As you mention, Popcorn would be the easiest solution for this (as it is very simple to use and is made by Roxio, a very reputable company with good customer support), but it costs a bit of money and would only be economical if you plan to copy more than a few non-copyrighted DVDs here and there.
The reason all the steps you are taking aren't working is that DVDs are burned in a special disk format, the 'ISO 9660' format, which is used by set-top DVD players, computers and other DVD drives for DVD Video. Computers are very versatile in the formats they can read, so you can simply have a valid 'VIDEO_TS' folder on your drive, and your computer will recognize it as a DVD video folder. However, standalone DVD players don't recognize DVDs in any format other than the universal Video DVD format.
To copy your friend's DVD, there are two methods, one of which will definitely work:
Try to use Disk Utility (in your Applications>Utilities folder), or Disk Copy (if you have Mac OS 10.2 or earlier) to make a disk image of the original DVD, then burn that disk image to a new DVD. To do this, open Disk Utility, then click on the DVD you want to copy (make sure it's inserted into your computer), and choose "Create new image from _____" (fill in your DVD's name in the blank) from the Image menu (OS 10.3.x) or the File menu (OS 10.4.x). Choose "CD/DVD Master" for the image type or size, then, after the image is finished being created, burn the image to a new DVD. Fore more help, see Disk Utility's help (in the Help menu).
Use DVD Imager to either (a) create a disk image of your DVD, or (b) make the VIDEO_TS folder on your hard drive burn onto a properly formatted Video DVD image, burnable using Disk Utility. See the program's help for more information. (DVD Imager can be found here.)
Some other applications can be helpful when backing up or 'time-shifting' DVDs (for watching on plane flights, long trips, etc.):
Forty-Two (DVD Ripper)
As a final note (and I'm sure you've heard this before...), you should not use any of these programs for illegal purposes, such as illegally copying DVDs or ripping off other people's work.
Last update: 03:59 PM Friday, June 30, 2006