There is a number of reasons why it can be useful to have a 1:1 copy of a DVD on your harddisk, e.g. because you want to avoid wasting battery life when travelling, or because you own a MacBook Air and do not want to carry around your external DVD drive. However, there is one problem: Apple’s DVD player and iTunes expect a DVD to be read from an optical drive rather than the file system. I recently discovered an easy solution.
I had been searching for a way to make my MacBook emulate a DVD drive. Converting the content to some other video format was not an option because I wanted to preserve the DVD menue for a few reference videos.
I found a lot of information about how to create an ISO image that would somehow pretend to be a drive. But those were unnerving workarounds that required disk image conversions and a lot of command-line fiddling.
There was also the option to use VLC for playback, but this was not particularly pretty either. You would have to right click the VIDEO_TS.IFO file in the VIDEO_TS directory and choose “open using…”, enable “All Applications” and pick the VLC player from your applications directory. It is as ugly as it sounds.
But there is a really simple and beautiful solution that is not very well known:
1. Copy the DVD content
Create a “DVD” folder on your desktop and copy both directories from the disc into it.
2. Rename the folder
Rename the “DVD” folder to “DVD.dvdmedia”. It is the extension that matters, so feel free to replace “DVD” with your video title.
After renaming the folder shows a DVD icon and will no longer act as a folder: a double-click will now open DVD Player and start playback.
A Final Hint
Some DVDs may still not launch because of copyright or regional restrictions. I had that problem with a video from Japan. In this case it’s back to VLC player and that .IFO file.