Using an XO Laptop as a Video-Player


All I wanted to do was watch a little Princess Bride or maybe some Toy Story with my son on that long, long plane ride. Is that too much to ask? In the beginning, it was too much to ask for the XO. There were pages and pages of posts with instructions and hacks, download sites that did not work and no matter how many files you downloaded there was always one missing.

Toy Story is awesome!

But slowly, through the dedication of numerous people all of that began to change. First, we had Mplayer with only a play option and then Mplayer with game button and directional pad functionality. And now we have VLC with a GUI interface that works under 767. I used Mplayer for the last several months but am now giving VLC a try and like it. So if you want to watch a movie, here are the basics:

How to download and install programs:

  1. Mplayer instructions courtesy of Roto
  2. VLC instructions courtesy of mavrothal
  3. VLC instructions courtesy of Ati

I followed Atif's first suggestion and it fixed my problem of movies skipping. If you have power management settings checked off in your control panel you may have to undo them as it will most likely cause your XO to sleep while a movie is playing. You can turn your network radio signal off but it has not caused any problems for me.

How to prepare movies:

I use two programs, both of which are free and easy to use. I use DVDfab HD Decrypter and avi.NET. You need to use one after the other to decrypt a movie and then reformat it. The links for each download are listed below. You will also have to do a little reading at each of the below sites in order to utilize the programs but they are not very difficult to use.

Joe Fesel lives in Latham, NY, and is currently a stay-at-home dad. By profession, he is an educator.

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Keep in mind that those XO owners who live in the USA, that digitally ripping DVDs is prohibited by law. The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) makes it illegal to break digital encryption schemes such as CSS used for encrypting commercial DVDs.

However, under "Fair Use", Americans can analog record DVDs for their own personal use by attaching their DVD player to a PC/notebook equipped with a TV tuner card.

When following VLC instructions courtesy of mavrothal, you'll need to also do:
yum install rpmfusion-free-release rpmfusion-nonfree-release
before the yum install vlc

Apparently, I can't seem to get an answer to this... but I will try asking again.

Howcome Mplayer linked from the Activity list on OLPC Wiki page doesn't work?

"Keep in mind that those XO owners who live in the USA..."

Also please keep in mind that in USA it's also illegal to give legal advice without a license to practice law in applicable jurisdiction. I am not sure if giving a misleading and stupid advice would make it "more illegal" or "less illegal", and I am even less sure if it will make any difference if it applies to vague and idiotic laws.

It is however a fact that legality of every single act of copying is only reliably established in court, at great expense to everyone involved -- and only if sides didn't settle, what they almost always do when a lawsuit is filed. No, I don't see how it makes any sense, however unless sracer is an attorney, he shouldn't make those claims.

"Also please keep in mind that in USA it's also illegal to give legal advice without a license to practice law in applicable jurisdiction."

So maybe the well-intended advice of sracer should have been formulated differently?

"Be aware that there are laws in the USA and elsewhere that might prohibit the ripping and copying of DVDs under some (or even most) circumstances. These acts could be illegal even when these DVDs were legally obtained. There is a general consensus that you should get competent legal advice before you attempt such actions."

And then you might add YOUR own ideas about which and what is happening.

Followed by the customary IANAL.

Obviously, no one seems to care about whether it is illegal or not.


Who is definitely NOT a lawyer, and you should NOT see the above as competent legal advice. You should not even trust it to be competent or useful advice.

@teapot. Maybe you should have asked if I have the appropriate credentials BEFORE expressing your personal dislike for me under the guise of attempting to clarify a legal point.

The Jukebox activity is more sugarified, for those who prefer it.

Unfortunately you'll have to install a number of gstreamer plugins before you can use it with anything other than Ogg.