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I originally posted this in Digital World, but on reflection I think it might be best here:
My daughter, who is away at university, has bought herself a new laptop and is having trouble with region changes in the DVD player. I am pretty sure that she is using Windows media player, as she hasn't got any sofware other than XP. Here, in her exact words, are details of the problem:
"So, Dad, what happened is this.
My laptop, when I got it, said that my DVD player had 5 region changes before it became fixed. So, because I have both USA and European DVDs of both regions, I used up 3 of the changes.
Right now the situation is that it's on setting for region 1 and it says it has 1 change
left. So, as my final change I want to move it back to European setting and leave it there so that is where it will be fixed. I should be able to now change it back, which is where the problem is.
When I try to change it I get, first a message which says 'Warning, you only have one change remaining. Please ensure you wish to make this change afterwhich your DVD player will be fixed.'
(or words to that effect). So I click OK because that's what I want. Then another box pops up which says 'Error; Please ensure your have inserted region 2 media in the DVD player, and make sure you have administrative priveleges to
make this change.' (it says this whether or not I have region 2 media in the drive). My DVD player is a Matsu*!@:a DVD player. I have tried playing Region 1 media in the player and it plays just fine, so it will play. It's just
changing it which is the problem. Ive looked on the Matsu*!@:a website to little avail. Hope this helps. Its really annoying."
If anyone has any suggestions that might solve her problem, she and I would be most grateful.
There are actually up to 3 region protections on a system:
- 1 in the DVD drive
- 1 in the Operating System (windows) - More info on Windows region management.
- 1 in the software player (eg. WinDVD, PowerDVD...)
When you flash your drive with a region free firmware (RPC-1), you remove the region counter from the drive itself completely, but with this counter gone, the software counters kick in to replace the one from the DVD drive. This means that you still have these other 2 to defeat!!!.
An alternate region free solution that is available for some drives is known as an "Autoreset" firmware: Instead of removing the counter from the drive completely, the counter simply resets itself to an unlocked state when the computer is restarted. This way, the drive appears as region protected (RPC-2) but the counter can be changed indefinitely. Creating autoreset patches is slightly more difficult for the patcher, but makes the life of the user easier because DVD Genie and Region Killer are not required as they are for RPC-1 firmwares.
On the other hand, it's easy for software manufacturers to detect autoreset firmwares, and if they decide to do so, you will still need a software patch in the long run. This is why RPC-1 firmwares are seen by most as the long term solution.
So, unless a program like DISCInfo click here or Drive Region Info (see the Utilities section on the Homepage) tells you that your drive is still protected or you used an autoreset firmware, your drive IS region free, and any region counters that you still see come from software region settings.
To bypass that, you need to use programs such as DVD Genie click here or DVD Region Killer click here (the later is highly recommanded).
Note: Currently, the only software region free solution when using WinDVD Platinum to play DVD's is WinDVD Tweaker Pro ($18.00 US)click here
xvi has written up an excellent article with even more information click here.
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