Wii gets third-party DVD playback


A mysterious gap in the Wii's feature list over the last couple years has been the lack of DVD playback. There's no technical reason it can't do it: it just doesn't. Not a big deal when a host of DVD-reading devices crowd in the nethers of the entertainment center: it's just a bit conspicuous of a corporate decision.

If you happen to have been waiting for DVD playback functionality on the Wii, the omission has now been rectified by plucky hackers.They have come up with a way to read and play DVDs on unhacked systems. Their DVDX installer injects a small hidden channel onto your Wii that will allow you to play DVDs back with MPlayer, a GPL media player.

Neat. In truth, of all the consoles, I'd probably prefer to play DVDs on my Wii: the Wiimote is a far more remote-like controller for movie playback than a clunky 360 controller.

libdi and the DVDX installer [Hackmii via Engadget]

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16 Responses to Wii gets third-party DVD playback

  1. Bugs says:

    I had heard that the Wii’s drive isn’t designed to play DVD videos and would burn out or something. However, one of the developers says:

    “The myth of you being able to ‘burn out’ a DVD laser is pretty much what it says on the tin, a myth. This drive was designed specifically for two things. reading Wii games, and reading DVD-Videos. There are special commands in the drive for doing so. (We use these commands to read these discs without a modchip). So, these drives were designed with reading DVD-Videos in mind. (And even if they wern’t, you’re running the entire drive in spec. I’ve been told these myths came about when people were pot-tuning their PS2s, running them out of spec. Running any piece of hardware beyond the limits that were set for it will break it in the long run)”
    (from miimod.com)

    That said, many people in the comments complain of slow load times, choppy playback and no menus. It’s awesome news (I’m the mythical Wii owner who doesn’t also have a dedicated DVD player) but still early days.

  2. kungfo says:

    and since the Wii does 480p, and thats what dvds are encoded in, it’s actually a perfect match (if u dont like or want upscaling)

  3. SamF says:

    I thought the reason the Wii didn’t play DVDs was so they didn’t have to pay the decoding license?

  4. sheshe says:

    yeah. it’s because if they added dvd capabilities the cost would go up too much. they don’t need it. it sells incredibly well without dvd!

  5. Agies says:

    @3 You are absolutely correct.

  6. mappo says:

    Non-upconverting DVD playback? Might as well throw in VHS playback while they’re at it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Seeing as my 2nd Gen PS2 has awful EMI problems, to the point of me having to fiddle with the two ferrites hanging off the back in order to get the noise down to a mostly non-audible level when I play DVDs – I would LOVE to be able to get my Wii to play movies. At the very least I’ll be looking into this.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “the Wiimote is a far more remote-like controller for movie playback than a clunky 360 controller”

    The 360’s Media Center remote’s better than the Wii’s. If you’ve got both a 360 and a Wii, it’s pretty pointless to hack your Wii just for the remote.

  9. hemidemisemiquaver says:


    A standard DVD is interlaced at 720×480 (NTSC) or 720×576 (PAL).

    So just like any other progressive scan DVD player, the Wii has to deinterlace the source video.

  10. jplkeekif says:


    VHS playback on the Wii would be awesome! I use my modded XBox for all my DVD playback (hooray for upconverting!) so 480p on the Wii doesn’t sound all that great, but VHS playback, well wow…

  11. BBNinja says:

    How about a hidden emulator channel where I don’t have to pay 5 bucks a pop for only a small selection or original NES games?

  12. BrainDance says:


    The very same homebrew community has also ported over quite a few decent emulators.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn’t worry about up converting anyway unless you are running HDMI, and even then it doesn’t really make the picture any better. It just allows different ratios of picture to occur. Its like up converting 30mill film to imax. When you up convert yes you get the huge screen but you still only have 8,000 or less lines of resolution , but if it is completely shot in imax then you can get your full 20,000 lines of resolution. So if you really want better picture buy Blue ray.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Dear MAPPO,

    Learn how DVD works and what it means before commenting; you run the risk of looking like a toolbox. (Hint: you look like a toolbox.)

  15. Anonymous says:

    “The 360’s Media Center remote’s better than the Wii’s. If you’ve got both a 360 and a Wii, it’s pretty pointless to hack your Wii just for the remote.”

    You got that right! I just bought a 360 and a Wii this week and would never hack up my Wii when just the factory 360 controller works perfect. It’s definitely not “clunky” in any way. It fits your hand perfect.

  16. jefflin says:

    Great, i also read another similar articles which give two methods to play dvd on wii with step-by-step guides. If you are interested wtih it, you can view it below:

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