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DVD Playback in Arch Linux


I find that I run into this problem everytime I reinstall Arch, so I figured it was time to document those pesky missing peices. Considering Arch Linux is more of a “do-it-yourself” distribution there are more peices to the puzzle than you might find in Ubuntu or similar. In this short article I’ll outline everything required to playback DVDs on Arch Linux.

Required Packages

As is the problem with any major Linux distribution, DVD playback can’t be enabled by default for “potential patent issues“. The required packages have to be installed manually. This is done using the command:

sudo pacman -S libdvdcss libdvdread

Required Groups

In order to have required access to the audio, video and optical devices the user needs to be in the required groups. You can ensure your user is in the required groups for DVD playback with the command:

sudo gpasswd -a username audio,video,optical

You’ll have to logout and back in again for the group changes to take effect. After that you should be able to play DVDs as expected.

Media Application

My preferred application for playing back media, including DVD, .avi and general audio, is VLC. VLC works on each major platform and generally does not required extra codecs. You can install VLC using the command:

sudo pacman -S vlc


Arch Linux requires a little more work to get things going, but the reward for the granular control is nice. Your machine is never exactly like any other machine–each Arch Linux users installation is different. Enabling DVD playback takes this same amount of granular configuration, but following the required steps makes the process simple.

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