Fault tolerance is an important design criterion for reliable and robust video-on-demand systems. Conventional fault-tolerant designs use either a primary backup or an active replication method to provide system fault tolerance. However, these approaches suffer from low utilization of the backup or replication system. In this paper we propose two playback-recovery schemes for distributed video-on-demand systems called the forward playback-recovery scheme and the backward playback-recovery scheme. Unlike conventional fault-tolerant designs, our schemes use existing playback resources to recover faulty playbacks without allocating new resources, significantly reducing recovery overhead. To use the schemes effectively, we developed a distributed algorithm for determining the order and gap information between the playbacks on the distributed video-on-demand servers so that overhead for recovering from a server failure can be minimized. This algorithm achieves N - 1 fault-tolerant resiliency for N-server video-on-demand systems. In addition, three server-recovery policies are also presented to guide surviving servers in applying the proper scheme to recover faulty playbacks, thus reducing overall recovery costs. Simulation results show that the proposed recovery schemes are effective and useful in designing fault-tolerant multiple-server video-on-demand systems.