How To Play AVI Files with Subtitles On The PlayStation 3

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If you ever tried, you’ll know it’s not too easy to watch a subtitled movie on your PlayStation 3. For starters, the PlayStation fails to recognize most video files with embedded subtitle streams.

Installing a subtitle ‘interpreter’, like we’re able to on a regular computer, holds no avail either. Drop an AVI and SRT subtitle file together on your console, and it’ll merrily ignore the latter.

People have succeeded in streaming movies with subtitles to their PlayStation 3 using ‘DLNA’, but even that isn’t foolproof and admittedly, requires far too much work and preparation. For a long time, hardcoding seemed the only viable option, albeit incredibly time-consuming. Little do most people know there’s a far easier solution to play AVI files on Playstation 3.

Since a few updates past, the PlayStation 3 supports *.DivX files, which are in fact AVIs with multiple subtitle stream. With a regular AVI and subtitle file, here’s how to make a DivX file in a flash. This tutorial will work on Windows, Mac OS X (Intel) and Linux.

Step One :: Find SRT Subtitles

There are a number of different subtitle formats, most of them simple text documents with embedded time-codes. The most popular one of them is SRT. Before we can cook up a subtitled DivX file, we’ll need said subtitles.

Although this tutorial also works with an idx/SUB pair, we won’t overcomplicate things and advise you to use an SRT file when available.

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play AVI files on Playstation 3

Luckily, it’s not too hard to find subtitles for a popular video – even in foreign languages. Take a look at one of our previous articles for more information, The 3 Best Subtitle Sources For Your Movies & TV Series.

Step Two :: Install Wine (Linux and Mac OS X)

(If you’re using a Windows computer, skip this step)

We assured the support of Linux and Mac OS X at the start of this article. Although the core application, AVIAddXSubs, is essentially a Windows application, it works very well with ‘Wine’.

Wine is a free computer program for Linux and Intel Macs that emulates a local Windows environment, and can run a large number of Windows applications – all without needing to install another operating system. Read more about the application in Varun Kashyap’s article, Run Windows Applications on Linux (or Mac) with WINE.

play AVI files on Playstation 3

Linux users can use the ‘official’ Wine environment, Mac OS X (Intel) users are advised to download and install the WineBottler package. Once installed, you can use it to open EXE and other Windows-native files. If you have trouble with ‘corrupt’ subtitles, later in the tutorial, you might want to reinstall the application and also install the font packs that come with it.

Step Three :: Install AVIAddXSubs

With only 856KB, AVIAddXSubs is hardly a big application to download, but it’s a key component of this tutorial. Install it now. The application is native to Windows, but should just as well with Wine if you’re using Linux or Mac OS X (see step 2).

Step Four :: Mix Video and Subtitles to Divx

Because DivX files use the same video compression techniques as AVI files, mixing in the subtitles happens in a flash. Most work, like installing those applications, needs to be done only once. From now on, the process will hardly take over a minute of your time.

play AVI files on Playstation 3

Open AVIAddXSubs and select both video and subtitles. Select or type the path to your AVI and SRT files. The video and subtitle paths need to be separated by a straight slash ( | ) – you might need to do this manually. For example, refer to the screenshot above. If you want, you can select up to eight different subtitle streams this way.

Hitting Start will commence file processing, which shouldn’t take long. The resulting DivX file has embedded subtitle streams and can be played on your PlayStation 3. To enable subtitles, simply press triangle during playback and toggle subtitle options like you would if you were watching a regular DVD.

Do you have any other subtitle- or PlayStation-related tips up your sleeve? Tell us what’s on your mind in the comments section below!

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