DVDs and streaming video. Whether the computer was part of a home theater system or was a simple desktop system that contained a DVD player, the ability to play back video has become a standard in home computing. While sites like YouTube embed video into the web page itself, other types of video rely on a separate application to play back video for the user.

If you download a video or plan to watch a DVD, you need a separate video player. That is where Totem comes in. Totem is the video player that is installed as a default program with the Ubuntu operating system. To launch Totem, simply go to Applications | Sound & Video | Movie Player.

If you are playing directly from a DVD, you will first need to install some additional software since most commercial DVDs you buy are encrypted to prevent piracy. To install the software that will decrypt the content on the DVD, you will first need to add the packages through the Synaptic Package Manager. Do this by selecting System | Administration | Synaptic Package Manager. In the search box, type libdvd and you will be presented with quite a few different options as shown in the following illustration. I would suggest you mark all of them for installation since there are a few cool applications that you may use later, but at least you will need to mark the following for installation: libdvdnav4, libdvdread3, and gxine. While the livdvd* files will decrypt the DVD’s content, gxine will provide Totem with support for your DVD’s menu features. Once everything you want is marked for installation, click Apply. To complete the installation, open the Terminal, type the following, and then press ENTER:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/

Now Totem should be ready to play DVDs when you insert the disc in your DVD player. To prevent any PEBKAC errors, make sure that you have a DVD player installed in your computer! You cannot play a DVD if you only have a CD-ROM player.

If you wish to open a video file that is downloaded to your computer, you will need to select Movie | Open and then navigate to the folder where your video is saved. Of course, it is a best practice to save your videos under the Videos folder that Ubuntu created for you at installation. If you wish to open a video on the Web, you can select Movie | Open Location. When the Open Location window appears, type the URL of the video you wish to view in the text box and then click Open. Totem comes complete with quite a few features you may find useful as well. If you click View, you are able to change the Aspect Ratio of your video, show subtitles if they exist, show or hide the controls, or have Totem show your video in Full Screen mode rather than the small window provided at startup.

If you click Edit, you have the option of selecting either Repeat mode to continuously loop a video or Shuffle mode to randomly play videos in a playlist. While in the Edit menu, you can click the Preferences menu to change the general appearance and functionality of Totem, change the display/color balance, and change your audio preferences. Under the Edit menu, you can also select Plugins, which allows you to install different add-on plug-ins for Totem that will further enhance your video playback experience.

Finally, clicking the Go menu will allow you to navigate to the different menus available when playing a DVD such as the main DVD menu and the Chapter, Title, Audio, and Angle menus. You can also use the Go menu to skip scenes and chapters both forward and backward.

Install Extra Codecs
There will be times when you try to watch a video and you are informed that you do not have the right codec to play the file. Codecs are programs that compress and then decompress media files so that they are portable. Movies on DVD require codecs to get
the file to fit on the disc, and videos on the Internet require codecs to compress the files so they can be transferred quickly. Without the proper codec on your end, the file cannot be decompressed and thus cannot be played. The repositories are full of various codecs that you may need to install for your videos to play properly. These codecs can all be installed through the Add/Remove tool in Ubuntu. Just search for the term codec, and you will be presented with a long list of files. You can choose to install all of the codecs at once or wait until you need them to play a file before installing. Totem may also volunteer to search for an acceptable codec for you to install for a particular video. If Totem is going to be so gracious as to do all of the legwork for you, let it. Simply follow the instructions you are given, and the codecs will be installed. When installing codecs, you will be alerted to the fact that the use of codecs can be restricted. If you read the entire warning, you will see that using codecs in your country of residence is fine, so when asked, you can confidently click Confirm.

Source of Information : McGraw Hill Osborne Media How to Do Everything Ubuntu

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