22 February 2015

Unlock DVD Blu-ray RegionThis one is a lot of fun: You borrow a DVD from a friend, or you buy one online somewhere.

You stick it in your player.

And then, disaster strikes!

You get a message like “Region not allowed”, and the movie won’t play.

WTH?!

Welcome to the glorious world of Region Codes!

Sometimes, it’s possible to bypass this restriction, but it depends on your DVD/Blu-ray player.

Region codes explained

Region codes are basically DRM (digital rights management) techniques that allow studios to control the release of films in various regions. So, for example, they can release a new movie in the USA first, and then the UK, and then elsewhere.

If you’ve ever looked for movies on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, you’ll notice that DVD and Blu-ray movies are usually released in the USA first, and then a month or two later, they’ll appear for sale in the UK.

Region CodesWhy the movie studios do this is anybody’s guess, but mine is that they’re trying to make as much money as possible. Shocking, I know.

Now, let me just say that I don’t support pirating movies. But, here’s the thing: If I want to buy a movie in another country, I’m still paying for it. It’s not piracy. If I want to buy a movie in another country, in another currency, and if they’ll ship it to me, then what’s the biggie? There isn’t one, except that Uncle Hollywood says, “No!”

Well, screw you, Uncle Hollywood. I’m a rebel. You’ve got enough money, I’m not shortchanging anyone, I’m not pirating anything, and goddammit, I wanna watch my movie! 🙂

The following is a color-coded Region map for DVDs:

DVD Region Code Map

Blu-ray discs also have region codes, but most studios don’t enforce the region code restrictions, which are way more lax than for DVDs. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so there are no guarantees. Also, hacks that exist for Blu-ray players usually don’t turn off the region code setting for Blu-ray discs – it usually just makes playing DVDs a region-free experience. Sometimes, it also unlocks the Blu-ray region code, also.

As for DVD players, some are hackable, and some are not. Some are hackable until you update the player’s firmware (via ethernet, WiFi, or an update file on a USB stick). Then, the player is no longer region-free. YMMV (your mileage may vary), so be careful.

Hacked Off

Right, so: How do you hack your player?

That depends. Some manufacturers basically don’t allow it. Toshiba is kind of famous for having non-hackable players. Sony usually requires downloading a CD image, burning it to a disc, and playing the disc in your player. Samsung players are often hackable, but then they’ll issue a firmware update that resets the region code and disables the hack – lame! My personal preference is Philips, because almost all of their players are hackable.

The hacking process for some players is quite simple:

  1. Go here: http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhack
  2. Search for your model number, i.e. “Philips DVP2880
  3. Go through the list of instructions, and try it out!

The instructions will usually be something like this (this is just an example, specifically for the above player):

  1. Power ON the DVD player with no disc inside
  2. Goto SETUP and go to Preferences
  3. With preferences highlighted, Press NEXT CHAPTER>|, PREVIOUS CHAPTER |<, NEXT CHAPTER>|, PREVIOUS CHAPTER |<
  4. The OSD will show the current Region Code
  5. Press the Navigation Up or Navigation Down buttons to select your desired region, or 0 for region free
  6. Press OK to confirm your region selection

Poof! You’re done.

Note that different manufacturers have different methods for hacking the region code on their players. Not all hacks will work for you. For example, you may have the exact same model number, but the Australian version of the player instead of the EU version. Like I said, YMMV. But, usually on sites like VideoHelp.com, there will be several sets of instructions, so try them all before you give up.

How do I watch movies on my puter?

SlySoft AnyDVDPiece of cake!

Buy Redfox’s AnyDVD. You can use it for a free 21-day trial by downloading it here:

https://www.redfox.bz/en/download.html

The price is now a bit steep, but I’ve used it for years, and it really rocks. Many movies also contain added copy protection so that the disc won’t play on a computer. AnyDVD conveniently disables all that nonsense for you, on the fly. It’s one of my favorite bits of software, and it’s updated regularly to remove the latest copy protection mechanisms, so you can just watch your dang movies in peace.

Got another favorite player hack site? Post it in the comments below!

Also, don’t miss:

HD Home Theater Setup: HDMI vs Optical, 5.1 vs 7.1, and everything else

Make Your DVD or Blu-ray Player Region-Free
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82 thoughts on “Make Your DVD or Blu-ray Player Region-Free

  • 12 August 2018 at 11:15
    Permalink

    Heh Scottie – I was wondering if you could help me out with a simple hack for my Panasonic DMP-BDT 210 UK player.
    trying to get it to play American Blu ray discs is this possible through some remote control hack?
    Any advice would be kindly appreciated.

    Cheers David

    Reply
  • 14 August 2018 at 03:29
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    Hi there I have just brought a Australian LG UBK80 DVD player can it be altered to multi region player please

    Reply
  • 24 October 2018 at 07:58
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    Hey- I can’t find my Sony RMT-VB201U

    Reply
    • 24 October 2018 at 12:05
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      Sony players are usually notoriously difficult to hack. They usually required burning a CD/DVD and playing it to hack the player. So, due to the difficulty, hacks aren’t too common for Sony’s in my experience.

      Reply
  • 24 October 2018 at 22:08
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    Hi. Scottie. I have Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M mega changer with I would hate to part with, but will have to if it can’t be made region free. Would you know if it is possible.

    Reply
  • 1 November 2018 at 14:41
    Permalink

    We have a number of treasured movies on VHS. We can copy some to disc, others do not allow copying. Is there any way to by-pass this?

    Reply
    • 1 November 2018 at 14:50
      Permalink

      Easily? No. I have a friend who was doing this with old home movies, and even without any copy protection, he still had a heckuva time. There were a couple of tapes he simply couldn’t copy despite his high-techiness.

      Reply
    • 25 November 2018 at 13:48
      Permalink

      Oh wow! That’s handy. When I checked some years ago, Sony’s were the most difficult to hack. Good news!

      Reply
  • 6 December 2018 at 03:37
    Permalink

    Hi Scottie
    Can you please tell me if I can be the make my Soniq portable dvd player region free? I almost got it, but couldn’t change the number.
    MODEL NO. Soniq QMD71B
    Thanks

    Reply

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