Have you ever wanted a freeware, no-nonsense solution for playing DVD’s on a Windows PC? Something so simple that even a 5-year-old child could operate? Enter PlayDVD, a friend of VLC media player.

Simply place a shortcut on your desktop to the PlayDVD launcher. Double click on it to watch a DVD.

What’s the point?
Commercial DVD applications have cumbersome interfaces and enforce UOP restrictions (unskippable content including previews and FBI warnings).

PlayDVD is a tiny application that does the following:
1. Opens PlayDVD.ini and parses the DVD drive letter.
2. Executes vlc.exe with the drive letter as a parameter and hides the player controls.

Setup VLC media player:
1. Download and install VLC media player.
2. VLC will open once the installation has completed.
3. Select the Settings menu and choose Preferences.
4. Select the Video option from the left hand listing.
5. Enable the top option – Fullscreen video output.
6. Select Save. VLC can now be closed.

Setup PlayDVD:
1. Download PlayDVD and extract it to the VLC installation directory (default is C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC)
2. Open the PlayDVD.ini and change the letter “e” to the DVD drive letter.
3. Create a shortcut to PlayDVD.exe on the desktop or Windows Start Menu.

Now insert a DVD and click on the PlayDVD shortcut. If everything was properly configured the DVD should being to play.

Notes:
The VLC menu can be accessed by right clicking anywhere on the display. Select “Stop” to exit the application.

The application does not supply an icon. It is trivial to use the built in DVD icon:
1. Right click on the shortcut and select Properties.
2. Select Change Icon…
3. Scroll toward the Center and select the DVD icon.

The default volume can be adjusted from the preferences:
1. Select the Settings menu and choose Preferences.
2. Select the Audio option from the left hand listing.
3. Increase the “Default audio volume” and select Save.

VLC may complain about errors in the text files in its root directory. For some reason it occasionally tries to parse these as playlist. To correct for this:
1. Create a “docs” subdirectory (C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\docs).
2. Drag all of the text files – AUTHORS.txt, COPYING.txt, etc. to this directory.

Multiple drives/shortcuts can be used. Simply rename the executable and ini, ensuring that the file names match.

Here’s the full source:

DIM INI$, DVD$
INI$ = LEFT$(APPEXENAME$, LEN(APPEXENAME$) - 4) & ".ini"
IF NOT EXIST(INI$) AND NOT EXIST("vlc.exe") THEN END
OPEN INI$ FOR INPUT AS FP1
LINE INPUT FP1, DVD$
CLOSE FP1
RUN APPEXEPATH$ & "vlc.exe " & DVD$, SW_HIDE

Disclaimer: PlayDVD is just a few lines of code and does not facilitate DVD viewing or content descrambling. It is a simple launcher for VLC media player.

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