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10/12/01 Friday's News: Story DetailReturn to News Page

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DVDs Playing on my B&W G3
with OS X 10.1 Player Mod! - Here's How:

Published: 10/12/2001
(Updated 10/25 for Beige G3 ID info)
(Updated 11/29 for Apple DVD 3.01 update notes)

Apple Updates OS X DVD Player to Support B&W G3 and G4/PCI Macs: Apple has a DVD 3.01 Player update available (vis OS X Software Updates) that adds support for B&W G3s and G4/PCI (Yikes) systems without needing the mods noted here. (Beige G3s I assume will still need the mod. based on reports from readers so far.) If you don't want to use Software Updates in OS X, see the apple page on Apple DVD Player 3.0.1 for a download link.

Mods to Add Beige G3 Support: (Still requires a Rage128 or Radeon PCI graphics card)

" System:
Beige G3 300 (last rev.)
OS X 10.1.1
Radeon PCI

So I just downloaded the DVD update, removed .pkg extension and restarted into OS9. I dug into DVDUpdate\contents\resources and removed the InstallCheck file. I then booted into OSX added the .pkg extension back, doubled clicked and installed the DVD Player. After the install I popped in "The Birdcage" and it played flawlessly. So I can now play dvds on my beige G3 with no CLI or hexing.
Joseph Kennelly Ullman"

(original Oct. 25th, 2001 article comments follow)

I can now say that the mod noted earlier today does work, Original Posting w/Mod Info. (Please don't ask me to send or post the DVD player application. I can't do that for legal reasons.) I've added a section below with a listing of other Mac models that were reported to work. (Thanks to Andrew Weiss for player ID modification tip - see his comments in the "Original Posting w/Mod Info" below.)

I have a B&W G3 with a PCI Radeon card and the original DVD-ROM drive. As I'm typing this a DVD movie is playing on it with OS X 10.1's DVD Player. Here's how I did it using an already unpacked copy of the player from a G4/AGP system.

I could find the Essentials.pax.pkg, but not a "Essentials.pkg.gz" file that was noted in a reader post below. Since I own several Macs that are "supported" by the 10.1 DVD player, I made a copy of the DVD player from a G4/AGP system here.

  1. Running OS 9, I made a duplicate of the DVD Player.app - which makes it appear as a folder vs a file in OS 9. (Hexedit can't open the player.app "file").

  2. Using Hexedit I opened the "DVD Player" file that's in the Contents/MacOS folder. I searched for the string "PowerMac2" to find the listing of "PowerMac2.1,.."

  3. I changed the "2" in "PowerMac2.1" to "1" (i.e. now reading "PowerMac1.1") and saved the file.
    [Note: A G4/PCI Yikes owner noted his ID was "PowerMac1,2"
    For Beige G3 info - see this update.]

  4. I then renamed the "DVD Player.app copy" folder to "DVD Player.app" and it "changes" back to a single file icon. I copied that file to the B&W G3's OS X 10.1 Applications folder

Of course I then launched the DVD Player and inserted a DVD movie to verify it worked. So far so good - it played an entire movie with no errors. I have not tested with the original Rage128 card, but several B&W G3 owners with the OEM Rage128 noted this tip worked. This B&W G3 has an OWC G4/500 installed right now for review tests, but the CPU type should not matter with the changes above. (B&W G3 owners with the original G3 CPU reported it worked also.) There were some that were not able to get the mod to work, but most did.

CPU load with the OWC G4/500 and PCI Radeon card installed typically was about 50% (bar graph), with frequent spikes as high as 80% or so. (Generally around 50% however.) With a G3 CPU and Rage128 card the load has been reported as much higher however (70-80%).

Feedback on the Mod:

    Working Systems:
  • Most B&W G3 owners that wrote noted it worked. Two said they had problems but I suspect this was due to an incorrectly done mod.
  • G4/PCI Yikes system w/PCI (with OEM Rage128 or Radeon)
  • Beige G3 (worked with Rage128 and Radeon cards - no onboard video reports yet) If running dual monitors (onboard video + PCI Rage128 or Radeon), the Rage128/Radeon graphics card's monitor must be the primary display (have the menu bar) for the player to work according to reports.

    Not Working:
  • Two Lombard owners (G3/333 w/VST DVD drive and G3/400 model w/original DVD drive)
  • PB G3 Wallstreet (The Wallstreet and Lombard's RageLT/RageProLT graphics chip may be a factor)

If any readers try the mod let me know if it works and your system/graphics card/DVD ROM info.

Comments on Pre-Rage128 Graphics Chip Support: Tim Seufert wrote:

    " Mike -- I'd like to add that with the Rage 128 I saw some graphic glitches in the menus of the DVD I tried (Dogma). The actual video seemed to play fine, though the scaling does not look as nice as the Radeon in my G4. No extensive tests yet, just played a couple minutes of the movie.

    It's also worth noting that CPU load was very high. I ran "top -d" in a Terminal window (the -d keeps top from reporting most of the memory statistics, which reduces top's own CPU use from 10% or more to under 1%). The DVD player frequently uses 80-90% of the CPU on my 450 MHz B&W. I expect that anybody with a CPU slower than 400 MHz will frequently have dropped frames and/or other problems.

    I did some poking and as a result of what I found I don't expect the DVD player to work with Rage Pro. If you look in
    /System/Library/Extensions, you'll find the following:


    Each of these is likely a DVD decode driver, relying on the named hardware (Radeon, R128, or AltiVec) for part or all of the DVD decode process. Since there is no ATIRageProDVDDriver.bundle, and the computers in question have a G3 not a G4, there won't be any resources available to the DVD player app capable of decoding the DVD data stream, even if it can launch.

    (One side implication of the above is that right now Apple may be using AltiVec to allow pure software decode on G4s equipped with the GF2/GF3. They'd probably still do YUV->RGB and scaling on the card of course. It would be interesting to see what the CPU load of DVD playback is with the different cards. I think I may have a GF2MX around here somewhere I could dig up and put in to find out.)
    --Tim Seufert "

Beige G3 ID Info: A reader in the forums noted what the ID mods are for the Beige G3 (still requires a Rage128 or Radeon PCI Card - the onboard RageII/RagePro chip isn't supported for DVD)

    {what was the ID/change that worked for the Beige G3?]

    "replacing .powermac2,1.powermac2,2.

    Where the . between AAPL and Gossimer represents hex value 2E (a typed period) and all other dots (.) represent hex 00, Should work fine.
    (forum username) "

Detailed Steps on Extracting the Player from the Essentials Pkg File: (If you don't have access to an already extracted Player)

" The file that is most important is a 200MB .gz file

    cp /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\

    cd ~/Desktop/
    gunzip Essentials.pax.gz
    (extracts 411.8 MB Essentials.pax)

(to get a listing of all files in that pax file type pax -v -f Essentials.pax, it is freakin huge, so don't think that the buffer in terminal will hold it all.)

To get the DVD Player application I typed this command:

    pax -r -s /./Applications*/ -f Essentials.pax

(once it started it created the folders, once I saw it copy DVD Player.app I went to the terminal and typed cmd-c to stop the process, but you could just let it go and copy the DVD Player.app from the folder it resides in (/Applications/Applications/) to the desktop, I think it was like that because of the command, but I suck with patterning in unix, so oh well, anyway that is how I got the file)

Once I got the file I typed

    mkdir DVD_Player_Temp
    (makes a temporary folder)
    cp -r DVD\ Player.app /DVD_Player_Temp/
    (copies all files from DVD Player.app)

Then it was just a folder so I used HexEdit to modify:

    /DVD_Player_Temp/Contents/MacOS/DVD\ Player

That is the main file.

Search for PowerMac2 and change PowerMac2,1 to PowerMac1,1 or whatever the hell the thing is for your machine (tried to find docs on this to no avail) I then saved the file.

*ah ha Kicker!!!

    chmod 777 /DVD_Player_Temp/Contents/MacOS/DVD\ Player

(HexEdit changes the file's permissions so you will need to restore that)

In the Finder rename DVD_Player_Temp to DVD Player.app
It will instantly change into an application, then put it wherever (/Applications/)
It will then work. I have a G3 350 b&w and it works flawlessly...
Robert Linnemann"

Another reader sent a tip on extracting it from the CD without copying the file to your hard drive first.

" you don't have to copy the pax file to your HD, you can leave it right on the CD by doing this command instead:

    gunzip -c /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\
    CD/System/Installation/Packages/Essentials.pkg/Contents/Resources/Essentials.pax.gz | pax -r ./Applications/DVD\ Player.app

[The "CD/System.... Player.app" is all one line, but wraps on a web page]
copy/paste it to the console!

A little note: This will create a new folder named Applications wherever you happen to be in the terminal when you do this. So if you want it to appear on your Desktop, do this before the above command:

    cd ~/Desktop

Original Posting w/Mod Info: Here's the original post where the info on the mod came from. (Direct quote from 10/12 news page)

As noted by Apple and articles here, the OS X 10.1 DVD player will not install (or run) on a Mac with the hardware DVD decoder options (B&W G3, Lombard G3/400, Yikes G4/PCI). A reader post in the forums linked to this tip on a hack that one user said worked to enable DVD on a B&W G3. (The same info was posted in a thread at Apple's forums.)

" Get your DVD player by copying Essentials.pkg.gz [See above for a reader's detailed info on this process-Mike] to your disk, gunzip, and read the man page for the pax command line to get the DVD Player.app directory and contents extracted.

Grab a Hex editor from version-tracker. [i.e Hexedit-Mike]

Boot your mac into open firmware using Command option o f.
[Command+Option+O+F keys held down at boot. -Mike]

Read your id. PowermacX,X X.Xx blah
The important part is PowermacX,X (i.e. B&W G3 Powermac1,1)
Search for the string in the DVD Player application. Then change anything after Powermac2,1 I believe to your ID string and save the application... be sure to make the application executable by all. [check file (permissions) info-Mike]
NOTE: Compatible machine list is checked first and if a match is made, it doesn't matter if the machine is listed twice.
Hopefully this will work for everyone.
Andrew Weiss

one of the replies on the above tip noted:

"Works for me.
I have a B&W G3.

I had to copy /Applications/DVD Player.app/MacOS/DVD Player to my home directory in order for Hex Edit to be willing to open it (don't know why HexEdit won't actually go down into any Apps it seems)...
[may be a file permissions issue-Mike]
I replaced the Powermac 2,2 with 1,1, and while I'm not in front of the machine to put a DVD player in (I did this remotely over a VNC connection), I can verify the DVD player now launches.

(See my tips above for an easier way if you have access to the DVD Player.app file.)

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