Expressing entertainment on my Debian Wheezy 7.2 laptop

I like my computers to have the power of an entertainment system. On days when I just want to kick back, I will either play a movie or listen to some soothing audio sounds. At home, I use my playstation3 console to play DVDs and a regular cube-sized TV. Basic, but it works. I don’t have the luxury of a tablet when it is time to travel. I do have an HP laptop. Time to put on my Frankenstein hat.


I am a huge Ubuntu fan. For reasons unknown, and hard to explain, Ubuntu did not want to play fair. There are two other Linux Distros that I resort to if Ubuntu decides to go on strike, Debian and Fedora.


Debian, is the parent of Ubuntu and Fedora is the desktop child of Redhat. Gratefully, both Distros installed perfectly on my laptop.


Debian does not like to include restricted software that it can’t manually configure. It likes to use pure open source programs. The use of restricted software has to be added manually by the user.


For Debian to ascend to an entertainment system, it needs to be able to read all sorts or the most common audio and video file formats. Next, it must be able to read website multimedia. You guessed it, being able to play youtube videos. If you plan on playing DVDs, something needs to be used to read from those media devices.


After doing some research, these were the programs my Debian Wheezy 7.2 system needed.



  1. libdvdread4
  2. libdvdcss2
  3. flashplayer-nonfree
  4. Gstreamer


First, I needed to enable restricted software to be installed. I noticed two ways of doing this.


I opened “Synaptic Software Manager”, clicked “settings”, and clicked “repositories”. There were options to select the “contrib” and “non-free” software sources. Restricted software is the same as non-free software.




The terminal is the second option. Open any terminal installed on your Debian system, and in it, type these commands:


#cd /etc


#cd /apt


#sudo nano sources.list


Add the names you see in purple next to the names you see in red. Disregard the very last line at the bottom of the picture. Go to the “libdvdcss2” section on this blog.




Once you close the “software sources” window from synaptic, the application will update itself. After you add the purple names in the terminal text editor, save and exit “nano”. Update the system by typing:


#sudo apt-get update


Lets install the power-ups



I had to Install “Gstreamer”. This application the system will use to read “audo” and “video” files either downloaded from the Internet or from CD discs. I Installed it using synaptic. Typed “Gstreamer” in the “search” bar, selected it and installed.



Next, I needed to install “libdvdread4”. Typed, “libdvdread4” in the search bar, selected it, and installed. “Libdvdread4″ is used to read file contents from DVDs. The system told me that it was already installed. “libdvdread4” is located in the “main” repos. I used the terminal to install it but you can use “synaptic” to install it as well.



Some DVDs have content that is encrypted. In order for Linux to decode the content, it will need a program that can read encrypted DVD content. One particular program is “libdvdcss2” that I found looking on the Internet. Follow the link below which will walk you though step of installing “libdvdcss2”.

Caution:  Only install programs that can be authenticated using an authorization key. This insures that the program being install is coming from the right place. If there is an issue with authentication, DO NOT install the programs. Do it only if it is vital to have it. Do so at your own risk.



Next, I want the ability to watch on-line media content. Simply, to enjoy Youtube. For any browser to decode Internet multimedia, it needs the services of “Flashplayer”. Chrome comes with flash included, but my Debian system needed me to manually install it. Flash is provided through the restricted repos. I installed it from the the terminal.


#sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree


When all was said and done, I restarted my system to let all changes take effect. Debian has some media player programs pre-installed depending on the desktop environment you are using. I personally like “VLC”. You can download it from synaptic.


Now that all programs needed for my Debian “playstation” were installed, it was time to make popcorn. Here is a video of what my Debian system can now do.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s