The actual process is so simple – and the results, even for a first release, so impressive – that we're boggled by the fact that Nintendo hasn't simply added this functionality to the Disc Channel as part of a system update. It's a matter of downloading a small file, a hombrew video player, copying them to an SD card, and using the Homebrew Channel (a guide to installing which we've posted about previously) to apply a two-second patch. Keep reading after the break for our full impressions.
Gallery: Guide to watching DVDs on Wii
Once it's up-and-running, you can pop into the Mplayer app from the Homebrew Channel, put any video DVD in the drive, and voila – you're watching a DVD on a game console. Crazy, huh? The video quality is good, although we've found that Mplayer drops frames during more action-packed scenes in order to keep the film's audio in sync. You can disable frame dropping, but your audio and video will exist in separate time zones. There's definitely a lot of tidying up of the UI that can be done, but again, this is a first effort and Mplayer is in continual development.
We have a full rundown on the playback controls in our video; our compatriots at Wii Fanboy have put together a step-by-step gallery detailing the process of installing the Homebrew Channel and getting the necessary DVD hack files onto an SD card, which you can make with the clicky on above.