Windows only: Browse and play the DVDs you've ripped to your hard drive using DVD Rip with freeware application DVD Play. Just point DVD Play to the folder DVD Rip is saving your backed up DVDs to, and DVD Play displays them with thumbnails you can browse. Similar to how DVD Rip is a companion application to DVD Shrink, DVD Play works with the free video player VLC to easily play any of your ripped DVDs. Hit the jump for more details, the demo video, and to download DVD Play.
As you can see, DVD Play makes a fairly seamless transition between itself and VLC, making browsing and playing one of your ripped DVDs with VLC much friendlier than the default method.
Released: February 26, 2008
Creator: Adam Pash (idea and original code contributed by Lifehacker reader pjharris)
What it does: DVD Rip makes ripping DVDs to your hard drive a one-click affair. DVD Play aims to make playing back those ripped DVDs just as easy. The rips DVD Rip produces retain the menu structure of your DVDs (see video above), so playing videos isn't just a matter of finding and opening one single file. Instead, these rips consist of two folders (VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS), both containing several files. DVD Play sets up a simple interface for browsing and playing these ripped DVDs without worrying about any of that nitty gritty.
As I said above, DVD Play is just a helper application. VLC is what's actually playing back your video. If you haven't already installed VLC, DVD Play will take you to the VLC download page so you can.
DVD Play is distributed as a standalone executable, so there's nothing special to install. Just drag the DVD Play.exe file to wherever you want it to live on your computer. I'd suggest keeping it in the same directory as you've placed DVD Rip.
How It Works
The first time you run DVD Play, you need to tell it where you save your DVD Rips. After that, it'll go straight to your ripped DVD library every time you launch the application. If you want to change your settings, just hold Shift when you start up the application.
Once you're browsing your library with DVD Play, playing one of the DVDs is as simple as double-clicking the cover of choice. As you saw in the video above, double-clicking the cover launches VLC into fullscreen mode so you're straight into DVD watching mode.
The first time you run DVD Play, you'll probably notice that your cover art is missing for your DVDs (instead you'll see an art placeholder). DVD Play doesn't automatically fetch cover art, but it does make the process pretty simple for you. Just find the DVD you've ripped on Amazon, go to the product page, and drag and drop the cover art into the ripped DVD folder. Next time you run DVD Play, it'll automatically detect the art and display it for easy browsing.
- Version 0.1: I'm considering pjharris's original contribution to be the 0.1 release.
- Version 0.2: Adds album art view and new GUI, improves VLC integration
Bug Reports and Feature Requests DVD Play works without issue on my Vista laptop, but that doesn't mean it's bug-free. If you run into any problems using DVD Play (or you've got feature requests), tell us all about them in the comments.