Upscaling DVD player that's region-hackable?
September 20, 2008 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a region-free (or region-free-able) DVD player with upconvert for $100 US. I'd also just like to go to Best Buy or wherever (in the US) and pick it up this weekend. Ideas?

I've looked at a couple of upconvert players on Best Buy's website and cross-referenced with the database of codes at videohelp, and I'm not finding any of them.

Of particular interest to me is the Pioneer DV-410V-K -- videohelp points to firmware I can download and use, but I'm leery of that.

Other googling tells me that the player may be region locked, and it may not. Interestingly, downloading the PDF manual for the player brings up a curious point: the English instructions say it's locked and that's that, but babelfishing the French instructions seems to imply that you can at least switch regions, if not go fully free.

Does anyone have any good data on this player or another that I can pick up in-store and unlock through the remote? Also, my HDTV is one of those that can handle a 1080i signal, but not 1080p. I'm guessing that's not a problem (just don't use component cables), but I want to be sure.

Any player suggestions are welcome, provided they don't stray too far over $100US, and special points for being able to pick it up at a US chain this weekend -- I just rented season 3 of "The Wire" and hate to waste the rental fee.
posted by middleclasstool to Technology (11 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Philips DVP3980 at Target? $60, and region-free by punching buttons on the remote.

Philips DVP5990 at Best Buy? $60, region-free through the remote, plays divx/xvid files.

Is there a particular reason you need the dvd player to scale instead of the tv?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:55 AM on September 20, 2008

Best answer: The Philips DVP5990/37 is $59, in stock at pretty much every best buy, and can be unlocked as follows (as mentioned here):

press Setup
select Preference
Press 1,3,8,9,3,1
Press up/down key to select "0"
posted by helios at 10:58 AM on September 20, 2008

I've got the earlier Philips 5982, it's a very good player and the remote control hack was very simple. I'd recommend it (or the later 5990).
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 11:12 AM on September 20, 2008

I bought the Philips 5992 for $49 + tax at Costco two weeks ago. Costco seem to sell these as part of their standard range (I saw online postings suggesting buying one from Costco in June and they still have them now). It is similar to the Philips 5990. It has selectable outputs, including 1080i up-conversion, is region free (see helios'response for the code that you enter to set the region on both the 5990 and the 5992). I have successfully played region 1 and region 2 DVDs on the machine with it set to region 0.
The best part is that you can play movie files recorded in any standard format (MPEG4, AVI, etc.). You can burn these to DVD or you can play files from an external hard drive, via a USB2 port on the DVD player. So if you record stuff from the TV to a PVR/DVR, you can copy the files to a hard drive for later playing via the Philips. This is *so* cool!
posted by Susurration at 11:32 AM on September 20, 2008

BTW, in general you will not see instructions in the US English manual for unlocking the region on any region-free DVD player sold in the US. I believe that selling a region-free DVD player is illegal in the USA (can't remember which of the multitude of copyright acts this falls foul of) -- or at least "discouraged" by the MPAA. You will find that most internationally-sold models are capable of being set to region-free, as this simplifies manufacturing -- they only have to make one model instead of 5 or 6, then the default display options are set for the country where it is sold.
For example, the same Philips DVD player is sold in the UK and can be set to output to a British PAL-standard TV as well as US NTSC standard TVs. But you will not find the instructions to set the region in the US English manual for any Philips DVD player: the manuals all say that the players will play only region 1 disks. So don't take too much notice of what the manual says you can and can't do. Google the model that you are interested in, or search for the model in the AV Science Forums for the instructions to set the region.
posted by Susurration at 11:49 AM on September 20, 2008

I have the Philips DVP 3960. Amazon says it's $71, but I think I paid much less at my local Walmart, and it does everything you've asked for.

It can be unlocked in the same way that helios has already stated.
posted by Zarya at 11:50 AM on September 20, 2008

n-thing Philips DVP machines.

I've got the 5982 and have been using Philips DVD players through each of their generations. They keep getting better and better and have no problems playing any region's discs.

Just be sure you do get one that plays DiVX.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:58 AM on September 20, 2008

Definitely the Philips 5982. It's great and easy to hack with the remote.

ROU_Xenophobe - the reason it's better for the DVD player to do the scale is that with European DVDs the player can scale straight from PAL's 768x576 up to the HD resolution. If you use a regular DVD player it's scaling the PAL down to NTSC's 640x480, and then the TV is scaling up, which looks like crap. Also the Philips scaler chip does a good job - lots of TVs have crappy scalers.
And you can't generally feed a PAL signal to a US HDTV to let the TV do a direct scale - they don't accept it.
posted by w0mbat at 5:40 PM on September 20, 2008

I've got the 5990, region-free and loving it. Be sure to get the newest firmware from Philip's site. Firmware upgrades are easy-peasy.
posted by deezil at 7:15 AM on September 21, 2008

Response by poster: Got a 5990 and set it up this morning. Dr. Who and Green Wing discs are loading beautifully, thanks. I haven't yet tried the DivX stuff, but that'll be next.

You guys are awesome, thanks.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:19 AM on September 21, 2008

Response by poster: Oh, wow. Just played Battlestar Galactica off of a thumbdrive, and it works beautifully. Goddamn, this also answers the question I haven't yet asked: "How do I record HD shows without dropping $300 bucks on a DVR plus subscription?" Bonus points for you guys.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:34 PM on September 21, 2008

« Older Orthodontist recommendations in New York City?   |   Looking for British Folk Music Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.