How to hack a DVD drive
August 25, 2005 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Help me hack my PC's DVD player.

I use my PC as an entertainment centre. Most of my DVDs are region 2 encoded, but there have been a few things which I really wanted that I could only get on region 1 import. I buy all my discs through legitimate sources, so it really pisses me off that my computer is locked to a single region (or will be next time I switch regions -- it comes with only a limited number of changes).

There seem to be a lot of hacks on the internet for stand-alone DVD players but not for PC DVD drives. Is it possible to make my DVD player region free?

FYI I'm not at all technical and am horrified by the thought of opening my PC up but I'm fairly competent at following instructions if it only involves a programming fix.
posted by londonmark to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)

Use this. Works like a charm.
posted by gfrobe at 9:52 AM on August 25, 2005

This seems like an alternative to AnyDVD that's free.

Personally I'd go with flashing an RPC-1 firmware to the drive and using something like DVD Genie (also free), but that's just me! Or, better yet, use a software that doesn't care about regions to play, like VLC.

(Your drive, if manufactured past 1997 has RPC-2 or hardware region coding, rather than relying on software to do the "right" thing.)
posted by shepd at 10:13 AM on August 25, 2005

Similar software-based solution here. I've tried it and it worked flawless. But it's $40 after the trial period (1 month). Surely, there must be a shareware hack, somewhere?

On preview: VLC doesn't care?! I need to try that.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 10:14 AM on August 25, 2005

VLC has definitely worked the best for me.
posted by grouse at 10:19 AM on August 25, 2005

sftb, VLC only won't care if you have an RPC-1 drive. RPC-2 drives are hardware locked so the software doesn't matter. :( So if it's an RPC-2 drive, you will have to hack the firmware (usually by downloading one from the internet, unless you're insane good with computers).
posted by shepd at 10:22 AM on August 25, 2005

It does work for some RPC2 drives, although not for others. Since it's an easy free download, you can try it before going to the trouble of hacking your firmware.
posted by grouse at 10:50 AM on August 25, 2005

Find a copy of DriveInfo and identify your drive by its make and model. Then you can figure out if there's a patch available for your drive specifically.
posted by j.edwards at 11:14 AM on August 25, 2005

I use DVD43Free, which shepd already linked to, to play region 2 DVDs on my region 1 laptop drive using my regular DVD playback software with no problems. And my drive is definitely RPC-2. I can't guarantee it'll work for you, but it's free so try it out. VLC also worked for me, but I prefer using DVD43Free and my regular DVD playback software.
posted by EatenByAGrue at 12:20 PM on August 25, 2005

Depending on your druthers you can also use DVDDecryptor to lift the DVD contents (it will ignore region encoding if necessary) and use any of a number of re-encoding apps to burn yourself a region-free version. I liked CloneDVD but the Nero Ultimate Edition has a reencoder too. Obviously Hollywood disagrees with me but I personally feel justified in enabling myself to play what I paid for whereever I care to.
posted by phearlez at 2:10 PM on August 25, 2005

Step 1) Go to Firmware Flash and download a region-free firmware for your specific make and model of DVD drive.

Step 2) Use VLC.
posted by armoured-ant at 4:48 PM on August 25, 2005

Thanks everyone for your answers. I'm going to try a few of them out over the weekend and will let you know how I get on!
posted by londonmark at 5:45 AM on August 26, 2005

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