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Silly me, I thought that paying good money for legally-produced and distributed DVDs meant that I could, y'know, watch them. Somehow, I entirely forgot about region codes when I ordered this season three Buffy the Vampire Slayer Italian box set, and now I have a nice collection of DVDs on my desk that I can only play if I'm willing to use up one of my precious four remaining region changes on my drive.

This is absolute bullshit, BTW. (And no, the, uh, quasi-legal methods of getting around this don't work; my DVD drive is too new and hasn't been freed from the clutching talons of the customer-hating MPAA yet.)

Does anyone have any recommendations for inexpensive region-free DVD players that can convert PAL to NTSC and are available from US resellers? Preferably under $50 if possible.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
I have a Philips DVP642.. under $50 at Wal-Mart, converts between PAL and NTSC, and plays DivX/XviD AVIs too.
Feb. 14th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
That was one I was actually looking at, primarily because it's made by a well-known company so I hope that means it's more dependable than the loads of strange off-brand ones I see.

Thanks for the recommendation!
Feb. 14th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)
Well, some people report reliability problems. There's a capacitor on the main board that seems to blow after a few months on many of the units, causing the player to be dead except for a flashing power light. Replacing the cap is supposed to be easy if you can work a soldering iron, though.

Also, the remote control is deceptively bad.. the navigation arrows are overloaded as fast forward/reverse (horizontal) and slow forward/reverse (vertical), which means they're a bit too far away from the play button. The display button doesn't work the way you might expect, and neither does the menu button in DivX mode.

In other words, don't buy this one just because of the brand. It's probably no better than an off-brand model with the same features.

As far as the quasi-legal methods of getting around region protection in your OP: even if your drive is RPC-II (region control enforced in hardware), you should still be able to make a region-free copy with e.g. DVD Decrypter and DVD Shrink, since they bypass the drive's decryption features and do it all in software. If you don't have a burner, you can probably rip it with DVD Decrypter and then play it off your hard drive with Daemon Tools.
Mar. 8th, 2006 09:06 am (UTC)
all hail vlc
Just watch them using vlc from http://www.videolan.org/

It ignores region settings completely. I suspect mplayer and ogle and some
others do too.
Mar. 8th, 2006 12:09 pm (UTC)
Re: all hail vlc
Unfortunately, the actual drive hardware reads the region setting and won't access the disk unless it's set correctly. VLC and mplayer try their best, but when the hardware is doing the blocking, there's not much the software can do about it.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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