Instructables
Picture of How to Watch DVDs on a Netbook
This instructable can be accessed at the author's website - http://www.neatinformation.com/
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Netbook computers are extremely lightweight and relatively inexpensive. But it’s extremely difficult to find one with a built-in DVD drive. I’ve always enjoyed watching DVDs on my laptop computer while travelling and was disappointed when I couldn’t find a netbook with a DVD drive. I didn’t want to carry an external DVD drive while travelling (one more item to carry or misplace) but was able to figure out an excellent way to view DVDs on my netbook that works with over 95% of my collection. This method is for standard DVDs, not Blu-Ray.

Note – this method requires the ability to copy a DVD on to your computer. This may or may not be a violation of the law for copyrighted DVDs. I am not a lawyer but in my opinion as long as you don’t make any permanent copies this falls under the “Fair Usage” guidelines of the copyright laws in the United States since you are just converting the DVD’s format for usage on another device. For this tutorial we’re going to use a DVD where non-commercial copying is specifically allowed so copyright issues are not a concern. Of course if you make your own homemade DVDs (like videos of your family activities) you own the copyright and can do whatever you want with them.

There are commercial programs which accomplish the same tasks as this tutorial, however this procedure is free. This tutorial uses freeware programs under Microsoft Windows. Similar techniques with different programs will work with other operating systems.

This method requires basic knowledge of how to use computers which are networked together, and two computers – one with a DVD drive (either a laptop or desktop computer) and your netbook. This article is for informational purposes and the author and this website will not provide any warranties for the suitability of this procedure for any particular purposes and will not provide any technical assistance.
 
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You could rip a Blu-Ray, although i'm pretty sure the High Definition will lag the netbook crazy!
JavaNut134 years ago
But it’s extremely difficult to find one with a built-in DVD drive

No netbooks come with CD/DVD drives. Otherwise they would just be notebooks with slow CPUs.

Couldn't you just use an external drive and rip all your DVDs onto your netbook? This is probably illegal, but I think that if you aren't giving it to someone else it's fair..
netbooks are the ones without cd/dvd drives and have slow cpus and 1gb ram and i agree it is illegal
I can't agree that it's illegal, you payed for the movie. Just having a digital copy for yourself shouldn't be illegal.
philip42 (author)  JavaNut133 years ago
No netbooks come with CD/DVD drives. Otherwise they would just be notebooks with slow CPUs.

I disagree. A netbook with a DVD drive would be useful as a portable DVD player which can also do web browsing, email, word processing, spreadsheets, and other simple computing functions. While you could carry a netbook and a separate portable DVD player a netbook with a built-in DVD player would be more flexible and one less item to carry.


I disagree. You could have TeamViewer on both of the pc and view them.
I agree with the main computer statement. Use peripheral devices and bluetooth or patch cords for DVD. I have one of the smallest and least capable netbooks for that reason- I can use it anywhere-even in bed. I found a real nice carry case at WalMart that has pockets on sides for a DVD player-recorder and a 1Tb storage drive, for the road trips when I need them. If I really needto do something complicated, I can use my larger laptop at home, copy it to the portable device and take it along.
actually he's right, part of the definition of a netbook is the lack of optical media drives
I can see your point, but a CD/ DVD drive would compromise battery life and size. Personally, I use my netbook as my main computer (be amazed if you like.) and have never wished I had a CD/ DVD drive.
philip42 (author)  JavaNut133 years ago
I can see your point, but a CD/ DVD drive would compromise battery life and size

It doesn't have to compromise the battery life if there's a software switch to turn the power to the drive on and off (similar to how on most laptops and netbooks you can deactivate WiFi, the backlight, etc.)

I will agree that a CD/DVD drive would increase the size and weight of a netbook, but it's still far less than the weight (and added thing to carry) as an external CD/DVD drive or carrying a portable DVD player.

Bottom line - I like that with my method I can watch DVDs on my netbook while I'm on the road or have some free time.

If you watch when you buy your movies (hard or downloads), it gives you the option for 1 extra legal download. Put that on the carry drive. A1Tb drive runs about $89 most places, and one other little piece of advice: if you ARE making an illegal copy of anything you better not use WMP, because it checks the codecs and reports you to the copyright holder. Was part of the deal MS made with the Digital Rights lawyers a few years back, to help put and end to p2p file sharing - and get MS's tail out of a multi-million $$ crack! IMHO, if it's illegal, it's plain just not right....
Spannerz3 years ago
Enable simple file sharing from your desktop's (or laptop's) DVD drive and mount it on your netbook (wether wirelessly or ethernet)

Simply open the DVD then. WMP comes with dvd playback EVEN on netbooks.
philip42 (author)  Spannerz2 years ago
That works when you're at home within the range of your WiFi network. It's certainly doable, use the netbook in your bedroom to watch a DVD playing on your computer in your study, although in my case it would be far easier and more efficient to just watch the DVD on the TV set in the bedroom.

The key advantage to putting movies on your netbook is travel - when you can't share your primary computer's CD drive. When you're in a car and need to entertain the kids, when you're on a business trip, when you're in an airplane and their movie's a rotten selection, when you're in a doctor's office and waiting an hour for your appointment.

As noted by somebody else I would not use Windows Media Player to play DVDs. Far better to use VLC, it can easily play DVDs through a network connection.
MRedu Spannerz3 years ago
This works 100% and is the best way really.
static2 years ago
Thanks for sharing, downloaded the pdf in the event I want to make use of this. I do have an outboard DVD player for my netbook, but watching DVD isn't something I planned to use the netbook for. I have the dell mini9 with the SSD. Even with an SD card in the card reader I'm always running out of room. This should be legal for personal use, no doubt the entertainment cabal will say illegal.
just convert the DVD's to an avi file and put on thumb drives...easy :-) I do that on my laptop and watch movies flawlessly, nice and smooth.
philip42 (author)  ladyharley053 years ago
That will work for the main movie, but won't give you the capability to transfer the menus, commentary track, and other features. By transferring the ISO of the entire DVD you can experience the true "look and feel" of a portable DVD player.
aephix philip423 years ago
That takes up way too much space. I could fit hundreds of movies on an external 2.5" hard drive. But an ISO of a DVD could be 4.5 gigs a piece.

Nice Instructable though.
Jason_G aephix3 years ago
My netbook has a 250 GB hard drive (newer ones have over 300 GBs). I can fit plenty of DVD ISOs on there even though they're 4.5 GBs each. Much easier than hassling with an additional piece of hardware like an external 2.5" hard drive (which also drain battery life unless it comes w/ an external power supply, IE, more junk to keep up with).

Here's another vote for ISOs over AVIs, etc.
pkennedy3 years ago
You can follow me on Twitter @KickstarKennedy if you like.
pkennedy3 years ago
Well it's nice to see people thinking outside the box, even if they are still hanging around the lid.
thorlof1694 years ago
2nd option try a program called orb turns your home pc into your own media server works awesome

3rd option network share the dvd drive of your home pc
Both of these options are great when you are at home, but when on the road where you don't have WiFi or other way to connect, this instructable is a good option.
Another option I found to move dvd movies and other videos to my psp, and now android pad, is called Format Factory. It will convert almost any audio or video format to any other, and will also work to rip the individual movie tracks from a dvd to a single file in the format you use. I usually convert to mp4 and with a mobile device I do it sized to fit the psp. Then I just use a memory card to transfer it to the device.