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Capture DVD screens using VideoLan Client Apps
Recently I purchased a Polish/Japanese DVD which would not play with the DVD Player in my PowerBook 400, even though I could play it in my standalone DVD. The DVD is marked with an "All" region code, so it wasn't a region problem.

I decided to give Video Lan Client a try. This application not only could play the DVD, but I discovered that I could capture frames using "Grab" (in Applications -> Utilities) which I could not do using the DVD Player ("Grab" will complain and not launch if the DVD Player was previously launched).

In order to capture a frame, I first pressed the space bar in VideoLan Client to pause the palyback, then proceeded with the capture with "Grab". I tried both area capture and full screen capture successfully.

[Editor's note: I haven't tried this program myself, but it appears that it works around the ATI vs. NVidia problem (ATI cards can't capture DVD screens; NVidia cards can when using SnapzPro), as the PowerBook 400 shipped with an ATI card. I'm also not sure if VideoLan Client can handle all DVDs or not -- anyone have more experiences to share about the program?]
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
VLC is all good!
Authored by: ~Coxy on Jul 03, '02 10:07:25AM

Not only does it play DVDs, but it can also play VCDs and AVIs that other players won't touch, and it will play the audio of AVIs that QuickTime plays mute!

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video lan client
Authored by: reidspice on Jul 03, '02 01:19:58PM

this application is incredible. i've been able to do things with it that quicktime (and the horrid windows media) couldn't possibly do. very stable, great fullscreen, stop and start with the space bar, streams off the network flawlessly, just can't say enough about it.

now if we could only get the freakin real player for osx we'd have a true multimedia-capable os.. come on, real. get off yer lazy butts.

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video lan client
Authored by: froz on Jul 04, '02 05:50:47AM

It has more to do with available resources than laziness. You will see a OS X RealPlayer fairly soon, but it will not be on par with the monopoly version at first.

There are some happenings which should make you happy in the not too distant future.

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about Real...
Authored by: int_civ on Jul 04, '02 11:34:03AM
now if we could only get the freakin real player for osx we'd have a true multimedia-capable os.. come on, real. get off yer lazy butts.

Well, I'm not too experienced with it, but perhaps you should look into using ffmpeg to convert your real files into something you can use. I haven't worked with it too much, but it does a fine job of converting RealAudio files into mp3s. Here is a thread that I posted over at Mac.Ach. at ArsTechnica. My last post in the thread gives some details.

Like I said, I haven't worked with it too much, so I don't know what it does for video or streams, but it might be worth looking into while you wait for Real to get with the program...

Cheers. :)

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Authored by: momerath on Jul 03, '02 03:10:14PM

The reason that vlc can have screenshots taken is that it uses only software to decode it. (this is also why it runs quite slow on older machines.) Apple's DVD player uses hardware to decode it, and apparently ATI's hardware decoding prevents screenshots from being taken.

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Authored by: hoytt on Jul 03, '02 07:03:33PM

Apple has been using software decoding for DVDs since the first generation AGP G4s and iMacs with DVD ROM. OS 9 came with DVD player 2.2 while I had DVD player 1.4 for my B&W G3.
The first DVD player in OS X only supported AGP macs and did not support B&W G3s and Yikes G4s. All Macs since the Sawtooth G4 have software decoding DVD.

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DVD drives limited re foreign encodings?
Authored by: elanjourno on Jul 03, '02 04:41:23PM

This app sounds fantastic. But I wonder if there's a limit to its usefulness with regard to DVDs encoded for foreign markets.

I read that the DVD drives in current PowerBooks (and possibly desktops) will play DVDs encoded for regions other than North America. But there's a limit to the number of times you can do that: apparently each time you use a foreign disk there's a switch that is offset. When you play a NA DVD, that switch is reset. After x times, it sticks with whatever was the most recently used encoding format. (So you could end up locking out the North American encoding.)

So, does VLC override this issue?

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DVD drives limited re foreign encodings?
Authored by: zarbs on Jul 03, '02 11:34:47PM

The behavior you describe is true of all DVD drives in computers. The only reason you don't see the messages is because all drives come with the default region set to 1 for the USA. If you never play DVD's from another region you will never have to worry about the problem of changes on your drive. You have a maximum of five changes of region before the firmware on the mechanism has the fifth selection set in firmware so it can not be changed again. There are applications like Region X that allow you to make more changes than the normal five once you have removed the region protection from the drive. The best site for firmware cracks is Here you will find cracks for most Mac installed DVD-ROM drives as well as DVD-R drives to make them region free.

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DVD drives limited re foreign encodings?
Authored by: sam on Jul 04, '02 04:28:04AM

To read and decrypt DVDs, VLC uses the libdvdcss library which does not care about the region code (unlike most commercial players). It should play all DVDs, whatever you drive's region is.

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foreign encodings dont work
Authored by: jsil on Jul 04, '02 01:53:42PM

That should be the case, but it isn't.
I tried to play a Japanese encoded dvd (region 2), and the menu nav didn't work, and the audio was just static.

the video did work, but you had to navigate to the different sections using the load disk function and then select the sections using the "title" selector.

Just as an aside, the dvd played fine using apple's dvd player.

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VLC -- needs better navigation controls
Authored by: Uberminky on Jul 03, '02 05:38:22PM

Just the other day I discovered this. I was trying to capture frames of a DVD, and VLC was the only way I could get it to work. The problem is, for my application I need the ability to grab two or three consecutive frames. Unfortunately, VLC has no way to do this, other than pure luck and lots of headaches. You can't move frame by frame. I found the navigation controls in general to be quite lacking. It's hard to just fast forward or rewind a few seconds. I very much hope they put some thought into this in future releases, because it would be much more enjoyable to use.

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Snapz Pro X can do it, too
Authored by: moki on Jul 07, '02 05:37:17AM
Snapz Pro X can grab DVD video, too -- have a look:

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DVD Capture
Authored by: Johnny_B on Sep 24, '02 05:34:20PM

DVD capture has been around for ages, and is free.

Never had any troubles with this.

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