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Playing VCDs on (Ubuntu) Linux: HOW-TO January 20, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in How-To, Linux, Screenshots, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Christian, Working with Linux.

Yes, DVDs are in. But VCDs are still not out. And strangely, while Automatix in Ubuntu enables all the codecs to play almost any format, Ubuntu still can’t play VCD’s. Many of the Forum solutions provided usually say that you must install this or that codec. This post assumes that you have install all the needed codecs… ie. a post Automatix install.

Usually, after an Automatix download, Totem becomes the default media player (it even plays the music and you need to configure that separately). Totem is pretty ok… but when you put in a VCD an error is reported which reads…

Totem could not play ‘vcd:///media/cdrom0’
There is no input plugin to handle the location of this movie.

(Screenshot below)

Totem Error while Reading VCDs

I looked around for solutions in a few Linux forums and surprisingly the solution is not that evident… (though it is quite simple)… and so I’m posting the two main solutions offered.

1. In terminal, type: mplayer vcd://2

(or mplayer vcd://1 or mplayer vcd:// basically whatenver works).

This is helpful especially if you want to test whether your VCD reads ok in the first place. However, as a viewer, it is quite limited… there is no full screen… and no way of fast forwarding.

2. The better and simpler solution is to install gxine through synaptic. And believe it or not, it works! Once you open gxine, then there will be an option for DVD/VCD etc… choose VCD and you have a player that plays VCDs. The Screenshot below is of the gxine menu.

gxine option for playing VCDs

VCDs now work for me, in Ubuntu, I hope they work for you, too.



1. Matthew - January 23, 2007

Hi, are you sure mplayer doesn’t do full screen? Are you familiar with the application? I know it does full screen for almost everything. Now, I don’t have any VCDs so I can’t test it, but it should play VCDs in full screen just as it does for everything else. Try these two things:

1. Simply press F once the vcd is going.

That might or might not work. It might simply “maximize” the player, while leaving the viewing area the same size. if that’s the case:

2. Use the -zoom tag when launching. That would be like this “mplayer -zoom vcd://”

If that works, and it surely should, then you just need to edit your mplayer config files to make it zoom in full screen mode by default. I’m not on my buntu box right now so I can’t tell you how to do that.

2. NAyK - January 23, 2007

to matthew: I’m sorry for my unclarity. You’re right. mplayer does do full screen. I was talking about mplayer in commandline mode. It would only go as full as the taskbar permitted (like a webpage).

that’s what I should have done! *smacking my forehead!* thanks.

I’ll try the mplayer -zoom vcd:// command. That may also work, but i think it will still not allow me access to the navigation bar, will it?

3. Matthew - January 23, 2007

hmm, what do you mean by the navigation bar? Assuming you are using gnome (since you said ubuntu) do you mean the panels? Or do you mean the mplayer navigation menu (with play/pause, stop, fast forward, etc). I think you are right, that doesn’t show up in full screen. Although the keyboard shortcuts work fine.

VLC is the same way, I think, it doesn’t show the navigation buttons in full screen. I’ve never used xine, actually.

4. NAyK - January 23, 2007

Matthew: Yes, I meant the navigation menu… with the play/pause etc. Does your VLC player play VCD’s as well? Mine doesn’t. Or perhaps there is a command line proceedure, (like mplayer)…?

5. Matthew - January 23, 2007

Like I said, I don’t own any VCDs so I can’t test this, but VLC should have no problem playing VCDs.

Press the open button, then press the Disc tab. Under “disc tab” select VCD. that should do it. maybe not though. VLC should play most everything mplayer plays, with a few exceptions. it doesn’t play WMV as well, FLV as well, or NSV as well. Mplayer plays literally everything but doesn’t have the best gui. For normal files/discs, VLC does everything that I’m aware of. It should play VCDs, you just might have to toy with the configuration a bit.

6. Hafiz - February 3, 2007

Matthew,It didn’t even work!I tried to play VCD on VLC but it didn’t work!It just closed the VLC!Feww,,lucky that I still keep my Windows!

7. NAyK - February 3, 2007

TO Hafiz: That’s why I used gxine and it DID work. I find having both Linux and Windows is good, because just recently I thought there was a problem in my VCD player in Linux and switched to windows and saw the same problem. It turned out that the VCD was damaged. Hope you continue to DUAL boot! (ie. try both).

8. Hafiz - February 17, 2007

Yeah me too!Only gxine can play everything!But recently I upgraded to opensuse 10.2 and vcd doesn’t play.Not just that,it doesn’t even mount.What’s going on in Linux?What’s happening?

9. Linux By Examples - April 2, 2007

mplayer able to do fullscreen even in console.

mplayer -fs myvideo.avi

Find out more tips on http://linux.byexamples.com/archives/category/misc/mplayer/

10. Ripping video out from DVD and VCD with mplayer » Linux by Examples - April 2, 2007

[…] Or it couldn’t able to play by default media player totem when it automatically loaded up, illustrated here. Play video through command line added flexibility, if track one is corrupted, you still able to […]

11. Rashko - October 6, 2007

– if you install packages & libraries and still have problem then you should install your Graphic card’s driver and watch moves.

12. Bruce - January 3, 2008

The version of VLC I am using (see About below) suddenly stopped displaying AVI video files correctly.

It was working before. But suddenly, a couple days ago, AVI files display crazy pink and purple pixels…. The sound plays, but the video does not.

Oddly, these same files worked before. With the same VLC player, and now they don’t.

I am using Ubunto Linux 7.10

And ideas/suggestions?


LC media player 0.8.6c (wxWidgets interface)

(c) 1996-2006 – the VideoLAN Team

Compiled by buildd@crested.buildd.
Compiler: gcc version 4.1.3 20070929 (prerelease) (Ubuntu 4.1.2-16ubuntu2).
This program comes with NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.
You may redistribute it under the terms of the GNU General Public License;
see the file named COPYING for details.
Written by the VideoLAN team; see the AUTHORS file.

The VideoLAN team

Bruce Wagner

13. Arielle - January 11, 2008

Hi, regarding VLC’s playing VCDs. I think I’ve found something.

In the Open Disc dialogue, chosing VCD gives me this:
vcdx:///dev/hdd :audio-track=0

in the advanced options.
/dev/hdd is my CD-ROM drive, obviously.

I tried changing that to:
vcd:///dev/hdd :audio-track=0

removing the “x” from the MRL. It worked.


14. Sajesh - January 16, 2008

@ Arielle….

you are my saviour…

i had this problem of VCDs not even mounting… played around with mplaayer.. no luck… installed gxine.. no luck..

but just removed the X from VLC and its working.. its playing it as i type here… though i dint need to change the c to d… mebbe i need to do it when the VCD is on my disk… anyways.. thanks a ton…

15. saurabh - February 3, 2008

I tried playing vcd with gxine, and I got “segmentation fault”

With mplayer using command line, no screen opens up.

With VLC, it works, except that the sound is intermittent.

Any suggestions?

(Of course I am referring to .dat movie files on the vcd).

Thanks in advance

16. Sylvain - February 17, 2008

to saurabh

I have the same intermittent sound problem with VCDs in VLC in both my Windows laptop and Ubuntu desktop. If you can afford the time, one workaround is to convert the VCD file first to a standard video file on your local hard drive using VLC and then watch that file, The sound should then play correctly.

Just tick Stream/Save on the Open disc dialog box and enter the desired settings. For example settings, read :

Hope this helps

17. matt - February 21, 2008

On my system i’ve had the problem of (g)mplayer not recognising vcd’s. It threw up the ‘vcd://x no stream available’ error (where x represents a number).

The attempt to run manually using

mplayer vcd://1 or 2

also failed.

The fix i found was to symlink my dvd drive to /dev/cdrom , /dev/dvd and /dev/dvdrw

su –
cd /dev
ls -la /dev (what does /dev/cdrom0 or 1 link to)
ln -s /dev/myphysicaldriveaddress /dev/cdrom
ln -s /dev/myphysicaldriveaddress /dev/dvd
ln -s /dev/myphysicaldriveaddress /dev/dvdrw

vcd://1 is i think a hard link to /dev/cdrom. Hence if you have cdrom1 you now have a problem with playing things that require cdrom.

18. ash - February 25, 2008

hi i would like to know more about Ubuntu 7.10 . i came across it while looking at maplestory forums, what dose it do
thank you.

19. Anonymous - March 7, 2008

mplayer vcd://2 or 1 works for me

20. nlz - March 8, 2008

i’m using gxine (gxine vcd://), but yesterday night i encountered a hugely frustrating problem: gxine wouldn’t pass some kind of DVD menu in a VCD. Now i also installed VLC, and with wvlc vcd:// , i pass it without any problem.

21. jess - March 12, 2008

mplayer vcd://5 worked for me.. out of the terminal. It opened the video window for me and I’m watching something I was going to boot into windows for.
Ubuntu is cool!

22. Sanjoy - April 9, 2008

I’m completely new to Ubuntu and only recently shifting into open source from windows. I am entirely zero about programming, so please do not give me too technical instructions. My problem: In gxine, selecting the VCD option from File menu gives me the error message: “Autoplay input plugin ‘VCD’ failed”. What should I do?

23. Anonymous - May 29, 2008

I can’t play vcd still..

24. Azeez - June 16, 2008

It is high time Linux team do something urgently for this problem.. copying/playing files from vcd should be an easy affair… (may be in the next version ofcourse)

25. Priyank Bolia - June 17, 2008

Nothing worked for me except SMPlayer, I am basically from windows world, so not familiar with command line MPlayer.
GXine works, but it damm slow on my laptop to listen any thing.
VLC is able to play after removing the ‘x’, as mentioned above, but with each frame coming after next minute.

26. chuuk - September 25, 2008

I’m a bit disappointed with the Linux disc handling – VCDs didn’t work out of the box which is surprising, and what’s more I somehow can’t get DVDs to work either. VCD problem seems simple but the DVD issue seems more deep rooted.
Major work needs to be done on this, in general media handling isn’t that great out of the box.

27. Bhushan Bhujang - October 12, 2008

what a simple and smart command to play vcd’s by NAyK!
I tried each and everything but in vain, thank u boss.

28. phil - November 19, 2008

Thanks to Arielle
it works
removing the “x” from the MRL.


29. Sanjay - January 4, 2009

Gxine is working fine on my Ubuntu 8.04 installation. based on the VCD, you may have to adjust the video setting like color/contrast/brightness etc. After that its playing good movie.

30. James Selvakumar - March 5, 2009

Hi friend,

Thank you so much. I was scratching my head to play vcds in ubuntu for the past 2 days.
Now i’m able to play with both mplayer and gxine. :-)
However VLC is not playing vcds :-(

Thank you once again

31. sreekaanth - March 17, 2009

I am unable to play any music by using totem getting an errror plugin missing.
when i tired to install gxine getting error dependencies will not be installed. so having problems in installing any softwares.
this is the fourth day trying to search for a solution.
Please help!!!!!!

32. eliax - June 18, 2009


instale gxine y santo remedio.

vlc nunca me funciono con los vcd.


33. Sourav - September 6, 2009

Thanks buddy… It’s working!!

34. VKSALIAN - September 30, 2009

Dear ALL,

This is my experience.

I am using ASUS eeePC with Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook remix.

Recently, I tried to play VCD’s using external DVD drives connected as USB. I used Movie Player. But I could not play even after attempting all possible solutions. But I could not Play or even could not copy to Local Disk.

Later, by chance, I got a message saying “Pluggins are not supported”.

Then I enabled all pluggins from “Edit–>Plugins….”.

Then I could play VCDs very well.

I don’t know if this information helps you all, but I hope it will.


35. Ripon Majumder - June 25, 2010

I have installed mplayer just now but I did not find it in my pc. Where is it? Do you know?

36. eddy - July 8, 2010

you can use arrow key to navigation

37. Fikru - December 13, 2010

VLC works fine for me. Here is what you have to do:
– open VLC
– media – advanced open file – Disk – select SVCD/VCD
– insert your VCD and play it

38. thenoid - December 24, 2010

Thank you!!!

39. Dibyajyoti Sarkar - February 1, 2012

Playing VCD is always a problem in Ubuntu. But very recently I installed Linux Mint and found Linux mint is quite better in playing VCD. I mostly watch movie in vcd. Most of the time VLC works. If VLC fails I try Kaffain. If Kaffain fails I try GNOME PLAYER. No totem . Mint has inbuilt GNOME player. It works.

40. Anonymous - March 9, 2012

i installed gxine but it is not appearing in application manu and it is not starting due to missing a file so what i have to do to resolve this problem

41. ncdas - April 28, 2012

no players play vcds in ubuntu12.04 lts.not even can copy vcd contnents to directory.i have tried vcd play back in vlc/totem/mplayer/gnome/smplayer.so what to do next? any suggestion will be welcomed.

42. ncdas - May 12, 2012

succeded in playing vcd through smplayer from file menu–open disk/vcd,then normal play back will continue. but to copy vcd -it is highly impossible . i have installed k3b for this purpose–and k3b has done fairly to rip the entire vcd. my question to ubuntu is for a simple vcd copy purpose a heavy weight software has to be installed——is not a fun? u buntu should take a right step forward to solve this problem.

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