What Files Will Play on DVD Players?

by Julius Vandersteen

Early DVD players were designed to do just one thing: play DVDs. Over the years, manufacturers have added technology to allow DVD players to handle other types of files as well, such as pictures, music from CDs, compressed audio from MP3s, and movie files that are compressed to a fraction of the size of the videos on the original DVD. However, not all DVD players are capable of playing other files. Read the information printed on the product packaging or in the user manual to verify what a particular DVD player model can play.

DVD Format Videos

A regular movie DVD is made with a specific type of file structure that the player must be able to read in order to play back the video. The disc contains a video title set folder which is always named "VIDEO_TS," inside of which are the VTS files. There are three types of VTS: VOB, IFO and BUP. VOB files hold the video, audio, menus and subtitles. The IFO files hold navigation instructions and setup options. The BUP are backup files duplicating the IFO files, and are used by the DVD player if a disc is scratched or dirty, preventing the IFO file from being read properly.

Other Videos Formats

Some DVD players are able to play movies compressed using DivX or XviD. These movies may have an extension of .DIVX or .AVI. A 90-minute movie that takes about 4.4 GB to store on a regular movie DVD can be compressed to a 700 MB AVI file, so you can store six AVI movies on a single data DVD. Some .AVI files include a second audio track, which can be an alternate language, or a recording of the director's commentary, and you can hear this track by selecting it with the DVD player's remote. The player might also be able to recognize subtitle files that go with a movie, and are accessible through the remote.


Modern DVD players often can play audio CDs. If you connect your DVD player or TV to an audio system, you can listen to CD music through the DVD player instead of having a separate CD player. Some DVD players can also play MP3 audio files burnt to data CDs or data DVDs. Use the TV's onscreen menu to navigate the audio files.


If you have a lot of digital photos that you'd like to show to friends and family, you might prefer to display them on your TV set in the living room, where people can sit comfortably on couches and chairs, rather than crowding around a computer screen. Some DVD players can display photos saved as JPG files burnt to a data DVD. To advance through the photos for a slide show, press the forward button on the remote control.

About the Author

Julius Vandersteen has been a freelance writer since 1999. His work has appeared in “The Los Angeles Times,” “Wired” and “S.F. Weekly.” Vandersteen has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from San Francisco State University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images