Stew and I were both thrown for a while by a teacher's request for help playing a DVD in lab B. When you first put the DVD in, you get an error message to the effect that the device is not available, or not ready. Attempts to play the DVD itself with Windows Media Player failed -- according to our experiments afterwards in Lab C, WMP is unaware of DVDs, and has no menu or toolbar items relating to DVDs, and while a DVD is in the drive, it shows No Disc In Drive. In Lab B, I tried inserting the DVD when logged on as admin, and as a regular user; there was no difference -- I still got the error message.
In Lab C, the default DVD player is RealPlayer, which doesn't have the codecs to play the DVD; it offers to download them and install them, but fails.
Eventually, we figured out that you can right-click on the DVD drive and choose Play with VLC. That works fine for the video. Then you have to start the Sanako teacher's console, choose Media File, and switch on the Speakers icon to get audio through the speakers.
I've written up some instructions for both labs to cover the time when Greg's away, then after he gets back we can figure out the RealPlayer problem in Lab C, and see if either station can be made to pop up a player that works automatically. The instructions are below; I've also passed them to the CALL guys, and put copies in the labs.
Also logging the fact that the teacher station in Lab B refused to log off; I had to restart it. This was when logged on as administrator. Finally, I should mention that when the DVD was playing in lab B, the instructor also noticed that it was a bit jittery, and it seems that way to me too. I don't know if that's because of the hardware or the VLC player.
Playing DVD Movies in the Labs
Playing DVDs is a little complicated at the moment, because of some technical issues we're working on, but it does work if you follow these steps:
- First, power up the projector and make sure you can see the desktop of the teacher station on the projector screen.
- Insert the DVD in the teacher station computer.
- If you see an error message, just click OK. If RealPlayer starts up, and pops up messages, click Cancel on all the messages and close RealPlayer.
Double-click on the teacher station on the desktop. You should see the DVD as one of the drives on the computer.
- Right-click on the DVD and choose "Play with VLC". The VLC media player should start up, and you should see the DVD begin to play. You won't hear any audio yet, though.
Start the Sanako teacher's console (from the link on the desktop or the taskbar).
- Choose Media File as the Source in the console.
- Click on the Speakers icon (on the toolbar, near the top left). The button should stick down, meaning that the sound is routing through the external speakers. You may need to turn up the speakers using the knob on the teacher's desk.
- Now go back to the VLC player, which is showing the video. Choose DVD / Fullscreen, to get a fullscreen view of the video.