You can install direct from the DVD, it's how I test the distros on the DVD in the first place.
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qemu hd.img -cdrom /dev/dvd -any-other-options
Or you can use the dvd2usb script to generate a hybrid ISO image and pass that file to qemu as the image file.
Recent DVDs contain a MakeISO script in most of the distro's directories, which creates an ISO of just that distro, but this is unnecessary for use with an emulator.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)