No, Amazon, I did not mean "Two and a Half Men."
November 16, 2014 5:05 AM   Subscribe

I'm in London and would like my father, who lives in the U.S., to see the film A Room and a Half. As far as I can determine, A Room and a Half has never been released on DVD in the U.S. The only workaround I've thought of has been to send him the British DVD and a multi-region player, but is there a more elegant solution?

Anything requiring Dad to do a lot of technical tweaks on his end is unlikely to work out. However, if there's something I could do as a one-off, I could postpone this gift to an occasion when I will be visiting.
posted by Perodicticus potto to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: From what I understand, VLC Player will play discs regardless of region (I've had success in the past playing a Region 2 DVD on it, although I haven't used new releases in awhile). Does he have a computer he can play the DVD on using VLC?
posted by puritycontrol at 5:25 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

If he has a computer with a DVD reader he (or you) can change the region on the computer to Reg. 2 and then change it back to 1 after you're done. I think you can change a PC's region 4 or 5 times in its life.
posted by melissasaurus at 5:44 AM on November 16, 2014

There's also a copy on The Pirate Bay...
posted by melissasaurus at 5:45 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Re the VLC thing: VLC on Windows will allow you to play foreign DVDs without changing your drive's region, but on a Mac you'll need to change the region whatever player you use.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:54 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Switching the region back and forth can only be done a few times on a mac; I wouldn't do it for a single movie. Were I you, I'd buy the DVD, use handbrake to copy it onto your computer, then either send him the file or burn it onto a dvd. Not the greatest solution but what are you gonna do?
posted by Erasmouse at 6:59 AM on November 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If he's comfortable with watching the DVD on a computer, I would just buy a generic USB DVD Drive to connect to his computer (can be had for $12-$16) . If it has to be switched to region 2 - then he can keep that as his Region 2 drive.
posted by nightwood at 7:21 AM on November 16, 2014

Some DVD players can install firmware updates via DVD or CD, and that often includes region-free firmware. A Google search for "[model of player] region free firmware" should let you know how difficult this would be, or if it's even possible for his model.

If it is possible, you burn the DVD/CD and send it to him. He would just have to pop it in and follow the directions, which may be as simple as pressing "OK" on the remote control or he may have to navigate to a sub-sub-sub-sub-menu and enter a code. And there's always the risk (however small) that it may brick his DVD player, though that's extremely unlikely.
posted by Woodroar at 7:47 AM on November 16, 2014

If you are comfortable with the possible copyright issues, it's entirely possible to rip the DVD iso, edit the 1-byte that sets the region, and burn a region-free (or R1) DVD. Then mail him both the original and the burned version, and tell him to play the burned one.
posted by fings at 8:21 AM on November 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm from Ireland and have lived in Canada and the US for 15 years. My parents have sent me Irish dvds from time to time.

I have always found the cheapest dvd players - the small square ones without a timer etc on the front which retail for 19 bucks in Canadian Tire or somewhere, of which I've been through a few - play dvds from any region no problem.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:18 AM on November 16, 2014

If you want to do things slightly more legitimately than pirating and don't want to mess with using a computer with VLC to play the DVD all the time, you could buy the region 2 DVD, have it sent to yourself, and then rip the DVD and burn a region free copy to send to him, along with the original.

Otherwise, getting a very cheap region 2 or region-free player is probably your best bet.
posted by Aleyn at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2014

Every DVD player I have ever come across in the past 10 years has a secret unlock code to make it region-free. Find out the model number if you can and use the Googles plus secret code "region free" or "region unlock" or "region free unlock code".
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:42 PM on November 16, 2014

Best answer: I will join in on the VLC crowd. I order DVDs from Amazon Italy all the time and they play great as long as I use VLC on my computer.

Another thing VLC is great for is exercise videos. If the fitness moves are too fast for me it allows you to slow down the playback by 10% intervals and allows you to horizontally flip the screen to make the instructor's right/left, match your right/left. And it's free to download too.
posted by rancher at 12:25 AM on November 17, 2014

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