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Dimitris1980's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 21
DVD movies on Power Macintosh G3 Beige Minitower

Hello,

i have the following computer:

Powermac G3 Beige Minitower 333 mhz
256 mb ram
120gb hard drive
6mb video card (soon i will have an ATI Radeon 7000 Mac Edition 32mb vram)
IDE DVD drive (pulled from a Pentium III)

I am trying to play dvd movies with no success. Is there a player for this job for my computer? The Apple DVD player does not work on my system. I am also trying to find a Mac OS 9 version of VLC but no luck until now.

Thank you
Regards
Dimitris from Greece

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MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Hi Dimitris, try using the patched Apple DVD Player 2.7 (3rd DL in page). I've used this with a beige G3 and it works OK. It's not great but it may be good enough.
ps. You definitely will need the Radeon card for decent playback of DVD media (the 6MB built-in card is too slow).

Sadly there never was a VLC for Mac OS 9.x

- To quote a VLC "ReadMe.rtf" FAQ sheet:

6. Where can I find an older version for Mac OS 9 ?
There is no version for Mac OS 9. VLC is originally a UNIX application and has never been ported to Mac OS 9. Considering the amount of differences between Mac OS 9 and modern systems, it would require a tremendous effort to port VLC. We do not plan to do it, because we prefer to focus on creating a very good Mac OS X application. So please don't ask.

Consider dual booting the beige G3 with Mac OS X 10.3 or 10.4 (with the aid of XPostFacto) to get early versions of VLC or MPlayer for OS X

Dimitris1980's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 21

Thank you for the reply. I will try it Smile

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

Wasn't there a video card with optional plug-in/add-on DVD decoder.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-DVD-Decoder-Daughter-Card-661-2109-PowerM...
You really can't play DVDs without a hardware decoder.
Either this card or this one.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATI-RAGE-128-GL-PCI-VGA-VIDEO-GRAPHICS-CARD-16M...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Macintosh-PCI-Video-Graphics-Card-MACH64-...

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

You may be right about the DVD decoder plug-in board.

On my beige G3 I had a 16MB Rage 128 board (pulled from a B/W G3) that had that decoder on it. I still needed the patched DVD Player tho' and I seem to recall it not using the DVD decoder for play back, but I'm not 100% sure, my memory is hazy on this.

Those ebay prices - ouch. Such components are becoming rare.

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

I do know that on the G3 Wallstreet and the early Lombards, which did not have onboard DVD decoders, you could only play DVDs in MacOS 8.6 and 9 (using the card slot DVD decoder). You could not use the OSX DVD player.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Ah, my memory wasn't so bad.

The DVD Player patch circumvents the need for the DVD decoder.
I dug up the original Readme doc that came with that patch. To quote:

What does the patch do?

This patch modifies the DVD Player 2.7 application file to allow use of any DVD drive on any G3 or G4 upgraded OldWorld mac. Apple currently limits their DVD Player application to function only with DVD drives that came directly from Apple and are installed on a Beige G3 or higher. This patch circumvents the hardware check and allows the application to run.

Requirements:
1. IDE or SCSI DVD-ROM drive
2. SCSI DVD drives require Intech's CD/DVD Speed Tools drivers
3. ATI Rage 128 Pro* or higher video card
4. At least a G3 400mhz upgrade card for usable performance

* This hack does not enable the hardware decoder card found on some Rage 128 Pro Apple OEM cards. This decoder requires the PCI card to be in a 66mhz PCI slot, which no OldWorld macs have.

Which explains why I thought that the patched player didn't use the hardware decoder card on the Rage 128 card I had - it couldn't use it if it wanted to...

My beige G3 was a 300MHz model and DVD playback was acceptable in most cases with this patched Player. So Dimitris's 333MHz model should be OK - once he gets a video card installed. I think an issue for me was letterboxing, or the lack of it... it's been a while...

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

Thanks for the info. I have four beige G3 desktops and a couple of the Rage cards. I was going to grab a decoder card, but obviously that wouldn't be of any benefit to me. I stay away from the B&Ws. Love the G4 Quicksilvers though.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

4 beige G3 desktop's. I've known from your posts in here that you have owned lots of nice Macs and are a huge enthusiast of them. I've owned a few but haven't managed to keep hold of most of them and now have regrets on losing some of those I'd let go. What is your aversion to B&W's? I have not ever possessed one but would have liked to have - mainly for the look and color of the case. I've had Quicksilvers tho' and also love that line of Mac - still have a couple (I'm using one right now).

Duality's picture
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Joined: 2014 Mar 1

The tricky part of owning a B&W is that the rev 1s have some interesting issues that make usage of large hard drives or Mac OS X difficult.

Rev 2s resolve the problems, to the point where they're essentially a G3 Yikes! and you don't have to think much about them. They're hard to spot unless you have a good look at the logic board. Or you're buying a 450 MHz B&W, which never came in rev 1 flavors.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

So if it comes to purchasing one; Avoid the Rev 1's - thanks that's good advice.

Similar to beige G3's - avoid the Rev A models; No master/slave support on IDE

MacTouch's picture
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Joined: 2016 Mar 19

Another option here would be to find a personality card. The expected one is called "Bordeaux" (820-0983-A) & can decode MPEG-2 files with a DVD drive. But, yes, this card is becoming really hard to find. Sad
I remember that the G3 Beige I owned was provided with a DVD drive, but I believe the personality card was not this one & that's why I couldn't use the DVD player...

Dimitris1980's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 21

Probably next week i will have the ATI Radeon Mac Edition 32mb. Will i be able to watch dvds with this card via Mac OS 9 or i have to install Mac OS X? I have installed Mac OS 8.1 and Mac os 9.2.1.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

You should be fine for basic DVD viewing with this card and Mac OS 9.x

The Apple DVD Player is OK but it's Preference Settings for tweaking user configs are rudimentary in comparison to what you get in VLC.

So you may want to consider the option of installing an OS X partition onto a beige G3 to run earlier versions of VLC, or MPlayer OS X, or MPlayer OSX Extended (rev11 on Tiger) if you want to watch additional forms of media and to gain better control over DVD playback settings.

Note too, with "OldWorld Mac's" like beige G3's, Mac OS X must be installed onto the 1st partition of a hard drive to be bootable and that partition can be no greater than 8GB.

You can officially install Mac OS X up to version 10.2.8 on the beige G3. Unofficially, you can install Panther (10.3x) and Tiger (10.4x) using XPostFacto to do it. I previously used version 3.1 (located near the bottom of that XPostFacto page) to install and run Panther OK, on my beige G3.

The earliest Mac OS X versions of VLC are still available from the official VLC downloads page.

Dimitris1980's picture
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Joined: 2009 Apr 21

The ATI Radeon just delivered to my home. I installed it and with the Apple DVD Player Patched i can watch dvd movies perfectly in Mac OS 9.2. My daughters will be very happy. Thank you all for your help.

MikeTomTom's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 7

Excellent news. Thanks for letting us know.