Watching DVDs on your Apple TV with AirPlay

For a long time, I was looking for an easy way to play DVDs with my Apple TV without the time-consuming task of ripping the DVDs before watching them. In this article, I will show you how to immediately stream DVDs to your Apple TV with the help of AirPlay Mirroring.

The problem with DVDs and Apple TV

Many people have a lot of DVDs (technically, the specification is called DVD-Video). You probably know the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders with the VOB files. The problem is: This format is not compatible with your Apple TV and can’t be streamed directly via AirPlay. So you have to re-encode it first (for instance with Handbrake, an open source video transcoder).

The Drawbacks are obvious: Beside the legal issues (possibly breaking DRM) you can’t start immediately to watch because the re-encoding takes some time, needs software & know-how and eventually some space on your hard disc.

Playing DVDs with AirPlay

Mac with DVD drive

Here’s my hardware. Just a common Macbook Pro with the Superdrive (an external USB CD/DVD drive). But you can use any another Mac with DVD drive, as long as it is compatible with AirPlay Mirroring (Mac requirements for AirPlay Mirroring).

mac-dvd-video-drive

Apple DVD Player Software won’t work

The first thing that comes into your mind is probably using the DVD Player Software that usually opens when you insert a DVD. But this won’t work and will just show you the error message “The viewer could not be moved to selected screen.” Why? Seems like a copyright thing that it’s just not legally allowed and therefore suppressed by Apple.

dvd-player-apple-airplay-error

AirPlay DVDs with VLC

When it comes to playing videos, in most cases VLC is the answer. Go to “File > Open Disc…” in VLC and open your DVD.

playing-dvd-vlc-airplay

Enable AirPlay Mirroring and make sure that you see the VLC window on your TV. Double Click in the video window for fullscreen and start your movie. Here we go… video and audio is streamed to your TV.

Just in case if there are any performance troubles: Here are some Tips for improving AirPlay Mirroring Performance.

And what about the legal thing? Seems like the combination of open source software and French law helps us here because software is not recognised as patentable in France/EU (details see If VLC can ship a free DVD player, why can’t Microsoft?)

I haven’t tried this for Blu-Ray disc (because I neither have a drive nor discs) but I think this should work for Blu-Ray, too.

I would say that this is a great solution which will replace my Phillips DVD Player (saves some space in the living room). What do you think? Just leave a comment.

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