Author Topic: Multi-Region DVD Playback  (Read 1048 times)

Offline Chandler

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Multi-Region DVD Playback
« on: Feb 05, 2004, 08:08 AM »
Introduction

When DVD-Video was announced, it was decided that the world would be split into multiple "Regions".  The idea of this is control distribution of films, but all it really does is annoy film-lovers.

Now, some people may object to multi-region hacks, but lets face it, is it not better to purchase a DVD than to download it illegally from the Internet?  

Take for example my favourite movie, The 'Burbs.  It is only available as Region 1, and I live in the UK which is Region 2.  I could download it from a Peer2Peer network, but I won't.  Instead I imported a disc from Canada, and this way the studio gets the money.  I've not ripped anyone off, and the film is frequently shown on BBC1 anyway.

Another advantage of buying outside your region is that the special features and quality are often different.  A Region 1 viewer might choose to get Region 2 for the higher resolution, or maybe different special features.  I have Animal House in both R1 and R2 because they offer different things.


What's Needed?

Many stand-alone players can be made multi-region by entering a code with the remote control, or by replacing a chip inside the unit, but for PC's it's a bit more complicated.

There are three levels of Region Code locking:
  • RPC-2 DVD-ROM drive - this is a hardware lock within the drive itself.  Typically the user can change the region 5 times, and after that it's locked.  It can usually be reset by the manufacturer 5 times
  • Windows - Windows 98/2000/XP have internal region locks, and they keep tabs of what region code has been used.  It is stored in the registry and can be changed with 3rd party tools.  Windows XP provides a method to change it manually, again 5 times.
  • DVD Software - finally the DVD software itself has region locks and again offers 5 changes.  Older software keeps an internal count, but newer ones use Windows.
Removing RPC-2

All PC DVD drives manufactured since 2000 have RPC-2 locks built into them.  This means that the user can change the region 5 times, and then the drive is locked to whatever region was last selected.

The previous method was RPC-1, which means that the Region is never locked and the drive will play any disc.

Fortunately, you can usually download replacement "firmware" for the drive.  The most common place to obtain this is Firmware Flash.

There is a degree of risk with flashing firmware, and if something goes wrong (e.g. power outage, wrong firmware), your drive will be permanently damaged.  It does however only need to be done once.

PowerDVD XP 4.0

Cyberlink's PowerDVD XP 4.0 uses two methods for region protection.  If it detects an RPC-1 drive, then it uses it's own region counter.  While this can be reset with software such as DVD Genie, it isn't an ideal situation.

If it detects an RPC-2 drive, then it trusts whatever region Windows is set to.  This is where DVD Region Killer 2 comes in.  It allows any RPC-1 drive to be seen as RPC-2 by both Windows and any DVD software.

Grab DVD Region Killer from:
Quantex Zone

WinDVD

Unfortunately, DVD Region Killer doesn't work with WinDVD.  There are a couple of alternatives, and you don't need to flash your drive with this method.

I haven't tested these pieces of software extensively, and they're not free:

AnyDVD
DVD Region Free
« Last Edit: May 28, 2004, 08:54 AM by Chandler »

Offline Chandler

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Re:Multi-Region DVD Playback
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2004, 08:57 AM »
Updates:
  • Fixed the link for DVD Region Killer 2.7
  • I've tried SlySoft AnyDVD and it works very well (it's a commercial derivative of DVD Region Killer).  A 21-day trial version is available so that you can test it with your hardware/software.  I tried it with InterVideo WinDVD 5.3 on an RPC1 unprotected drive and it worked correctly.  It can also unlock "forbidden" features of discs so that you can skip the FBI warning screens or seek through segments you're not allowed to normally etc.