How to watch DVDs on your Wii

Speculation on fan blogs about an upgrade to play DVDs on the Wii Console has been persistent for as long as I’ve been reading them, but it seems doubtful Nintendo will ever add this ability.

What are we to do? If you can’t get official support for something that the hardware can probably do, why not code it yourself? The Wii is a closed platform, but that hasn’t stopped enterprising developers taking a peek under the covers. That’s exactly what Erant did with his libdl and DVDX installer!

He created a dvd access library for the Wii Console, added the Mplayer media player and hey presto! DVD playback on the Wii. Mplayer also plays practically any video format under the sun so it’s even better than a DVD player.

Our DVD player is stuck in a cupboard under the television where the baby can’t get it (and requires untying of handles for an adult to get to) while the Wii is on a shelf in easy reach. I think this may be the project that gets me to try out Wii Homebrew using the new Twilight hack.

Once you’ve done that, you can enjoy the splendor of mplayer. That what started out as a simple proof of concept has rapidly turned into a full-featured media player, under the nourishing hands of dhewg. The main aim of the mplayer project was to get DVDVideo going, but it also supports reading video files off the SD card. (Experimental).

Nintendo Wii fanboy has a simple guide to getting everything running, from installing the Homebrew channel to running Mplayer. Nice.

Mplayer playing DVD on Wii Console

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25 thoughts on “How to watch DVDs on your Wii


  1. Not being able to play DVDs was one of the biggest pains of having a Wii.. (That sounds bad!)

    I’m going try to get it running on my one in a short while.


  2. Dan – I have no idea. It seems like an oversight, but then again most people already have a DVD player.

    Robert – you’ll have to get the Zelda game, “Twilight Princess”. My brother Donal has it so I must get a lend of it at some stage!

    Donnacha – LOL, I haven’t played the Wii in weeks! I don’t have any spare time either, and when I do I’m usually too tired to concentrate on playing a game.

    Has anyone else noticed the huge number of utterly crap Wii titles out there? “Shovelware” is the term I think.


  3. Robert – great to hear that! Have you tried any taxing media like MP4 or Quicktime videos? I’d like to hear how the (relatively slow) cpu in the Wii handles those.

    The resolution is nice and low compared to a computer monitor so that should work in it’s advantage.


  4. Donncha – I haven’t tried anything too taxing yet. I just stuck in a DVD and it worked. Believe it or not it was the first time in over a year that I powered up my Wii!

    I was lucky that I had a copy of Zelda. I bought it and tried it once and that was it. The controld drove me nuts! I’ll try some other video formats later.


  5. Nintendo did not add DVD playback support into the Wii because they did not want to pay the associated DVD licensing fees for each unit shipped. It’s not free for the manufacturers to put in DVD playback. It was definitely not an oversight.

    This is why the first xbox required that you purchase the remote control to play dvds. That way Microsoft didn’t have to pay the DVD fee on base units sold, but only when the remote was purchased.


    1. incorrect, the licensing fee only applies to devices that come with dvd playback as standard, when its as an accesory it negates the license fee, some weird loophole


  6. “Oh, I thought you could just stick in a DVD and it would work, am I wrong?”

    Just tried playing “88mins” in my Wii a couple hours ago, nope, sadly it doesn’t work.


  7. How you can slate the wii for not playing DVD’s when it was never intended to is beyond me. It’s a bit like converting your washing machine into a dishwasher and complaining when it breaks plates.


    1. Rubbish! when all consoles some phones and even some fridges these days play DVD’s as a minimum and many other video formats it is a very reasonable expectation. Multifunction is a positive sales strategy.


  8. @ wii: Apparently your brain works in mysterious ways because when a wii is built with a DVD DRIVE built in then they had to do something to turn it off. “Never intended to” is a complete farce.


  9. i know somebody that watches dvds on their wii without downloading anything and he plays them on the disk channe;. how does that work?


  10. @not wii: Apparently you have no clue about DVD playback. It takes way more than a DVD drive. With your argument you could state that the Wii has a CPU and therefore must run Windows OS, so they had to do something that the Wii does not run e.g. Windows Vista.
    You are so stupid little boy :)


    1. You seem like a jerk and uncaring to others……telling someone they are a stupid little boy…..You must never have been a child yourself. Bet your a sad little lonely person/geek (you don;t get the privelage to be called a man or woman) Get a life Einstein, what goes around comes around!


    1. Simple and easy.You don’t have to be a rocket scientist,all you have to get is a USB Flash Drive.Most flash drives are in FAT32 Format and FAT32 does not recognize any file that is over 4 Gig’s so you have to convert your flash drive to NTFS.Then you install the DVD on your flash drive insert it into the USB Port on the back of your Wii Console,a menu will pop up when you insert the flash drive follow the instructions and you can play your DVD without having to use any kind of software that will Void your Warranty as if you have to send it away to get it fixed they can tell if you have done anything to it.If you don’t have a flash drive you will have to have a drive that is over 4 gigs.If you don’t have a flash drive then the best way is just use a DVD Player.


  11. Really people… the idea of multifunctional products along with the lack of extra crap stacking up in your entertainment center as wells as not having to buy another dvd player… that is what america is about :) capitalizing :)


  12. Ya i have a dvd,and yet being able to play dvd’s on my wii still,,that would be nice.Im not big into haveing alot of devices to use.My wii is one that is a 4.3 usa. and i was told that you can’t do anything with it,that just suck.Tell me thats not true!!!!


  13. What? so you pay 200 bucks for a Wii and the POS wont even play a flippin DVD what kind of BS is that? My 12yo PS2 plays freakin DVDs. Why should I have to hook up a dvd player and a wii to my tv. FU nintendo! and F me for buying it assuming it would play a DVD. You just kinda expect them to play DVDs as a bonus to having them.


  14. I have finally soft modded my Wii using the Letterbomb technique. The homebrew channel threw me for about half an hour as it didn’t seem to load. All I could see was bubbles floating up the screen. I didn’t know I had to actually download an app and copy it to apps/ for anything to appear.

    Once I put the app browser on there it was easy to download more apps, the first being a media centre app. I haven’t played a DVD on it yet though. My son wanted to play a game on it!

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