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International DVD Talk Intl. DVDs, Region Free Players, RCE, Hong Kong DVDs & More

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Old 03-15-12, 12:11 PM   #1
big e
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Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

I'm looking into getting a region free BD player to watch some region B discs, and I'm debating whether to build a HTPC with a BD drive or buy a BD player that could be hacked to become region free. The HTPC would probably be the best option regarding versatility, but I'm looking at $300-$400 minimum on the HTPC and would like to avoid spending that if possible, not to mention I don't really have room in my entertainment center for a PC.

I've been looking at the "Panasonic DMP-BD60 is Capable of Playing Region B and C Disc" thread and have noticed the Panasonic DMP-BD75 has been on sale lately at Best Buy. I inquired in that thread whether or not the BD75 was hackable, but never got a response. I would prefer to buy a domestic BD player that could be made region free through a controller hack (i would like to avoid hardware mods), but haven't been able to find a lot of information regarding newer models online. Does anyone here have any suggestions for a decent inexpensive BD player that could be made region free?
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Old 03-15-12, 12:45 PM   #2
Subgeniusguy
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

I just bought a refurb Insignia NS-BRDVD4 off ebay for $32 shipped. I had to install an older firmware on it that allowed region changing. Not a super great player but good for the price and region changing capabilities. I won't be able to update the firmware which may limit some future discs. Presently it's region free for DVD and I can change regions for Blu Ray from the menu. Does pretty decent upconversion for my DVD's.
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Old 03-15-12, 01:18 PM   #3
Lastdaysofrain
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

I highly recommend 220 Electronics. They do hardware mods on their systems so you don't have to worry about firmware. I've very happy with the LG I picked up from them last year.
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Old 03-15-12, 10:48 PM   #4
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

Yeah, I even imported an Insignia from America, and even with shipping ended up around $80. The Panasonic ones seem better in quality, but remember that they cannot convert PAL signals to NTSC, which many Region B discs have in content as extras.
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Old 03-16-12, 05:54 AM   #5
big e
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

Do the Insignias need a hardware mod, or can they become region free through a firmware or controller hack?

I just noticed I misspelled region in my title. Could a mod correct that for me?
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Old 03-16-12, 01:17 PM   #6
clckworang
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

The Insignias require you to install an older firmware. The newer firmware disables the ability to switch regions.
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Old 03-16-12, 03:32 PM   #7
Subgeniusguy
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

Manicsounds is right about the Panasonics, the inability to display PAL is a huge hindrance. The workaround only works on some Blu Rays and won't allow you to play foreign DVD's at all. The Insignia is a good cheap player. There is no hardware mod required. Details about the hack can be found at Videohelp. I was able to get the old firmware at the Blu-ray.com forum. When you enter the code on the remote, a new menu item appears called "configure player". It allows you to change DVD region to region free and you have to us this menu item to change the BD region everytime you switch regions. People say that if you unplug the player the menu item disappears and you have to re-enter the code again.

There is a so-called "enhanced firmware" available for many of the Panasonics that allow them to be region free for both Blu Ray and DVD, play PAL video and gets rid of UPO's (user prohibited operations). To get this firmware though, you have to pay a "donation" to a third party and many people have expressed a great deal of frustration in dealing with this third party.

I have a computer in my theater room which allows me to play region encoded discs. I wanted the Insignia for my living room. Ideally, I would like to have had a hardware modded Oppo player, but the $32 Insignia gets the job done as far as I'm concerned. I wish I had bought a second one at that price but they can still be had pretty cheap. Many Insignia ns-brdvd4's on Ebay are being sold as broken and without remotes. One even says it plays DVD's and won't play Blu Rays. Make sure you read the auctions carefully to be sure you are buying a working player. The seller I bought mine from does not have any more.

Last edited by Subgeniusguy; 03-16-12 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Ebay warning
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Old 03-16-12, 08:31 PM   #8
big e
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subgeniusguy View Post
Manicsounds is right about the Panasonics, the inability to display PAL is a huge hindrance. The workaround only works on some Blu Rays and won't allow you to play foreign DVD's at all. The Insignia is a good cheap player. There is no hardware mod required. Details about the hack can be found at Videohelp. I was able to get the old firmware at the Blu-ray.com forum. When you enter the code on the remote, a new menu item appears called "configure player". It allows you to change DVD region to region free and you have to us this menu item to change the BD region everytime you switch regions. People say that if you unplug the player the menu item disappears and you have to re-enter the code again.

There is a so-called "enhanced firmware" available for many of the Panasonics that allow them to be region free for both Blu Ray and DVD, play PAL video and gets rid of UPO's (user prohibited operations). To get this firmware though, you have to pay a "donation" to a third party and many people have expressed a great deal of frustration in dealing with this third party.

I have a computer in my theater room which allows me to play region encoded discs. I wanted the Insignia for my living room. Ideally, I would like to have had a hardware modded Oppo player, but the $32 Insignia gets the job done as far as I'm concerned. I wish I had bought a second one at that price but they can still be had pretty cheap. Many Insignia ns-brdvd4's on Ebay are being sold as broken and without remotes. One even says it plays DVD's and won't play Blu Rays. Make sure you read the auctions carefully to be sure you are buying a working player. The seller I bought mine from does not have any more.
Does the older firmware work with any Insignia or does it only work on specific models?
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Old 03-16-12, 09:23 PM   #9
Subgeniusguy
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

I have an Insignia NS-BRDVD4 so I use firmware specifically for that model.
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Old 04-05-12, 03:17 AM   #10
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

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Originally Posted by Lastdaysofrain View Post
I highly recommend 220 Electronics. They do hardware mods on their systems so you don't have to worry about firmware. I've very happy with the LG I picked up from them last year.
Which is the player you bought ? I'm looking to get a region free player that plays all regions of dvds and all regions of blu-ray, which not all of them seem to play. They all play all regions of dvds, but some only play region A blu-rays.
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Old 04-05-12, 07:07 AM   #11
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

I got the LG that plays all region Blus, it was on sale and I got it for about $150 shipped I think.

You do have to put in a very easy remote code to switch blu ray regions, but DVD regions are automatic.
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Old 04-05-12, 08:24 AM   #12
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

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Originally Posted by Lastdaysofrain View Post
You do have to put in a very easy remote code to switch blu ray regions, but DVD regions are automatic.
I think that's true of all Blu-Ray hacks, though, so the slight inconvenience is at least fairly equal across the board (you have to manually "switch" Blu-Ray, but not DVD).
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Old 04-07-12, 07:16 AM   #13
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

I have an Insignia NS-BRDVD2 (not the BRDVD4) that I got from the Best Buy site for about $55 shipped and have been very happy with it.

The code is easy to plug in and boom...good to go! My only gripe about the players is the remote is not the best, but I can live with that if it means I can get some good imports on the cheap.
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Old 05-29-12, 04:16 PM   #14
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

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Originally Posted by DVDMagic View Post
I have an Insignia NS-BRDVD2 (not the BRDVD4) that I got from the Best Buy site for about $55 shipped and have been very happy with it.

The code is easy to plug in and boom...good to go! My only gripe about the players is the remote is not the best, but I can live with that if it means I can get some good imports on the cheap.
I bought the same player as you. Configured it this past weekend and enjoyed my first Region B BD. Can't wait to buy more.
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Old 05-31-12, 02:07 PM   #15
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

Deal of the Day: refurbished Insignia for $39.99 shipped
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Old 07-16-12, 03:56 PM   #16
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

Don't mess around with the cheap stuff- get an Oppo BDP-93 and then look on Ebay for a small board you can plug into the back to make it region-free (DVD can be set to region 0, BDs must be set for each region.)
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Old 07-22-12, 01:02 PM   #17
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

Can anyone tell me how to make my LG BP-220 region-free for DVDs or Blu-ray discs or both? I see that there are quite a few eBay sellers selling this player region-free...

The wife bought this player, and apart from the ability to be made region-free, I'm disappointed in it, as it likes to freeze indiscriminately and sometimes will give me a "check disc" message on a disc that'll play fine after it's been turned off then on again. At least it upconverts my R0 PAL discs, so that's one plus.
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Old 07-22-12, 02:26 PM   #18
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

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Originally Posted by Chris-K View Post
I see that there are quite a few eBay sellers selling this player region-free...
All of the searches that come up for it on various Ebay sites are all units that have Hardware Modifications to make them 100% BD/DVD Region Free.
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Old 07-24-12, 07:35 AM   #19
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re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

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Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
Don't mess around with the cheap stuff- get an Oppo BDP-93 and then look on Ebay for a small board you can plug into the back to make it region-free (DVD can be set to region 0, BDs must be set for each region.)
A halfway-in-between compromise for someone wanting quality, but without the amount of cash for a new BDP-93 or 95, would be for them to look on eBay and buy one of the previous model players (BDP-80 or BDP-83) instead.

I did this when I bought my 52" TV late last year and got a used 83 for about $320. Of course, a used 80 could probably be had for even less.

Some might slag off buying a used one (the BDP-83 for my 60" TV is a new unit that I bought at the same time as the TV), but I'll tell you this story. After a bit, it developed a loader problem. I emailed Oppo about it and they repaired it for FREE, even paying the shipping BOTH ways!. They never asked if I was the original owner, never asked for proof-of-purchase receipt, nothing!

A true class act, and yet another reason it pays (in the long run) to pay a bit more for a quality product from a quality company.
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Old 08-22-12, 10:57 PM   #20
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Re: Looking to get a region free Blu-ray player

I currently have the Insignia blu ray with the older firmware. It gets the job done, but I'm wanting to upgrade at some point. I will likely purchase from 220 Electronics since I've had good luck with them in the past (I have a Pioneer DVD player that I just love).

Here's what irks me about the Insignia:

--the Display only shows how much time has elapsed in the movie, but does not show time left or length of an individual chapter.

--No resume when the power's turned off on blu-rays; spotty on regular DVD's.

--My Pioneer DVD player will play sound when Fast Forwarding at 1.4x speed; I think this is a wonderful feature to watch documentaries/extras on a disc, or a commentary track without committing to the full length of the film (especially helpful for commentators who lapse into long-ish pauses).

Are there any blu-ray players that satisfy the above criteria that are sold by 220 Electronics?

Peter
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