When I retired to the Philippines, I couldn’t bring my collection of nice g rated films (ok a few R rated ones too) because I never had bought a DVD player, but relied on my lowly VCR. I had a nice collection of films from TBS and TNT and AMC, and a few from the networks. Sure, they included commercials, but hey the price (free) hit my budget.

And it wasn’t until I knew that I was retiring that I did manage to buy a few cheap DVD’s at Walmart.

Now, here in the Philippines, we can find brand new movies being sold at the open air market for 80 cents a few days after they open in Hong Kong, or if we want to be legal, we will buy them at the mall a few weeks after the films open for about 3 dollars US a piece. Actually we prefer the latter, because the ones at the Palanke are often poor quality, pirated films from China, and of course illegal.

So now I have a collection: My US DVD’s, my VCD that need an Asian codec to run, and your computer will only let you play one country. I also have a few downloaded films from Google or other libraries. Did you know you can download movies from libraries? True, they are old classics, but I like them.

And if you are under 18 you probably know about Limewire and Bittorrent.

The problem is watching them.

My grandson told me the way to get around this:

Go to Downloads.com and type in codec, and chose among the various codec download programs.

Ah, but how do I do this with Ubuntu.

Well, if you like photos, THIS BLOG at TechRepublic has a nice photo step by step guide.

There are several media players for Ubuntu, and indeed when you try to play a movie, it says: Need codec, and then instructs you to download it and voila, it’s downloaded.

But I still couldn’t play all my movies.

So I went to some forums and found two sites that help.

One is EasyUbuntu. The instructions are indeed easy (you paste the stuff in the box into your terminal program (open Applications, in box pop open terminal, then copy instructions in the box of the linked article into terminal and hit enter).

Once it is added, go to the page one codec and hit enter, and voila it’s done.

There is another program that also does this. Automatrix.

I ran across this in a discussion, and downloaded this also.

For instructions, Tech republic blog has photos starting here.

Actually, it not only includes codecs but included other programs that I wanted to download like Real player and Picassa.

When you download the codecs, a big window pops up and tells you it’s illegal in a lot of places. Why, I can’t figure out why, but I live in the Philippines, and as far as I know it’s legal, since our DVD player will play both Asian VCD’s and American DVD’s.

So they downloaded, and voila, I can watch my movies….or maybe not.

I can watch the AVI and Real player movies I downloaded from Bittorrent/limewire, and also some MP4 movies that were on the net libraries. But what about the regular DVD’s?

When I entered my DVD, it didn’t recognize it but when I started automatrix, and signed in, it worked. Don’t know what I did, but what the hey. Now I can play my DVD’s.
But I’m still trying to figure out my VCD’s. At present I’m downloading a new videoplayer, to see if that works.
Developing. I probably need to play with it awhile.

See comment number one. I went to the Applications button, hit the “set up” box at the bottom of the big box, and found Gxine. I simply installed it (you have to hit the small box to the left of the name and then enter) and rebooted, stuck in a vcd…and nothing.
Turns out the first VCD was a VCD O. Once I entered that I can watch the local movies.

Thanks Doug.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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