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DVD Player

Included with Mac OS X is DVD Player, an application for displaying DVD content on computers equipped with internal DVD drives. To start DVD Player, simply insert a video DVD into your system, or double-click the application icon in the Applications folder.

By default, Mac OS X launches DVD Player automatically when it detects a DVD in the drive. At startup, the DVD begins to play, and a playback controller appears onscreen, as shown in Figure 3.30.

Figure 3.30Figure 3.30 DVD Player's controller window keeps all the needed controls in one convenient place.


Unlike for QuickTime movies, if you minimize a DVD Player window, the picture won't play in the Dock. However, the sound continues to be audible.

Use the controller window as you would a standard DVD remote. Basic playback buttons (play, stop, rewind, and fast-forward) are provided, along with a selection control and a volume slider. Also available are buttons to access the menu, display the title of the current scene, and eject the DVD.


Typically, viewers navigate through DVD menus with arrow keys on their DVD controllers. Because your DVD Player is run on your computer, you have additional options. To navigate onscreen selections without the use of the controller, you can simply point-and-click at a DVD menu item to select it. To navigate with the keyboard, use the arrow keys and press Return.

Six additional advanced controls are accessible by clicking the far right edge of the controller window. In Figure 3.30, the controller window is shown with the window tray extended. This opens a window drawer containing two columns of buttons that control playback or special features of DVDs. Those controls, from top to bottom, left to right, are Slow, Step, Return, Subtitle, Audio, and Angle buttons.


If you use iChat frequently, you can use the Player pane of the DVD Player application preferences to force playback to pause or mute when a conference takes place.

If you prefer a vertically oriented player control, choose Controls, Use Vertical Control (Option-Command-C) from the menu. You can switch back to the horizontal layout at any time by choosing Controls, Use Horizontal Control (Option-Command-C) from the same menu.

Although the onscreen controller can be used for most everything, DVD Player also provides keyboard commands for controlling playback. The following options are available under the Controls menu:

  • Use Vertical/Horizontal Controller—Toggles between horizontal and vertical orientations with Option-Command-C.

  • Open/Close the Control Drawer (Command-])—Toggles the extra features drawer open and closed on the controller.

  • Add Bookmark—Prompts for a bookmark name and then saves a bookmark with the exact location of the current DVD playback. If you choose to make a bookmark the default bookmark, you can automatically have DVD Player initiate playback from that point when the DVD is inserted (see the "DVD Player Preferences" section later in the chapter for more information). Press Shift-Command-8 to skip to the default bookmark at any time.

  • Edit Bookmark—Provides a point-and-click interface for editing, renaming, removing, and setting as default the bookmarks that you've stored for the currently active DVD.

  • Play/Pause(Spacebar)—Play or pause the video.

  • Stop (Command-.)—Stop the current video from playing.

  • Scan Forward (Shift-Command-right arrow)—Speed through the video playback.

  • Scan Backward (Shift-Command-left arrow)—Move backward through the video playback.

  • Previous Chapter (right arrow)—Skip to the previous chapter on the DVD.

  • Next Chapter (left arrow)—Skip to the next chapter on the DVD.

  • DVD Menu (Command-´)—Stop playback and load the menu for the active DVD.

  • Volume Up (Command-up arrow)—Increase the volume.

  • Volume Down (Command-down arrow)—Decrease the volume.

  • Mute (Option-Command-down arrow)—Mute the sound.

  • Closed Captioning On/Off (Option-Command-T)—Toggle closed captioning on and off.

  • Play Closed Caption in Window (Option-Command-W)—Plays the closed captioning in a separate window from the video.

  • Play Closed Caption over Video (Option-command-V)—Plays the closed captioning directly over the video.

  • Eject (Command-E)—Eject the current DVD.


When fast-forwarding or rewinding, the view is displayed at an accelerated rate. Use the Controls, Scan Rate option to set the speed to two, four, or eight times faster than normal.

DVD Player Preferences

The preferences for DVD Player are split into four sections. The Player pane, shown in Figure 3.31, enables you to set how DVD Player reacts on system startup and insertion of a DVD. You can also choose the viewer size. If you have created bookmarks, you may want to check the option to start playback from the default bookmark.

The Disc Setup pane contains settings for default language and the option to enable DVD@ccess, which allows DVD Player to recognize and react to embedded hot spots that link to Internet Web sites. You can also change audio output settings.

The Full Screen pane allows you to set a viewer size (maximum, normal, half, or current) and to decide whether the viewer can be resized. Options are also available for dimming other windows while DVD Player is active, remaining in full screen when DVD Player is inactive, disabling the menu bar (kiosk mode) so that viewers can't exit the program, and hiding the controller after a set period of time.


If you disable the menu bar, you can exit the DVD Player by ejecting the DVD.

Figure 3.31Figure 3.31 Change how DVD Player is activated and the size of the viewing window.

The Windows pane controls whether the controller fades away or just disappears when it is hidden and turns on and off status information, which appears while a movie is playing. You can also choose the color and transparency of these messages, as well as the color and transparency of closed captioning.


Gradual fade of the controller upon hiding and transparent text are features enabled through the use of Quartz Extreme, which allows some graphics cards to take some of the graphics-processing load off Mac OS X.

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