Playing DVDs on an iPad

[Harrison Jackson] figured out how to add DVD playback to an iPad. It doesn’t require a jailbreak, or any hardware modifications to your prized tablet. The work is done with some server-side processing and played back through the browser.

The popular open-source multimedia player VLC has the ability to encode from the command line during playback. [Harry’s] option flag mastery of the program allows him to convert a DVD to a 320×240 format that is iPad friendly. But this alone doesn’t get the video any closer to being on the iDevice. You’ll need to be running a webserver that can stream video. This example is on OSX, but since he’s using an Apache server it should be simple to reproduce on any Unix variant. Once you’ve enabled m3u8 files in the Apache mime-types, the iPad browser can be pointed to the file address VLC is kicking out and you’ll be watching a movie in no time.

We’ve wondered about replacing our home theater front-end with an ATV 2 running XBMC but the thought of having no optical drive in the living room requires some contemplation. If this becomes a feasible option (that isn’t downscaled from DVD quality) it will be a no-brainer to make that jump.

Don’t miss the demo video after the break. Full instruction are in the comment section of that clip.

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Ignore UOP on the OSX dvd player

If you’ve been frustrated by the inability to skip past parts of DVDs on OSX the here is one solution. It’s a patch script that uses some binary hacking to remove the User Operation Prohibition locks from DVD playback software. Using UOP flags is a way to force users to watch trailers or warnings as part of the DVD experience. This script can patch Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard systems. It also has the ability to generate diagnostic information for other installations that will lead to expanded support in the future.

Extra extra: Now legal to jailbreak iPhone

For those living under a rock, the latest ‘greatest’ news to hit hacking front page is the the Copyright Office granting Six Exemptions Regarding the Circumvention of Access-Control Technologies. Of the six the one of the two regarding iPhones is as follows,

“(2) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.”

Which (along with section 3) really just means that you can unlock and crack cellphones and companies can no longer fine you $2,500. Not that many ever have but the threat was there. Apple however, can and still will void your warranty if you jailbreak.

The 4 other areas not involving phones are the ability to circumvent DVDs for portions of video, video games in order to better the security of said game, computer programs that require dongles but dongles are no longer available, and literary works that prevent read-aloud or rendering to a specialized format.

One tidbit I keep hearing about in these exemptions is the ability to now break DRM on music, as much as I wish this were true, I can’t seem to find any sources on it, sorry pirates.

Regardless, now that the world is one step closer to an open framework, whats changed? For me, I’ve been jailbroken for years so sadly nothing. If you agree with the ruling, disagree, or just want to tell about your now legal jailbreaking joys, please leave a comment.

Additional Sources: FOXNews and CNNMoney thanks to [Voyagerfan99], [Ryan Knight], and [Steve S.] respectively.

[Image credit: Fr3d.org]

USB HDD enclosure to DVD connector

This is a “why didn’t I think of that?” idea. [Alec] needed a way to connect an IDE DVD drive using USB. Rather than order a connector he pulled the circuit board out of an old USB hard drive enclosure and connected to his DVD drive. Bang, recognized and running.

This will prove extremely handy if you have a netbook without an optical drive. We’ve used Unetbootin to move Linux ISO images to a thumb drive in the past. In addition to getting around the lack of an optical drive, this saves burning the data to a piece of plastic. But, you should be able to use this with a Leopard retail DVD instead of a 16GB thumb drive for a Hackintosh conversion. That means you could install Leopard on a netbook without needing a Mac to transfer the disk image to your thumb drive first.

Destroying optical media

We got a tip about a USB CD destroyer. We found its methods amusing as it just scratches the CD as seen above on the left. If you really have data security issues, perhaps something more than scratched plastic should be used. There are a lot of paper shredders that can also shred CDs, what about taking that shredder with the burnt out motor and turning it into a hand-cranked shredder that doubles as a CD killer?

Got a lot of optical media that needs to go? These folks developed the chain-gun of CD shredding with an automatic feed. This consists of a CD shredder and a slew of discs connected with packing tape. As seen in the video after the break, the shredder advances and the next disk is pulled into its jaws.

Microwave has been a popular bringer of death for disc media. The light show and resulting chaotic art (above on the right and after the break) are what make this interesting, but it’s pretty hard on the much-loved kitchen appliance. What we’re really looking for is a way to force a CD/DVD writer to overwrite data. The fact that burnt discs, rather than factory pressed versions, are what normally need to be disposed of makes this a hack waiting to happen. Why isn’t this a standard hardware feature of all drives, and can it be implemented in software?

There’s always the low-tech snap, scratch, or mangle methods. We usually just scratch the foil off the top of the disc.

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High explosives PC case

ammo_casemod

[Ilias] let us know about his new HTPC case mod.  He took a surplus Ammo-case and with a bit of work turned it into a livingroom eye-sore masterpiece. His build has some nice touches, including a slot-fed DVD player, switch-based fan control, and key-and-button “nuclear launch” type power-on controls.

A few things to learn from this project: Cleanly cutting holes in a steel case for the connectors is tough.  You can see that [Ilias] did a pretty good job with it and in several cases used rubber gaskets to cover the rough edges. Secondly, the slot fed DVD had to be mounted upside-down.  We assume this will be fine, but we’d like to hear a follow-up after a few years of heavy use. Finally, the GFAF (girlfriend acceptance factor) ran very close to critical on this build as [Ilias] didn’t clean up the metal shavings on his porch and ended up with rust stains everywhere.

Case mods are an enjoyable hobby. We hope this will inspire you to take the leap.  If you do, don’t forget to send your completed project into our tip line.

Automated DVD dispenser

dvd

[Andrew] made this DVD dispenser for his senior project in high school. It is using an ATmega8515 for the brains, and a custom coded driver for the LCD. As you can see in the video, after the break, you can select a DVD by various identifiers such as genre or title. It then pushes that DVD out of the rack so you can grab it. Right now, all the DVDs have to be placed in predetermined positions, but it’s not a bad start at all. Thanks for sending this in [Andrew].

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