Why does my VLC player only play one DVD?
March 25, 2010 11:32 AM   Subscribe

My iBook is locked into playing Region 1 DVDs, but will consent to play Arnaud Desplechin's "Un Conte de Noël" (Region 2) with VLC -- but no other Region 2 DVDs! Qu'est-ce qui se passe?

I know nothing about computers. But I have a computing problem! (I have googled and searched the AskMeFi archives, but I didn't find anything pertaining to this specific it-only-plays-one-DVD problem.)

I can play Region 1 DVDs with AppleDVD, and yes, the Desplechin film with VLC, but VLC will not play any other Region 2 DVDs. I purchased the Desplechin at a FNAC in Paris, and the unplayable DVDs (I've tried at least 4 or 5) have all been checked out from various médiathèques. (This is probably nothing more than coincidence, but I'm trying to give you all the information I've got ... ) Can someone help explain why this is happening, and better yet, suggest a way to fix it? I'm in France for the long haul, and I'd really like to watch something other than ... "Un conte de Noël."

Thank you!
posted by delayed-reaction android to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
The most likely explanation is that "Un Conte de Noël" isn't Region 2, but instead Region 0, which is reasonably common in Europe. Region 0 discs can be played anywhere.

VLC can only play out-of-region discs if your DVD drive isn't "RPC-2", which means the region lockout is done in hardware, not software. Unfortunately, all Apple drives are RPC-2.
posted by Mwongozi at 11:36 AM on March 25, 2010

I think that Fairmount will let you mount and play any region's discs on your Mac, but you'll have to use VLC for playback.
posted by zippy at 12:49 PM on March 25, 2010

Fairmount suffers from the same limitations as VLC. Indeed, it actually uses VLC for decoding.

No software solution can bypass an RPC-2 region lock, because the drive will simply not send the data to the computer. The only "real" solution is to firmware flash the drive so that it becomes RPC-1, but this is risky and hacked firmwares are often not available for recent drives.
posted by Mwongozi at 12:56 PM on March 25, 2010

If you use Handbrake to back your DVD up onto your hard drive, you'll be able to watch the features from DVDs of any region.
posted by jtron at 3:41 PM on March 25, 2010

Wait, VLC respects Region Codes?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:50 PM on March 25, 2010

Again, Handbrake won't help you, unless you use it on a machine which is either the correct region, or RPC-1.

VLC doesn't respect region codes, but it does have to obey the laws of physics. It can't read data which the DVD drive won't send it.
posted by Mwongozi at 2:05 AM on March 26, 2010

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