Converting Movies for Wii Playback (under Linux)

So I picked up Nintendo's latest console, the Wii, on launch day. I wanted an easy way to convert movies for playback in the Photo Channel on the Wii, so I don't require my modded Xbox for my movie viewing anymore. Well, here is how to do it.

Install mencoder on your Linux distro. You will also need whatever libraries it requires to encode with MP3 audio and MJPEG video, as well as to decode whatever formats are used by any files you are trying to convert. My system just works, so let's assume yours will too. If it doesn't, get help for the proper libraries and whatnot from others who use your distro of choice.

Now, just open up a command line and find your movie that you want to convert. For our example, I will use the file called BATMANBEGINSDVDRIP.WMV as the movie we want to convert. I will write a new file called BATMANBEGINSFORWII.AVI that we will put onto our SD card and playback on the Wii.

In the terminal, run this command:

mencoder BATMANBEGINSDVDRIP.WMV -fps 29.97 -ovc lavc -lavcopts \
vcodec=mjpeg -oac pcm -vf scale -zoom -xy 512 -o BATMANBEGINSFORWII.AVI

Wait for it to finish, and then test the video in Mplayer:


If the movie plays and the audio is in sync, copy it to your SD card and then try playing it back in the Wii. You should now be able to enjoy pretty much any movie that you take the time to convert. Although, it'd be awesome if Nintendo put a Video Center channel on the Wii, so we could stream from our Samba servers... Oh, we can hope.

Note that in the example, I am specifying a framerate of 29.97 fps and 512px-wide video files (with aspect ratio-respectful height). You might want to experiment with any of these to get your videos how you want them to be.

I hope this page helps someone out there. I wrote it because the only Wii video conversion stuff I could find was for the Windows or Mac platforms.

Dana Olson
Dec. 7, 2006