HAL is not missing, it was left out because it's evil
. Especially on older computers the continuous polling of the hardware would cause serious slowdown. There should be a package of it somewhere in the repo's though, because it's needed for newer versions of xfce and for gnome too. I don't have a clue how to set it up, I try to stay away from unnecessary deamons to get better multimedia performance.
As for the dvd thing, can't really help you out there as I have no working dvd drive atm (hardware issues).