PS3 AVIAddXSubs AVI Subtitles Guide

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Date Added: Mar 18, 2010
Date Updated: Mar 18, 2010

The PS3 is an excellent media hub, playing all sorts of video formats, either off the console of streamed from your PC. But one of the things it doesn't handle too well is subtitles support, especially for AVI files. With some other media players, all you need to do is to put the SRT or other subtitle file in the same folder as the video file, usually with the same filename, and the subtitle will automatically be loaded. But this won't work on the PS3.

But thanks to a timely firmware release, firmware 2.20 to be precise, you can now add subtitles to your AVI files without having to re-encode your AVI. And these subtitles files aren't hard-coded, meaning they can be turned off in the same way you turn on/off DVD subtitles on the PS3 - and a single AVI file can support multiple subtitles. As SRT files seem to be the most popular, this guide refers mainly to these kinds of files.

Best of all, you can do all of this using a single freeware tool called AVIAddXSubs.

Software you'll need:

Hardware you'll need:

  • PS3 with firmware 2.20 or newer

Step 1: Installation and Configuration

Before you start adding subtitles to your AVI file, please first make sure the AVI file plays on your PS3. This method only works on AVI files that work natively on the PS3 (that is, if you copied the file over to your PS3, it will play). It does not work on AVI files that only plays through a live transcoder like TVersity (that is, if the AVI file contains a video stream that isn't DivX/XviD and PS3 compatible, then this method won't work). After you add subtitles using AVIAddXSubs, then the file will still be playable in the same way as before (by either copying it straight to the PS3 or played via USB/external HDD, or streamed via TVersity and other streaming tools). Also, I've assumed that you've already got your subtitle file, if not, then you can try our subtitles search engine. AVIAddXSubs supports SRT and idx/sub subtitle files.

Download the AVIAddXSubs ZIP package. Extract the contents to a new folder (for example, C:\Program Files\AVIAddXSubs\). Click on the AVIAddXSubs.exe executable to start AVIAddXSubs and that's all there is to it, installation wise.


We will now configure AVIAddXSubs. Click on the "Configuration 2" tab in AVIAddXSubs. Let's go through each of the options.

AVIAddXSubs: Configuration 2

  • Unpack packed bitstream: This has nothing to do with subtitles, but enable this option gives you more compatible AVI files
  • Use .avi for output file(s) if possible: Without this option, AVIAddXSubs will convert your AVI files to .divx files, which still play on the PS3. On the other hand, and this is what I prefer, I can enable this option so that AVI files are kept as AVI files. The only thing you have to make absolutely sure is that the output folder is different to the input folder, otherwise you run the risk of a failed process.
  • Delete original avi: Only select this if you're confident that you won't need the original AVI file anymore (not recommended)
  • Move srt to output directory: This option when enabled copies the original input SRT file to the same folder as the output file, but this isn't necessary at all unless you want to keep a copy of the original SRT file
  • Do not copy avi when no XSUB: This option skips copying the original AVI file if you did not add any XSUB subtitles to the file
  • Do not convert idx/sub in XSUB: Use this option if you don't want the idx/sub subtitles to be converted and added to the AVI file
  • YUV values at idx/sub color palette: This enables the use of YUV color palettes for idx/sub subtitles
  • Start at once: This starts subtitle processing the second you add in AVI files. Otherwise, you'll have to press the "Start" button to start the process

Subtitle Time:

  • Time Shift By: This adds (or removes) X milliseconds from the start time of the subtitle file, which is really useful if your video and subtitles don't match at the beginning. The number here is in milliseconds, so if you want to delay the showing of the subtitles for 12 seconds, you need to put "12000" in this box. On the other hand, if you want the subtitles to show up 12 seconds earlier, then you type in "-12000"
  • Increase Duration By: This increases the duration between lines of subtitles, but this only works if your video and subtitles are gradually going out of synch (for example, if your video was 23.976 FPS, while your subtitles are for the PAL 25 FPS version of the movie)

  • Mark DivX as: This changes the FourCC tag of the AVI file, which some players use to identify what kind of file it is. The listed options, DIVX, XVID, DX50, are usually used in files that are compatible with a file that uses one of the other tags. Select "None" to ensure the tag doesn't get change, which is sensible if your AVI file already plays perfectly on the PS3
  • Chapter every X minutes This is for players that support the DivX Ultra format (DivX with menus and chapters). It doesn't seem to work for the PS3, so don't worry about this setting

There's only the context menu options, which you can enable or disable to your own preference. That's the initial configuration complete.

Step 2: Using AVIADDXSubs and Subtitle Configuration

Place the original AVI file in the same folder as the SRT subtitle files. Make sure both start with the same characters, but with the subtitles prefixed with the language, for example "Movie.avi" and "", "".

Click on the "Create XSUB or Idx/Sub" tab. In the "File Name(s)" section, load in your original AVI file. For the "Output Folder", select a different folder to create your (subtitled) output file.

AVIAddXSubs: Input/Output

Now click on the "Configuration 1" tab. Notice that there are 8 "SUB" tabs. Click on "SUB 1" to configure our first subtitle stream.

AVIAddXSubs: SUB 1

Let's go through the options. First of all, select "XSUB" at the top to create this kind of subtitle file. For the "Rearrange Subtitle Text", I like to use the "When very long" option to ensure AVIAddXSubs doesn't cut off lines of subtitles in the wrong places.

AVIAddXSubs: SUB 1

Skip over to the right to "Subtitle Bitmap. You can select PAL or NTSC to match your video. If you don't know or if the resolution is not 720x***, then use "custom" to enter in the actual resolution of the video file (you can find out this information in Windows by right click on the file, selecting "Properties", go into "Summary" and the "Width" and "Height" should be listed at the top). Just below are the options "Full Screen" and "Overscan". With "Full Screen", I usually have this off, but you may have to experiment to see if this helps solve the problem where the vertical position of the subtitles keep on jumping up and down (more on experimentation later). With "Overscan", this goes back to pre-HDMI days when televisions would cut off the edge of the picture, have this enabled just to be sure that your subtitles are not cut off (but this means less area to display the subtitles, which may have to be overlayed over more of the actual movie picture).

AVIAddXSubs: SUB 1

Let's move down. The "Character Set" option should usually be set to "DEFAULT", unless your subtitle file contains non English type characters. Note that AVIAddXSubs currently does not support files encoded using UNICODE or UTF8, only ANSI. For the language code, select the language of the subtitle. This isn't strictly necessary, but it's nice to be able to change subtitles on the PS3 and be able to see which language you're changing to. The Font size/color/outline/align options are fairly obvious, although you may still need some recommendations. The settings shown in the screenshot below works well for me, but you can experiment to get the best result for your display (more on experimentation later). There's a "Preview" button down below where you can see what the subtitles would look like (but the best test is still actually doing a live test on the PS3).

AVIAddXSubs: SUB 1

Move to the right again to the "Subtitle Position" option. This is again one of the experimental settings, as these determine the position of your subtitles. For VP (Vertical Position), 0 means the subtitle is right at the top of the screen, and as the VP value gets larger, the subtitles move downwards more. The settings I've shown in the screenshot below is recommended for your typical PAL/NTSC (720x***) video file. Notice how some DVDs have the subtitles sometimes appear high and low, depending on what else is on screen? You can simulate this in AVIAddXSub by having two different subtitle files, one with only the time code and lines of the subtitles that appear "high", and one in the normal position - then, you can load the two subtitle files using two "SUB" tabs ("SUB 1", "SUB 2" ...), and change the VP value of the tab containing the "high" subtitles. Easy!

AVIAddXSubs: SUB 1

And we're onto the last of the options on this screen. The "SRT extension" is a very important option. It tells AVIAddXSubs which subtitle file it should load. Let's take this following example of a movie with 2 different subtitle files, one for each different language:

  • Movie.avi

Then for the "SRT extension" for the first, English, subtitle, you would type "-English" into the box (note the "-" is present). Then to add the second French subtitle, go to "SUB 2" and type "-French" as the extension. This is how you can load in up to 8 different subtitles file into the same AVI file. If your subtitle file is the same name as the AVI file (just different file extension, .avi and .srt), then leave the "SRT extension" option blank. You can also load the same subtitle file multiple times into the same AVI file by making sure the "SRT extension" option the same for the different "SUB" tabs. Now why would you want to do this? You need this if you want to experiment with the various subtitle options listed above without having to create an AVI file for each type of subtitles. So by having the same "SRT extension" in multiple "SUB" tabs, you can change the font type, size, outline, position ... to you liking, and then find that one that's best for you. And now the last few options at the bottom. The default is "Add Subtitles", which is what we're doing, adding subtitles to an AVI file. You can also select "No Subtitles" to remove any loaded in subtitles. "Add Test Subtitles" creates subtitles that's used for testing. Another way to get AVIAddXSub to ignore a "SUB" tab, without using the "No Subtitles" option, is to set the "SRT extension" to "-1", "-2", "-3" ... to match the tab number.

AVIAddXSubs: SUB 1

Now go back to the "Create XSUB or Idx/Sub" tab and press the "Start" button to start the subtitle addition process. It shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes per subtitle stream. When it's done, AVIAddXSubs will tell you so and that's all there is to it!

What you need to do next is to play the file on your PS3, but I assume you already know how to do this. If not, you can use a software like TVersity to stream the file from your computer to your PS3 (instructions for doing this are here. Depending on your PS3 settings, the first subtitle stream should load upon play, but if not, press the "Subtitle" key on your PS3 BD remote, or use your controller to select and enable subtitles just like how you would do with a normal DVD.

And we're done :).

Got more questions? Post them in our DivX/XviD Playback Forum and get them answered by other expert users.

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