All library public computers ready to play DVD formats with VLC
I previously wrote a note about how I'd placed VLC, a utility for playing back multi-media files (video, audio, and such)--including DVD-formatted disks in particular-- on the first PC in the library. I warned that other PCs would try to play back DVDs using the built-in Windows Media Player, which would result in a fine video image, but no available sound (with headphones, of course, as we've disabled the existing speakers in the PCs in the library). I originally described this as a temporary fix. Well, it's now it's permanent and installed on all 7 PCs. Most of you probably knew that I had put round, blue stickers on some of the PCs for purposes of indicating that some of the PCs had VLC, some did not. I've removed the stickers, as they all have VLC, which has an icon that looks like a little yellow & white striped megaphone or traffic cone.
Depending upon things that I'm not even sure about, when a DVD is put into the PC, it may start up VLC and start playing on its own, or the user may have to start it. This can be done in at least two ways: A. Double-click on VLC, and once that starts, find the DVD and tell it to start playing from within that program. B. Go to "My Computer" and find the DVD drive, where the name of the disk will probably be displayed. Double-click on that and VLC should start up to play the DVD. --IF-- instead Windows Media Player starts up, it's just possible that it will work fine (I found a DVD that WOULD play with WMP the other day, including sound), in which case you probably won't even hear about it. More likely, the patron will have trouble with sound, in which case, you should quit WMP and follow A to get the DVD playing properly. If you start having other problems, consider switching to a different PC. AND LET ME KNOW. Get me or tell me or leave me a note or email if I'm not available.
Note that the old headphones that we use, with an adaptor, can result in difficulty determining if the sound problem is the computer output or just with the headphones connection. You have to screw the connections around or pull them slightly looser or push them in more snugly, sometimes to get those old headphones to work. If patrons use their own headphones, as from their iPods, they will probably work more reliably.