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How do I get this downloaded .avi file to play on my DVD player?


When I download a movie, I was told to download the file with the AVI at the
end. But after I downloaded it and I burn it, my DVD player can never play it.
Am I downloading the wrong file or what? It plays perfectly on my computer.

In this excerpt from
Answercast #87
, I look at how DVD players play movies as opposed to the way
computers play movies. You’ll need to create a DVD in the right format to have
it play.


Play .avi file in a DVD player

I hear this kind of question a lot. The bottom line is that it’s your DVD player, not your computer.

A DVD player can’t play arbitrary file types – it can’t play AVI files. I’m not sure where you got the information to download the AVI but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Writing to a DVD

For a DVD player, a dedicated stand-alone device, what you typically need is to write your DVDs to a very specific DVD format – not simply copying a file to the drive. It actually involves (usually) converting the file to the different format and laying it out in the specific way that DVD players have standardized on.

So, what you end up needing is DVD creation or “DVD mastering” software – software that will allow you to then import your AVI file and turn it into the files and format that are required by DVD players.

But the very fundamental point that I want to get across here is simply that your DVD player is not a computer – not in the sense that you can just burn a file to a DVD and expect your player to be able to play it.

There’s definitely extra steps and extra software required to make that transition.

DVD mastering software

The good news is that a lot of the pre-installed software that comes with many machines that have DVD players actually includes the DVD authoring software that you might want to use. You might want to look around and see what software is already installed on your machine. Look for things like “DVD authoring”, “DVD mastering”, “DVD creation” as the terms – and see if in fact you don’t already have the software you need.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

End of Answercast #87 Back to – Audio Segment

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9 comments on “How do I get this downloaded .avi file to play on my DVD player?”

  1. Just for future information – As more people create more types of files, some of the equipment that used to be dedicated to one format (DVD, CD, BlueRay, etc) start coming out with additional formats that they have been taught (by their programmer) to read.
    It is worth looking at the specs when buying a new item to see if it is an older “dumb” product or a newer one with more capabilities.

  2. Many modern DVD players will play .AVI files directly from a DVD-ROM. Look for a DivX logo on the front panel. Mine’s over 8 years old, and can play .AVIs!

  3. Find a app to convert video formats to suit you player. There’s plenty out there for free that will convert almost anything to almost anything else. Go to Major Geeks and look.

  4. I have created many DVD discs from AVI. I use Movie Maker, part of Windows Essentials programs. The 2012 version will use AVI as input then output to DVD publish then when completed then you are offer to burn the movie to DVD in standard DVD format including sound.

  5. Watch out for DVDStyler. Make sure you opt out of installing Babylon toolbar. (google it). Make sure you use the custom install option.

  6. As Daniel says, many DVD players can play AVI. BUT, it must be in the proper format.
    Just changing the extension (“the AVI at the end”) won’t do. You also need it to be in the codec that your DVD can read.
    If I can’t play an avi, or any video, I just use Free Video Converter, with the options: format: AVI, codec: DivX. And that works for my LG DVD.

  7. What is very interesting is the fact that expensive big-name DVD players for long time could play only proper DVD format That classic DVD R9 or R5 which are DVDs we are used from video rentals and stores – single or double layer, hence, 4,3 GB or 8,5 GB) are trans-coded to sort of MPEG2 format, but with different, *. VOB extension… And those DVDs, as mentioned by Leo, have their STRUCTURE, and only as such can they be read by DVD-Players…. That means that if you get into tree of any DVD-film in your collection, you’ll find out that they first have 2 root folders – VIDEO_ts and AUDIO_ts… And then, they have numerous files and structures, except those VOB files, you’ll find IFO files and half dozen more… That structure is where all the menus with buttons for scenes and subtitles and extras are positioned, all those menus have music ans different pictures or moving pictures for that matter…. Everyone who has ever tried to produce a DVD with ADOBE ENCORE, for example, knows how much programing there is to be done… For each little scene you have to program when it’s gonna start, stop, what it’s gonna do when it comes to it’s end – stop the thing or move next scene etc, etc, etc…. Serious business….

    Fortunately, there are programs mentioned above (earlier it was done with TMPGenc and few more) – so basically what you have to do is two steps:
    1. Re-encode that . AVI file to MPEG2 (in many apps there are different presets for “plain” MPEG2 and DVD-MPEG2 – in which case, choose latter. (Nowadays we have BluRay DVDs as well , which are of course now in different formats again, H.264 based MKV, MTS format, I won’t go there…)
    2. Find one of those apps guys have proposed to make your DVD structure out of it and burn it to DVD….

    I haven’t done it in a long time, but I am sure that there are
    Programs which do both steps – you import AVI on one side and get 4.3 GB DVD files “ready to burn” on the other, but I never found those “all-in-one” to be reliable..

    AND NOW … That confusion from very beginning of my “novel” – I still wonder why those high quality DVD players for few hundred dollars did play only proper DVD, maybe VCD and sVCD along, and those cheap ones (which were to be found for 30-40$ did play whatever format was on that disk – after very short time already were reading downloaded subs etc… Of course, That kind of machines never lasted long, but for what they did, you could afford 1 piece every year – at the end they were already receiving USB sticks…
    So, why didn’t serious manufacturers implement that kind of laser/decoder in their much more expensive gears???


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