No-one enjoys the force-fed FBI, F.A.C.T. and Copyright propaganda on DVDs. Thankfully, there are ways of skipping them.

The method you need to use depends on your DVD player. If one of the methods below fails for you, try another. If they all fail, try experimenting – and please leave a comment if you discover a new technique yourself.

Background Info (as I understand things)

DVD discs generally contain several files (or ‘titles’, if you prefer) – one file for the menu, one for the FBI warning, separate files for special features and, of course, a file for the film itself. Each file may contain an independent UOP flag – meaning while the file is being played, your DVD player ignores any commands you make (e.g. Fast Forward, Menu, Search; even Stop!)

Normally, when you insert a disc the player finds the disc’s index, reads the file-list and checks which file it should start playing first (and starts playing it). If that file’s got the UOP flag, you’re now stuck… forced to waste your time watching some piss-poor propaganda you’ve seen a hundred times before.

The solution is simple: interrupt the player before it starts playing the first file.

Technique 1

Standard user behaviour for a tray-loading DVD player is: press open; place disc on tray, press close – the player swallows the disc, looks for the index and auto-plays the first file.

But have you ever tried pressing buttons before closing the tray? You should find some buttons cause the tray to close without you having to explicitly close it yourself – and this presents an opportunity. No doubt your DVD remote can be used to skip directly to certain tracks on a CD, or certain titles of a DVD. You may also be able to ‘Search’ to go directly to a specific chapter of a specific title. Here’s the clue: as far as I know, the main feature always starts at Title 1, Chapter 1.

If you’re (really) lucky, simply pressing 1 on the remote will close the tray, look for Title 1, and start playing it (Note: this does not work for me):

  1. Eject Tray
  2. Place Disc on Tray
  3. Press 1

Assuming this doesn’t work, there are several variations to try. Your remote may have a ‘Random’ button, causing the player to pick a random Title and Chapter to being playing at. Barring bad-luck, you should be able to navigate from the randomly chosen chapter to Title 1 Chapter 1 (if you’re inherently prone to bad-luck, your player may have stuck you in the middle of a UOP file… Nice!)

Bonus tip: the Random button may also help you stumble across ‘Hidden’ features on the DVD…

Technique 2

This technique feels really inelegant, but it works consistently for me… I’d hazard a guess that this is the only technique you can try for a slot-loading player too.

  1. Open Tray
  2. Place Disc on Tray
  3. Close Tray
  4. Press Stop repeatedly until the Disc stops spinning
  5. Press 1

That’s pretty much it. With a bit more luck, you may find that you can hold down Stop instead of hammering it repeatedly – but I didn’t have any success with that. Also, you may need to adapt Step 4 to your machine. For me, pressing 1 caused the disc to spin-up and go straight to Title 1 Chapter 1; you may need to Search or navigate there manually.

If you have any luck (or not) with either technique, it would be useful if you left a comment mentioning your DVD player and which technique worked. For what it’s worth, I’m using a Pioneer DV-626D (a rather old machine) and Technique 2 (hammering Stop repeatedly) works for me.

Updated 3rd April 2007: There are some more suggestions on the reddit comments for this article. One suggestion is to create an intro-less DVD using copy/edit/burn on your PC. Sure, that would work; but it would take how long? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? 20 minutes? If the techniques above work it takes about 15 seconds to spin-up, stop, and start playing the film. No DVD copy/edit/burn required.

Other comments said DVD manuals sometimes include instructions on how to skip straight to the film – it’d be worth checking your own manual if you haven’t already. People also pointed out some players that ignore the UOP flag, and allow you to skip ahead anyway. That’s great, if you already own a skip-happy player. My point is: you may be able to go straight to the movie on the DVD player you already own, using a store-bought DVD disc No specific machine required, no copy/edit/burn. Minimum fuss, minimum effort.

Finally, something I forgot to mention. If you hook up your DVD player to a home-cinema amp or receiver, you’re probably used to going through set-up to choose the DTS soundtrack. Don’t bother. Just start the movie, then use the Audio button on your remote to switch from DD to DTS

15 thoughts on “How to skip DVD intros

  1. I use a cheapo “Insignia” model DVD player. The menu button usually whips past all the junk.

    Or, you could use that time to (A) pour whiskey (B) hassle your girlfriend (C) pour whiskey on your hassled girlfriend. Fun for everyone!

  2. That “flag” your talking about is really a series of flags, almost one for every button on the remote. The movie producers could, in theory, do really wierd stuff like prevent rewinding or not allow you to press pause but still let you fast forward and fast forward. And it’s at the chapter level IIRC, not just the whole movie. They could have some chapters that don’t allow fast forwarding and others that do. All kinds of crazy crap in the specs.

  3. A while back, I bought a Go Video DVD/VCR combo at Costco. It has an “Autoplay” feature: when you put in a DVD, it goes directly to the beginning of the movie – no FBI warning, no menu, no previews. It’s great!

  4. I found a software program on the web — http://www.slyfox.com — that purports to ignore all those annoying flags that prevent you from skipping commercials and FBI warnings, etc. (It also lets you make illegal copies, but that’s a different issue.)

    What you could do is buy the software, use the DVD player on your PC, and hook it up to your TV. Then you could skip over the crap without playing games with the remote. Although it might be a hassle if your PC is not in the same room as the family television.

    I haven’t tried it, so I can’t vouch for it, but I thought you ought to know that it exists. Maybe somebody could try it and write us a nice review?

  5. A little more research (and web questions) reveals that there are several other products. One is “ripit4me.org” — another is pgcedit — vobblanker — and probably more.

    The problem being that these are not DVD players, they are tools for creating a copy of the DVD — probably illegal, whether your intent is piracy or not — but you can make the copy and not include the garbage you don’t want. Thus, you don’t need to skip over it.

    I’m still researching, and what I really want is a package that doesn’t make a copy, but ignores those silly “do not skip” instructions on the disk, and lets me skip anyway.

    If anyone is interested, I’ll post any results I discover.

  6. BTW — I tried your techniques — neither one worked.

    As I press any buttons before the tray closes, it tells me to cool my jets, the tray ain’t closed yet. As I press stop repeatedly, it repeatedly goes back to the first unskippable entry on its list and restarts there.

  7. Here in the UK (Region 2), you’ll sometimes get asked to select your language preference *before* the copyright/piracy blurb. But if you just okay the first language that pops up – Estonian or whatever – it just SKIPS PAST the copyright blurb and straight to the main menu. And the feature still plays in English. Very handy!

  8. Unca Alby,

    I guess you meant to link to slysoft, not slyfox? Slysoft produce AnyDVD and now AnyDVD HD which looks really useful for viewing, ripping, and editting DVD, HD DVD and even Blu-Ray discs; I haven’t tried it, but I’ve read good things about it.

    What make/model of DVD player have you got? Someone else know a trick for it…

    Andy,

    I know exactly what you mean. I’ve seen DVD’s with an alphabetized list of countries spanning 3 or 4 screens, with ‘United Kingdom’ right at the end. Of course, ‘Australia’ is on the first page, which is much more convenient for choosing English.

    It hadn’t occurred to me that it’d be beneficial to choose a non-English speaking country though. Nice tip, thanks.

  9. Ash — you are correct — I saw a fox in their logo, and immediately made a visual connection. Sorry about that!

    My player is a Sony. Knowing their reputation, I tend to doubt anything short of taking it apart and rebuilding it is going to help.

  10. I tried it with a JVC and Pioneer player. It worked with the JVC and not the Pioneer. I’m wonndering if there’s even some programming inherent in the remote that lets you skip through.

  11. Max K, I’m not sure from your comment whether you were (un)successful using the remote control or by pressing buttons on the DVD player itself..?

    In my experience, pressing Stop on the DVD player is much more reliable than using the remote contorl to stop the DVD. Once the DVD is stopped, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you use the player or the remote to start the film.

  12. I have a serious problem loosing my remote to the DVD player. There are a lot of DVD players out there that do not have a D-pad for navigating through the menu.

    The STOP-STOP-PLAY method: http://monoloc.blogspot.com/2007/04/skip-directly-to-movie-with-out-remote.html

    One way that i figured out is: Put the DVD in, let it start its thing. After it starts to auto play, press STOP, usually a screen will show up saying if you press play it will resume where it was. When this screen appears or at least after it stops, press STOP again. After this is done, press PLAY and it should skip directly to the first chapter of the movie.

    I have found a few DVD players that I couldn’t get this working on, but most it works like a charm.

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