Breaking the DVD region restrictions. (1 Viewer)

piper89

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Feb 5, 2007
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I am fuming and it is all about DVD region restrictions.
Having spent hundreds on a home theatre and a couple of other DVD players in my home I would have thought that I would have unrestricted use of these.
But no.
I appreciate the more technically minded on here will be saying I am really dumb for not knowing about it but I didn't.
Only sussed it when coming back from Europe with a couple of DVDs for the children.
None would play on any of our players.
That's a Sony theatre, Panasonic and Samsung. All of them spat them out.
Having done some surfing which was the pits, I discovered that there was a service called DVD Unlocks 4U which says can provide instructions for you without the pain and anguish of having to work out what everyone is saying and finding the right info when you don't know about it.
They explained the whole situation and I was totally shocked that such restrictions exist and decided to find out more about it.
I actually called the customer services departments fo each of the manufacturers and told them about it and none of them, not one, gave a shoot.
Ignorance is not a defence, it seems.
So I went to these guys' website http://web.ukonline.co.uk/mwill96/dvdunlocks4u.htm and asked for instructions.
In a few hours all three were playing everything I threw at them. Was so pleased to get it sorted.
However I do not think it is at all fair that I have to go through all that just to get players that will play all DVDs. I am surprised there is not a huge campaign against this.
Having done my homework, I hear that such regional restrictions are in conflict with national law in some countries , for instance in pioneering regions such as Hong Kong, where parallel import is expressly allowed and supported by government bodies. Also, the High Court of Australia has recently concluded that modification of devices to circumvent region lockout is allowed under Australian law.
So it should be.
Shame!
 

Juan

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 14, 2003
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Moscow Russia
You could "try"playing them on a PC..Most PC dvd players will allow you to change a region a couple times
 

charper1

Bourbon Tester
Supporting Founder
May 18, 2004
18,442
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I'm Nationwide
I too am a big advocate of region-free, heck all my region-free players are also PAL and NTSC compatible (another great feature to have) BUT be very careful what links you click on kids and the instructions that those link might provide. Something strikes me odd about this post and if I am wrong I am sorry. Especially since this is not anything new, the region codes or the ways to open them have been known for a very, very long time and some of the other comments makes it just seem odd. I would recommend sticking will very well known and reputable sites such as VideoHelp.

ADDED: (by R. Silva)
Not All DVDs Play In All DVD Players
Nothing has impacted the home entertainment world quite like DVD. Players and movies have been flying off the shelves worldwide as prices keep falling and consumers keep buying. With superior picture and audio performance DVD has spurred growth in home theater exponentially in recent years. Entire rooms in many homes are now reserved just for the enjoyment of home theater. However, along with DVD's worldwide success, comes its dirty little secret: region coding (also referred to as region lock).

DVD Region Code Designations

The DVD world is divided into six major geographical regions, with two additional regions reserved for specialized use.

To keep it simple, this means that DVD players and DVDs are labeled for operation on within a specific geographical region in the world.
For example, the U.S. is in region 1. This means that all DVD players sold in the U.S. are made to region 1 specifications. As a result, region 1 players can only play region 1 discs. That's right, the DVDs themselves are encoded for a specific region. On the back of each DVD package, you will a find a region number (1 thru 6).

The geographical regions are as follows:

REGION 1 -- USA, Canada
REGION 2 -- Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
REGION 3 -- S.Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia
REGION 4 -- Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (including Mexico)
REGION 5 -- Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
REGION 6 -- China
REGION 7 -- Reserved for Unspecified Special Use
REGION 8 -- Resevered for Cruise Ships, Airlines, etc...
REGION 0 or REGION ALL -- Discs are uncoded and can be played Worldwide, however, PAL discs must be played in a PAL-compatible unit and NTSC discs must be played in an NTSC-compatible unit.

The end result is that DVDs encoded for regions other than Region 1 cannot be played on a region 1 DVD player, also, players marketed for other regions cannot play region 1-stamped DVDs.

The Reasons For DVD Region Coding

Why does DVD region coding exist, you ask? According to what the public is being told, such coding is a tool to protect copyright and film distribution rights (in other words, movie studio profits).

Movies are released in theaters in different parts of the world at different times throughout the year. That Summer blockbuster in the U.S. may end up being the Christmas blockbuster overseas. If that occurs, the DVD version of the movie may be out in the U.S. while it is still showing in theaters overseas.

In order to preserve the financial integrity of the theatrical distribution of a particular film, it is not possible (under normal conditions) to have a friend in the U.S. send a DVD copy of the film to the country where it is in theatrical release and be able to play the DVD on a player there.

Region Coding - The Good and The Bad

Depending on who you are, region coding can be considered a blessing or a curse. If you are movie studio executive, this is great, not only do you reap maximum profits from the theatrical releases, but also from the DVD releases for your film. However, if you are a consumer wanting to see a movie that is available on DVD in your relative's or friend's country but not in yours, you may have to wait quite a while.

However, another suspected rationale for region coding is beginning to emerge, possible price-fixing of DVDs depending on region. Although this is yet to be legally proven in court, if proven to be true, Australian and European courts may just put the heat on Hollywood and manufacturers to discontinue region coding as a marketing practice. New Zealand has been trying to eliminate DVD region code restrictions in that country.

In addition, for those consumers that live in Europe, Australia, and Asia, there is an abundant market for so-called Code Free DVD players, which are essentially modified versions of stock DVD players in which the region coding function has been disabled.

With the magic of mail-order and the Internet, these players are widely available, even if not totally legal. For the fortunate owners of these players, DVDs can be purchased from any region.

However, as a reaction to the popularity of Code-Free DVD players, "Hollywood" has instituted another layer of coding on region1 DVDs called RCE (Regional Coding Enhancement) which prevents selected region1 DVDs from playing even on Code-Free DVD players. However, RCE is only implemented on some Region 1 discs, and not on discs from other regions.

NTSC/PAL and DVD - My Perspective On DVD Region Coding
The NTSC/PAL Factor

There is additional hitch in this madness. Since the world is also divided into the NTSC and PAL video systems, as outlined in my previous article: Who's Your PAL? ), the consumer may need a multi-system TV to access DVDs pressed in one of these systems. Although this is difficult in the U.S. market, where all video is based on the NTSC system, most consumers in Europe and some other parts of the world do own Televisions that can view DVDs pressed in either NTSC or PAL.

DVD Price Fixing and Movie Release Dates

I can see the need for some region coding in order to protect movie release dates, but if issues such as price-fixing of DVD product is also involved, Hollywood may end up being in deep trouble on this one.

With the increase in communication and travel, information and entertainment can be accessed just about anywhere at anytime and perhaps Hollywood would best be served by releasing films and videos at the same time everywhere. Not only would consumers be better served, but the cost of region coding and the need for the aftermarket Code-Free DVD player would be eliminated.

The Consumer Impatience Factor

Also, I realize it's nice to purchase the DVD version of the latest blockbuster just six months after theatrical release. It is a minor inconvenience to wait another month or so if it means the film is still in theatrical release somewhere else in the world. If the movie is worthy, fans will wait for the DVD. I doubt if the sales of blockbuster DVD releases, such as Star Wars: Episode II, Lord Of The Rings, etc... suffer because we had to wait over a year to get it. I, for one, will always be in line for those major DVD releases.

The Real Beneficiaries Of DVD Region Coding

The only entities that seem to be really benefiting from DVD Region Coding are the movie studios and the marketers of Code-Free DVD players. Under this current system, my vote is for the marketers of the Code-Free players. Even the International Space Station has Code-Free DVD players (for obvious practical reasons).

For a list of dealers that sell modified Code-Free DVD players, check the listings in the linkboxes on the right side of this page (Guide Note: The dealer listings are purely informational, I do not vouch for the quality of the products and services offered).

Home DVD Recording

With the advent of DVD Recorders and DVD Camcorders for consumer use, the question comes up as to how this is affected by DVD Region Coding. The good news is that since DVD Region Coding is a commercial application, any DVD recordings you make on a consumer-based DVD recorder, DVD camcorder, or even a PC, are not Region Coded. If the DVD you record made in the NTSC video system, it will be playable on DVD players in countries that use that system, and the same for PAL; their is no further region code restriction on home recorded DVDs.

For additional information on consumer DVD recording, check out my DVD Recorder FAQs

However, if you choose to implement Region Coding on your own DVD recordings, you need access to software or a service that is able to implement the region code designation.

Final Notes

Now that you know about DVD region coding, that isn't the only dirty little secret of DVD. There also the issue of anti-copy encoding technology, but that is another story....
 
Last edited:

charper1

Bourbon Tester
Supporting Founder
May 18, 2004
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I'm Nationwide
That link to VideoHelp was given already 5 days ago, I guess I didn't direct link right to hacks that way they could read, learn, and see all that site has to offer; LOL!
 

charper1

Bourbon Tester
Supporting Founder
May 18, 2004
18,442
6
I'm Nationwide
HEHE; need more sleep these days buddy? It was in the 1st paragraph which is why it made me laugh. Have an espresso on me and save your eyes.
 

gbjbany

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 4, 2005
1,476
1
El Dorado Hills, CA Nr Sacramento
Can you guys help me out on a related issue.
I understand the region lock part, grey imports and all, but the PAL/NTSC is where i get stuck.

Are there DVD players for sale in the US that support both ?

If they do, will i need a special TV ?

I currently have a Plasma TV, and use my PC to playback my PAL created dvd's.
So if one of these players supports HDMI out, will it play back or will i need some sort of converter.

I can convert the dvd to NTSC on my PC using convertxdvd, but i dont get the menu's etc.

For what it's worth i had all this hassle when i came to the us 11 years ago, but that time it was VHS recorders.

Anyway any help would be appreciated.
 

gbjbany

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 4, 2005
1,476
1
El Dorado Hills, CA Nr Sacramento
thanks for the reply i am doing that now yes but i also have to convert from PAL to NTSC , hence convertxdvd

But the wife gets a bit impatient, when we get a new dvd from the family in the UK and i have to "screw with it " - her words- to make it work. So i was looking to see if i could do something "simple".

Charper1 i just found your post here http://www.satelliteguys.us/showthread.php?t=75978 have you tried this with PAL dvd's

Anyway found this site http://www.regioncodefreedvd.com/index.html so looks like i have my answer, interested if anybody has purchased from them though.
 
Last edited:

Need

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 20, 2004
467
18
Can you guys help me out on a related issue.
I understand the region lock part, grey imports and all, but the PAL/NTSC is where i get stuck.

Are there DVD players for sale in the US that support both ?

If they do, will i need a special TV ?

If there is any Chinese community in your area, go to any chinese video rental store and they will probably have one or two models of region free DVD player that supports both PAL and NTSC DVDs. We ran into the same problem before. My uncle from Hong Kong taped shows on TV (PAL) on his DVD recorder but none of our players at home (even the region free ones) can play it. I did manage to convert one but I don't want to keep doing it. We ended up getting a $49 DVD player from one of the Chinese stores and it plays EVERYTHING. Just bring your DVDs to the store and ask them to try playing them before you buy it.
 

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