VLC won't play VOB files or how to I change VOB to another format



I have a file that is a VOB file and VLC won't play it. Even worse it puts VLC into an endless loop that I can't stop, fans run, etc. and I must reboot.

Even better might be a way to change the VOB to another format.

Any ideas?

Kubuntu 14.10

VOB files are the files used on DVD's aren't they?

What happens if you try to play a DVD with VLC via the "Media->Open Disk" menu option in VLC?
When the "Open Disk" dialog pops up, you need to ensure that the DVD option is selected and that DVD drive containing the disk is also selected.

Does the DVD play or do you still get problems?

If you have problems playing DVD's correctly, it's almost certainly the case that libdvdcss2 is not installed (library for decrypting DVDs). In which case you need to run the following command:
sudo apt-get install libdvdread4 && sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh
That will install the libraries necessary for decrypting DVDs and will run the installation script for dvdcss. Once that is done, you should be able to play DVD disks and open locally stored VOB files.

NOTE: After installing libdvdread4 and dvdcss, you may need to restart X or reboot before it will work! So if playback does not work immediately after installation, try logging out and back in again to force X to restart, or do a full reboot!

If you are able to play DVDs but you are still unable to access locally stored VOBs via "Media->Open File", you could perhaps try opening the local VOB files via the "Open Disk" menu item instead. That might help. In the "Open Disk" dialog, you can select a different location for the disk rather than one of the DVD drives. So you could just try pointing it to the locally stored VOBs and see if that will allow VLC to play them.

Failing that, there are programs like handbrake (as suggested by ryan), avconv or ffmpeg which should allow you to transcode the VOB files to another format.
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Additionally, for future reference:
If VLC (or any other application for that matter) goes into an infinite loop and causes the system to hang like that again, you don't have to reboot. Instead you can use Ctrl+Alt + one of the F keys (F1 to F6) to hide the desktop environment and switch to a full-screen virtual terminal session. e.g. Ctrl+Alt+F3.

This will bring you to a text-based login screen which prompts you for your username and password.

After logging into your account via the command-line login, you can kill vlc with the command:
killall vlc
This will kill all instances of vlc, so if you have more than one instance open it will kill all of them!

If you have multiple instances of VLC open and you only want to kill the crashed one, you could use something like top or pstree to find the PID/Process ID of the crashed/thrashing instance of VLC and then kill it with the kill command:
kill -9 {pid}
where {pid} is the process ID of the dead VLC. So if the PID of the crashed VLC is 5054, you would use: kill -9 5054

Note: In the above I have used the -9 switch/option which sends the SIGKILL signal. SIGKILL forces the program to stop regardless of what it is doing and risks some data loss. Ideally you'd first try to kill a process with -15, which is the SIGTERM signal. SIGTERM politely asks the program to finish what it is doing and exit to avoid data loss/corruption.

However, if VLC is in that bad a state, it will not respond to SIGTERM. So it's probably best to go straight for a forced, SIGKILL style shutdown!

For more on the kill command and the signals you can pass to applications see this article:

Once you have killed VLC, type exit to log out and go back to the text login screen, then use Ctrl+Alt+F7 to switch back to your desktop and you should see that VLC has closed.

That might save you a bit of time the next time a program crashes/goes into an infinite loop on you and the system hangs! Rather than do a hard-reboot, simply switch to a virtual terminal and kill whatever process is causing the problem and then switch back to the desktop afterwards!
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Thanks for some good terminal commands to use.

VLC still won't play but Dragon Player will work.

I tried to use Handbrake to change the format but couldn't find a choice for MP4.

There may be a bug in the handbrake package on Ubuntu but it is used to make .mp4 files. I use it all the time.
Why just convert VOB to VLC compatible formats?

I really don’t know how it is done, but Faasoft Video Converter has that feature, and I didn’t have any problem using that function.
In your screen shot that Mp4 choice was not available. I can't remember what was available but it was only one choice.
ffmpeg -i movie.mov -vcodec copy -acodec copy out.mp4

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