Watch Movies with DVD Player on Your MacBook - dummies

Watch Movies with DVD Player on Your MacBook

By Mark L. Chambers

To watch movies on your MacBook, you need DVD player software. Mac OS X comes stocked with the perfect tool for the task: DVD Player. Apple’s DVD Player application is included with Mac OS X; you can find it within the confines of your Applications folder.

But instead of rooting through the Finder, you can launch DVD Player an even easier way: Simply insert a DVD into the drive. As soon as you do, your MacBook recognizes the disc and launches DVD Player by default for you. (Time for another round of well-deserved gloating about your choice of personal computer.)

This automatic behavior (the DVD playing — not necessarily the gloating) can be curbed, however. You can control what action Lion takes (if any) when you load a DVD via the CDs & DVDs pane within System Preferences.

However you choose to start DVD Player, you’ll notice that it offers two windows:

  • Controller: The small, silver-colored, remote control–looking interface that holds all the controls for the Player

  • Viewer: The large window where you view your DVD movies

In the default Full-Screen mode, of course, you won’t see the Viewer window, and the video will take up the entire screen. The controller appears as a floating opaque strip of controls along the bottom of the screen. To display the controls, move your mouse cursor to the bottom of the screen. Move the cursor to the top of the screen and you can switch chapters and jump to bookmarks.

If you’re already using a traditional DVD player, you’ll be right at home with Apple’s DVD Player. Even if you’ve never used a traditional DVD player, you’ll find that it’s not much different from using a software-based audio player such as iTunes.

How to use the DVD Player controller

The controller is the command center of the DVD Player software. Arranged much the same as a VCR or tape deck’s controls, all the familiar controls are present.


The following table details the fundamental commands present in the DVD Player Controller. Apple software usually has some goodies hidden beneath the surface, and DVD Player is no exception. The controls in DVD Player have a few functions that might not be obvious to the casual user.

Basic DVD Controls
Control Name What It Does Other Functions
Play Plays the DVD Switches into a Pause button anytime a movie is playing.
Stop Stops playback of the DVD
Previous Chapter Skips to the previous chapter Click and hold the button to quickly scan through the movie in
Next Chapter Skips to the next chapter Click and hold the button to quickly scan forward through the
Playback Volume Adjusts the volume of the DVD audio
Arrow Buttons Navigates through the menu items of the DVD
Enter Selects the currently highlighted menu item
Eject Ejects the DVD from the drive
Title Jumps immediately to the DVD’s title menu
Menu Displays the menu of the current DVD

Keep your eyes on the Viewer in DVD Player

As soon as you begin playing with the DVD Player controls, you’ll notice activity in the Viewer window.


You can think of the Viewer window as a television inside your Macintosh, if it helps, but DVD Player goes one step further.

Unlike a television screen, the Viewer has some nice tricks up its sleeve: For example, you can resize the Viewer window by using one of the five sizes listed in the View menu (Half, Actual Size, Double Size, Fit to Screen, and Full-Screen sizes). This is useful for watching a movie in a small window on your Desktop while you work with other applications.

You can toggle your Viewer size from the keyboard; for example, select Half Size with Command+0 (zero), Actual Size with Command+1 (one), and Double Size with Command+2 (two).

If you’re only in it for the entertainment factor, you’ll probably want to resize the Viewer to fill the screen. To watch movies in Full-Screen mode, you can toggle with the Command+F keyboard shortcut. If you want to take full advantage of all your screen space yet leave the Viewer window on-screen for occasional resizing, choose Fit to Screen mode with Command+3 (three).