What Video Formats Can DVD Players Play?

Author: Michelle
Publish date
Jan 25, 2024
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What Format Plays on DVD Players?
Ensure Smooth Video Playback on Your DVD Player

When burning a DVD, what format should I use?

Understanding the best DVD video formats will help you choose the right format to burn your DVD so it can be easily played on standalone DVD players, TVs, game consoles, and more. Let’s explore more details below.

What Format Plays on DVD Players?

1. MPEG-2

If you have ever played a DVD in VLC, you may have noticed that the DVD video format is MPEG-1/2 video.

MPEG-2, also known as H.222 or H.262, is the standard DVD format that will play on all DVD players. It is typically packaged in the .VOB container format (a subset of the MPEG program stream standard) and stored in the root of the VIDEO_TS folder.

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2. MPEG-1

Most DVD players can also read MPEG-1, the standard video format for VCDs.

Compared to MPEG-2, MPEG-1 uses a lower bitrate to record video and therefore has lower quality. Additionally, the MPEG-1 format does not support interlaced video, while MPEG-2 supports both interlaced and progressive content and can handle different frame rates.

3. DivX/Xvid

A DVD player can also play DivX format files if it is certified by the DivX company. Normally, you’ll see the DIVX logo on the front of your device. Note, however, that while such DVD players support DivX, they can only read DivX files stored in the AVI container format with resolutions lower than 864 x 640.

In addition, DivX-compatible DVD players can also play Xvid, a video format that is very similar to DivX.

4. MPEG-4

Modern DVD players (especially Blu-ray players) come with MPEG-4 format capabilities and can easily play MPEG-4 videos. This is a newer, more efficient format than the above and can store several hours of HD 720p and FHD 1080p content on a physical disc the same size as a regular DVD.

5. Other Formats

Besides video formats, DVD players also have strict requirements for audio formats. The most common audio format for DVD players is AC3 (aka A52). It has a 48 kHz sample rate, 1 to 5.1 (6) channels, and up to 448 kbit/s.

PCM, MPEG-1 Audio Layer II (MP2), and DTS are three other formats that most DVD players can play. But keep in mind that older DVD devices may not be able to play DTS audio, as support for this format was added later.

Ensure Smooth Video Playback on Your DVD Player

In fact, to burn a DVD that can be played on a DVD player, it is not enough to know the video formats supported by the DVD player. You'll also want to pay attention to the resolutions, frame rates, and bitrates your DVD player supports.

Depending on the analog system used in your region (PAL or NTSC), you will also need to meet the following requirements:





720 x 576

720 x 480

Frame rate


29.97 fps


MPEG-2: up to 9.8 Mbit/s (9,800 kbit/s)
MPEG-1: up to 1.856 Mbit/s (1,856 kbit/s)

Tip: You may also want to consider the disc type to make sure the DVD is compatible with your DVD drive.

Also read: Free DVD Burning Software


DVD players don't always play the disc you insert. One reason is that the DVD file format is not supported, especially if you are making a homemade DVD.

After reading this article, I believe you should now know what formats your DVD player can read. You can also use the tips mentioned in this article to ensure that the burned DVD plays on your DVD player. That’s all I want to share in this post, hope it’s useful to you. Thanks for reading. Have a nice day!


1. How many DVD formats are available?

With the update of technology, DVD players can play a variety of formats. These include MPEG-2, MPEG-1, DivX, Xvid, and MPEG-4.

2. What is the best video format for DVD players?

In terms of compatibility, MPEG-2 is the best video format for DVD players.

3. What video format to burn DVDs?

MPEG-2 is the most compatible DVD format that any DVD player will read. Therefore, it is recommended that you burn MPEG-2 videos to DVD.

4. What codec does a DVD player use?

The codecs used by DVD players vary by model. Generally speaking, all DVD players use the MPEG-2 and MPEG-1 video codecs as well as the AC-3, MP2, and PCM audio codecs. Newer DVD players also use DivX, Xvid, MPEG-4 codecs and support DTS audio.

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