How to skip DVD intros

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