How to Use MPlayer to Play DVD Directories / ISO Files / Disks

MPlayer is a universal (nearly) movie/music player on Linux and many more systems. It’s also my favourite player and MPlayer plays movie or music files in any format that I drop to it. Now, let’s take a look at how to use MPlayer play DVD. MPlayer plays “DVD” in many formats: DVD disks, ISO files, or DVD directory (the files we directly copied from a DVD disk).

The MPlayer command to play DVD

The MPlayer command to play a DVD device (directores, iso files, or disks):

$ mplayer dvdnav:// -mouse-movements -dvd-device \

Please note that the mplayer should be built with libdvdnav support. If it doesn’t you need to build mplayer with libdvdnav by yourself.

The MPLayer options for playing DVD

-dvd-device /path/to/device/or/iso/file

Specify the DVD device or .iso filename (default: /dev/dvd or /dev/sr0).  You can also  specify  a  directory  that contains files previously copied directly from a DVD (with e.g. vobcopy).


Permit MPlayer to receive pointer events reported by the video output driver.  Necessary to select  the buttons  in  DVD menus.  Supported for X11-based VOs (x11, xv, xvmc, etc) and the gl, gl2, direct3d and corevideo VOs.

Keyboard shortcuts that can be used when playing DVD in MPlayer

One beautiful feature of MPlayer is the various shortcuts that can be used. Here is a list of shortcuts for playing DVD.

v — Toggle subtitle visibility.
j — Cycle through the available subtitles.
o — Toggle OSD states: none / seek / seek + timer / seek + timer + total time.
# — Cycle through the available audio tracks.
f — Toggle fullscreen
A — Cycle through the available DVD angles.

keypad 8 — Select button up.
keypad 2 — Select button down.
keypad 4 — Select button left.
keypad 6 — Select button right.
keypad 5 — Return to main menu.
keypad 7 — Return to nearest menu (the order of preference is: chapter->title->root).
keypad ENTER — Confirm choice.

Of course, you can use the common MPlayer keyborad shutcuts in addition to the DVD-related ones.

Now, find out your favourite DVDs and enjoy them with MPlayer ;)

Eric Ma

Eric is a systems guy. Eric is interested in building high-performance and scalable distributed systems and related technologies. The views or opinions expressed here are solely Eric's own and do not necessarily represent those of any third parties.


  1. Eric;
    Thanx for publishing this. Just a comment.. I’ve just built a CentOS-7 box, and dropped in the latest kernel (4.18.11), and I note that there is no /dev/dvd device shown. I built mplayer from source (after building the dvdnav and dvdread stuff, and the other little gem that is needed), and had mplayer working nicely, but I could not find the /dev/dvd device. I’m using an old HPdc7900, which is a core i3 Intel box. After some searching, determined that the DVD device is called: ” /dev/sr0″. So, given that you have libdvdnav compiled in to MPlayer, you can play your DVD full-screen, using:
    mplayer -fs dvdnav:// -dvd-device /dev/sr0
    Your menu info was really helpful, as it explains how to navigate the DVD on-screen
    menu options, and initiate playback. The pointer to vobcopy also much appreciated.

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