[Techtalk] DVD drives (was Re: [Grrltalk] SF Shows)

Kathryn Andersen kat_lists at katspace.com
Wed Aug 14 08:52:17 EST 2002

(Back to techtalk again!)
On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 11:25:51PM +1000, Michelle Howson wrote:
> Jumping in on this topic, as I've just (JUST!) bought a DVD drive so am
> entering this world...   Yay for eBay, by the way.  I'm a late-comer to
> that phenomena, and as long as this drive actually works, I'm going to be
> singing praises for that bit of internet genius - success this morning with
> a new Sony drive, only AU$85 - RRP around AU$130+ :)

Now, I assume you're talking about the DVD drive for your PC, not a DVD
> ahem.  Anyway. So, um, can someone clue me in on the easiest way to stop
> myself being locked into a single region?  The way I understand it
> (gleaned from my ex-bf) when I first play DVDs on this drive with some kind
> of software, it isn't region specified and I can change it a limited number
> of times before it is locked in...?  I'd like to avoid that, as I'm from
> an intensely international family and there is no way all my DVDs will come
> from Au....!  More likely they'll come from the UK/US - but rentals, of
> course, will be local.

Yes, that's partly it.  The DVD drives are set to be region-changable
five times only, and then it's stuck.  (Mind, if you got it second-hand,
then maybe the person before you has already jiggered it...)  However,
for *some* drives, it is possible to get firmware to change it to being
region 0 (that is, no region at all) permanently.  However, this is
risky, because if you install the wrong firmware, then your drive will
stop working.  Finito.  However, if you do want to go this route,
<http://perso.club-internet.fr/farzeno/firmware/> is the place to look.
First download some of the utilities (like Driveinfo) to check to see if
the drive is actually region-locked, and to see what the make of the
drive is and what firmware it uses.  Then check the list of drives on
the site, to see if your particular drive has a firmware patch for it.
And if it does, then download it and apply it!

And the good news is, that even if your drive is region-locked, if you
use libdvdcss with any of the major Linux DVD players (vlc, ogle,
xine-dvd-nav) then you can play any region DVDs because the software
ignores the region code on the drive anyway -- at least that's what I
found with my region-locked laptop drive. YMMV.  But hopefully it should
still be the case for a while, until the US conquers the world and
prosecutes students that live in Paris and Finland...

Kathryn Andersen
"This sentinel thing... You know, it's more than just a research
project.  Uh... it's about friendship. I just didn't get it before."
	-- Blair Sandburg, to Jim Ellison (Sentinel: Flight)
 _--_|\	    | Kathryn Andersen	<kat at katspace.com> <http://www.katspace.com>
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