Playing Cinema DVDs problem

Marko Vojinovic vvmarko at
Tue Jul 28 12:30:44 UTC 2009

On Tuesday 28 July 2009 04:36:18 gilpel at wrote:
> SMPlayer refuses to play it. I then found out that it was possible to play
> encrypted for time zones DVDs with this command:
> mplayer -sb 2500000 dvd://

man mplayer will tell you what -sb means:

      -sb <byte position> (also see -ss)
Seek to byte position.  Useful for playback from CD-ROM images or VOB files 
with junk at the beginning.

This means that you skipped first 2.5 MB of data. Whether this is useful or not 
depends on the specific movie in question. If it works for you, use it.

> and it does play. There are a couple of minutes of silence at the
> beginning, then it plays in Spanish. Of course, I could learn all of
> MPlayer's commands, but I'd prefer to use an interface.

It can prove very useful to learn mplayer command-line interface. Not *all* 
commands, but just learn to find your way through the man page, and use various 
switches as you need them. I recommend it, it gives greater control over what 
and how to play, encode and troubleshoot.

See below for "Spanish" problem.

> So, I added "-sb
> 2500000" in Preferences, Advanced, Options for MPlayer, Options in
> smplayer

I am not sure it is a good idea to put it in the GUI preferences, you probably 
don't want to skip first 2.5 MB of data on *every* dvd you play --- better do 
it just for this one that doesn't work otherwise.

>  and everything seems OK till past TITLE_10:
> -----------------------------------
> *** libdvdread: CHECK_VALUE failed in
> /builddir/build/BUILD/libdvdread-4.1.3/src/ifo_read.c:1913 ***
> *** for pgci_ut->nr_of_lus < 100 ***
> -----------------------------------

I can't make anything out of this, sorry. But if a dvd doesn't work out-of-
the-box with a GUI, I would recommend not using a GUI but rather the command-
line interface, it gives you greater control when something doesn't play well.

> Here's the output for:
> mplayer dvd://
> without -sb 2500000
> Audio: no sound
> Starting playback...
> VDec: vo config request - 720 x 480 (preferred colorspace: Planar YV12)
> VDec: using Planar YV12 as output csp (no 0)
> Movie-Aspect is 1.78:1 - prescaling to correct movie aspect.
> VO: [xv] 720x480 => 854x480 Planar YV12
> [mpeg2video @ 0xabd6c0]ac-tex damaged at 37 7
> [mpeg2video @ 0xabd6c0]Warning MVs not available
> [mpeg2video @ 0xabd6c0]concealing 1035 DC, 1035 AC, 1035 MV errors V:
> 1.1  69/ 69  4%  0%  0.0% 0 0

Ok, so it has a problem in those first 2.5 MB. Use -sb to skip them.

> mplayer -sb 2500000 dvd://
> audio stream: 0 format: ac3 (5.1) language: en aid: 128.
> audio stream: 1 format: ac3 (5.1) language: fr aid: 129.
> audio stream: 2 format: ac3 (5.1) language: es aid: 130.

IOW, to force English audio, play it as

mplayer -sb 2500000 -aid 128 dvd://

If you wish to play it in French or Spanish, use 129 or 130, respectively. ;-)

> subtitle ( sid ): 1 language: en
> subtitle ( sid ): 3 language: fr
> subtitle ( sid ): 5 language: es
> subtitle ( sid ): 7 language: fr
> subtitle ( sid ): 9 language: es

If you wish to have English subtitles along with English audio (I sometimes 

mplayer -sb 2500000 -aid 128 -sid 1 dvd://

> Starting playback...

> demux_mpg: 24000/1001fps progressive NTSC content detected, switching
> framerate.

Ok, now... AFAIK, playing NTSC content on a PAL system is not an easy thing to 
do. The computer has to perform appropriate conversion, and this might get 
CPU-intensive. My best bet is that this is the reason why it complains that 
your system is too slow. It is sort-of reencoding the movie in realtime, along 
with the playback. This can easily get rather intensive, even on modern 

The "-framedrop" switch is the first thing I would try in this situation, if 
the playback gets jerky or gets out of sync with audio. In extreme cases even 
try "-hardframedrop" (although this also has extreme consequences). This is 
usually enough to improve speed without too much loss of quality.

However, using -framedrop is typically a workaround, it doesn't eliminate the 
real cause of the problem, which might be important. It is the "cure" in the 
"better prevent than cure" situation. :-)

> A:   4.5 V:   0.7 A-V:  3.783 ct: -0.087  65/ 62  5%  1%  9.8% 50 0
>            ************************************************
>            **** Your system is too SLOW to play this!  ****
>            ************************************************

Do you get this message for the other, well working movie? If you do, then it 
might be a good idea to go through the "possible reasons" list, since it might 
indicate non-optimal configuration choices, or audio/video driver issues or 

But if the message appears only for this movie, I bet it is because you are 
trying to watch NTSC movie on a PAL system.

But if you can watch the movie anyway (with the help of -framedrop), I 
wouldn't pay attention to the message. Maybe shut down other processes working 
in the background in order to release more CPU-cycles, but not much can be 
done. And if it works, nothing else needs to be done.

Just don't watch this movie while recompiling the kernel in the background. 

HTH, :-)

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