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

Why doesn't everyone own a region-free DVD player?

Old 07-03-02, 10:23 AM
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Why doesn't everyone own a region-free DVD player?

Considering you can pick up models like the Apex or Daewoo for under $100, why the heck doesn't everyone have one? I, of course, don't really mean EVERYONE everyone, but there are so many posters on DVD Talk that mention, "Gee that spiffy DVD is out in R2, I sure hope it comes to R1". Why don't these people just get a cheapo region-free unit and start enjoying all the cool stuff the other regions have to offer (for instance, the entire first season of CSI is now available in R2).

Here are the only arguments I can think of:

1) "Can't afford another player." Rebuttal: "Why didn't you get the cheapo region-free to start with?" or "Lay off the desserts or smokes for two weeks and you can afford one (Daewoo 5800 is $89)."

2) "Don't understand how to hack the players to make them region-free." Rebuttal: "If you can install computer software, you can easily do this."

3) "My wife won't let me buy another player." Rebuttal: None, I'm married.

It just pains me to see you folks being miserable and complaining about the goods that other regions get, when the solution to your problems is so easy and achievable. Thank you.
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Old 07-03-02, 10:55 AM
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that's easy - the average consumer wants to buy a name brand for a DVD player, i.e. Sony, Panasonic, etc.

Sort of the same reason why everyone doesn't own a Japanese or German car.
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Old 07-03-02, 10:58 AM
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I'd imagine it is because there is not a "mainstream" solution to the problem. That is - I doubt I'd have gotten a region free player had it not been for the dvd talk forums. I took a chance and bought a Malata N996 based on the feedback on this forum - it's a great player, but one I'd shy away from as it wasn't from one of the known brands.

Then too there is the purchasing of discs from overseas operations. While I have had good luck *knock wood* with the suppliers I've used I'm sure there are some that aren't nearly as good. And then what to do with returns? (esp with the player)

In that sense it kind of requires a sense of adventure to go region free - but speaking for myself I feel the results are well worth it. If was strictly R1, I wouldn't have Chariots of Fire in widescreen, nor The Trois Couleurs Trilogy or Ab Fab's:The Last Shout at all... Nowadays I always check dvdcompare before making a purchase. Are most willing to go through this research? Probably not - the fact that the search button seems to go unused on this forum seems indicative of the general mood of people for instant gratification. Whereas with time and effort they could uncover some real finds. Of course, your mileage may vary.
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Old 07-03-02, 11:12 AM
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I've often thought the same when reading posts like, 'When will (insert title here) come to R1?' Hey, buy yourself a Malata or JVC (excellent price especially with built-in decoders, pal--ntsc conversion, region free...) I don't want to hear/read anyone moan and groan about they can't see this or that....But if your dvd viewing is more mainstream, then you may not care, but if it is more eclectic, 'art house', foreign films, then it is almost a must. Like stingo said, you have to take a chance and some people may not want to invest the money. I've had no problems ordering over seas as I stay with the big boys like Amazon UK/FR, cdjapan, streets'...
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Old 07-03-02, 05:56 PM
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Some people sense the picture quality will not be the same with a PAL-NTSC conversion. I have a Malata, and while I enjoy it, the picture quality issue was one I thought of before buying it.
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Old 07-03-02, 06:49 PM
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I've been fortunate so far in that both of my multi-region players were bought in HK on business trips, both are brand name units (Denon and Sharp) and both were less than $300.

However if I had to purchase one online I'd be willing to do it as I enjoy watching Region 2 movies (Japan) and Region 1, which I import from the US and Canada.

-g
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Old 07-04-02, 01:47 AM
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I do not want to buy a DVD player through mail-order, and there are no stores in my city that sell region-free players. They're not as common as they are in the UK, where they can be found easily.
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Old 07-04-02, 02:44 AM
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Here in Finland it's legal to make a region free modification to your dvd player. Is it illegal in other countries?

I bought a Pioneer player and got the region free modification to it. Modification cost about 85 euros.
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Old 07-04-02, 11:43 AM
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Because a decent multiregion player does cost more than $89. True, the machines you mention can be hacked to play multiregion discs, but they unfortunately cannot handle doing PAL/NTSC conversion *while* decoding an anamorphic DVD. You end up viewing a squeezed full screen distorted pic, which isn't fun or worthwhile. Sure, for non-anamorphic DVD's they work fine, but if you're going to be buying other region discs, why not by a player that can actually play anamorphic titles properly?
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Old 07-04-02, 06:54 PM
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amazon.co.uk sells a bunch of multi-region players... it's more common in other countries I guess. I'd say the US is the first country to really get serious about DVD so it seems that region 1 has the most DVDs available.
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Old 07-04-02, 07:57 PM
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although i have a couple of region free players (the cheap ones), i've noticed that they have more difficulty w/ dvds than my toshiba cheap dvd player. not sure why. dvds will freeze for a few seconds or break up. also, my universal remote won't handle them b/c they're not supported.

anyway, they suffice for now but i can see myself getting a more top-of-the-line region free player w/ progressive scan in the future.
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Old 07-04-02, 08:09 PM
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Originally posted by lostatmidnight
I've often thought the same when reading posts like, 'When will (insert title here) come to R1?' Hey, buy yourself a Malata or JVC (excellent price especially with built-in decoders, pal--ntsc conversion, region free...) I don't want to hear/read anyone moan and groan about they can't see this or that....But if your dvd viewing is more mainstream, then you may not care, but if it is more eclectic, 'art house', foreign films, then it is almost a must.
Easy answer to the original question: the players all suck. you mention JVC? My first player was a JVC and I had more problems with that damn thing than I have any electronic in my life. I will never buy anything from JVC again. Not to mention the squeezing/stretching problems already mentioned. Everytime I research an all region player, I read comments that just makes it not seem worth it. If you don't want to hear people complain about things not being available.....well then don't read most of the posts here. Like it or not, most of the people here only have R1 NTSC players, and things probably won't change until better solutions are available.

Also, I am not interested in owning converted to PAL versions of films anyway. The sound speed up annoys the freaking hell out of me. I really cannot stand it at all. Sure, PAL people like to make snide comments about PAL having better resolution and all that......but any format that bases itself on 25 frames per second when the entire industry of film itself uses 24 as a standard is just really inane to me. I seriously would just rather until the Region 1 comes out.....but that is just my opinion. I can wait. I cannot afford everything I want that comes out now, and having to wait for some things helps keep that in check.
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Old 07-05-02, 12:57 AM
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As far as I am concerned, I cannot understand why the US does not (to the best of my knowledge) sell multi-system TVs as more or less the standard, and DVD payers that can cope with both PAL and NTSC input/output.

I live in Australia where it is possible to get any brand of DVD player on the market across the counter already set up as multi-region capable and where most TV sets sold are multi-system.

As for the NTSC vs PAL debate, I cannot for the life of me understand how people can claim to be annoyed by the PAL speed-up. I have a number of titles where I own copies of the DVD in both the PAL and NTSC format, and I quite honestly notice no difference at all - and this is going through a full blown home theatre set-up (audio wise - could do with a larger TV). I would argue that the scan lines are far more visible on NTSC output, but by no means so bad that they bother me in any way.

As for this idea that everything will eventually be released in Region 1... well, that is very debatable and even those titles that are, are not guaranteed to be the best version available.

I have a collection that comprises DVDs from Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4 and I would say that the majority of releases I have that are not from Region 1 are not available in Region 1 - furthermore, I would be very surprised if a lot of those will ever see a release in Region 1 - titles like Party7, Inugami, St John's Wort, Swallowtail Butterfly, Stereo Future etc.

regards, Tim...
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Old 07-05-02, 08:25 AM
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Originally posted by garmonbozia


Also, I am not interested in owning converted to PAL versions of films anyway. The sound speed up annoys the freaking hell out of me. I really cannot stand it at all. Sure, PAL people like to make snide comments about PAL having better resolution and all that......but any format that bases itself on 25 frames per second when the entire industry of film itself uses 24 as a standard is just really inane to me.
But, um, NTSC systems play at 30 frames per second, not 24. So there's a time change there as well, by your rationale.

Can't disagree about the players being crap, though.
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Old 07-05-02, 02:39 PM
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I'm not sure why everyone thinks the players are crap. I have a cheap Sampo 620 (cost about $130 when I got it) which I use as my main player for all regions. The picture is beautiful and the sound is great. Sure, it doesn't convert anamorphic widescreen from PAL, but I only have one or two movies in anamorphic PAL anyway. The bulk of my other region discs are TV shows (Thunderbirds, Prisoner, Family Guy, Futurama, ST:TNG for the cool packaging, Danger Man, Danger Mouse, Bottom live shows, New Statesman, Mr. Bean, etc.) and music video compilations (A-ha, Ultravox, FGTH) - all of which are full-frame. I have no problems whatsoever with these titles, and it's these discs which I really enjoy getting from R2, as it will likely be years before they are out here, if ever.
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Old 07-05-02, 08:25 PM
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From a UK perspective multiregion seems a must to me. With the US market in dvds taking off earlier and being just plain bigger than the UK market, there's still a great deal available in R1 that isn't in R2 - plus lots of titles come out R1 long before R2.
Add to that cheaper disks from R4 and dirt cheap ones from R3.
NTSC seems to present no problems to any players or tvs here, and my (cheap) machine plays anamorphic titles from every region, and they look great. There's really no downside to multiregion here.
If i'm talking to people here about buying a player i always tell them to make sure its got a simple remote-control hack. Here in the UK at least, you'd be crazy to do otherwise
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Old 07-05-02, 08:34 PM
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The Malata N 996 is not crap by any means. There have been glitches I will admit that but the picture is nothing short of fantastic on the one that I have no matter what Region DVD I play, Pal or NTSC. I have never noticed that PAL speed up either on any of the PAL DVD I own either.

I wouldn't think of NOT owning a Region free player especially since some DVD release here in the USA are Pan & Scan and overseas you can get the Widescreen version. That alone for me is a great reason to own one. Take the Principal for instance, comes out here in Pan & Scan, Region 2 glorious Widescreen.
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Old 07-09-02, 06:41 AM
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But, um, NTSC systems play at 30 frames per second, not 24. So there's a time change there as well, by your rationale.
Do some research before speaking. There is no time change with NTSC.

I have had a Malata N996 for just under 12 months and after the firmwareupgrade, i have had zero problems. It is an oustanding player and takes everything I throw at it.
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Old 07-09-02, 08:49 AM
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Originally posted by garmonbozia


Easy answer to the original question: the players all suck. you mention JVC? My first player was a JVC and I had more problems with that damn thing than I have any electronic in my life. I will never buy anything from JVC again. Not to mention the squeezing/stretching problems already mentioned. Everytime I research an all region player, I read comments that just makes it not seem worth it. If you don't want to hear people complain about things not being available.....well then don't read most of the posts here. Like it or not, most of the people here only have R1 NTSC players, and things probably won't change until better solutions are available.

Also, I am not interested in owning converted to PAL versions of films anyway. The sound speed up annoys the freaking hell out of me. I really cannot stand it at all. Sure, PAL people like to make snide comments about PAL having better resolution and all that......but any format that bases itself on 25 frames per second when the entire industry of film itself uses 24 as a standard is just really inane to me. I seriously would just rather until the Region 1 comes out.....but that is just my opinion. I can wait. I cannot afford everything I want that comes out now, and having to wait for some things helps keep that in check.
Didn't have your coffee this morning or what? There is nothing wrong with players that have been mentioned, such as the JVC or Malata but a few quirks that are associated with any player and blown out of proportion by usual internet hyperbole. Why don't you want to see PAL films? There is no lose of quality if you have the proper player and are your sense that sensitive to the speed up that it deters from watching a film? Most people I have talked to either never recongize the speed up or understand its the best there is. Money? Now some of these playes are under $300. Great price for what you get. Until the US produces mult-standard tv's or purchase one, this is all there is. Until then I and others will enjoy discs from all regions.
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Old 07-09-02, 12:49 PM
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Originally posted by Matt Stevens

I have had a Malata N996 for just under 12 months and after the firmwareupgrade, i have had zero problems. It is an oustanding player and takes everything I throw at it.
Matt how did you have the firmware upgrade done, what does it entail, and what did it accomplish; we are still having dts problems with the 996; I was showing the river wild full bit rate to guests this week and it kept getting worse and worse and worse so we had to take it out and finish it on the sony
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Old 07-09-02, 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by lostatmidnight


Didn't have your coffee this morning or what? There is nothing wrong with players that have been mentioned, such as the JVC or Malata but a few quirks that are associated with any player and blown out of proportion by usual internet hyperbole. Why don't you want to see PAL films? There is no lose of quality if you have the proper player and are your sense that sensitive to the speed up that it deters from watching a film? Most people I have talked to either never recongize the speed up or understand its the best there is. Money? Now some of these playes are under $300. Great price for what you get. Until the US produces mult-standard tv's or purchase one, this is all there is. Until then I and others will enjoy discs from all regions.
lol I admit I was cranky when I wrote that post. I don't notice the PAL speed up on the video, nor on most of the audio, but I do notice it during any music. The pitch changes and drives me crazy.
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Old 07-09-02, 02:07 PM
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"...The pitch changes..."

...well, strictly speaking the pitch doesn't change at all - it's the same all through the movie (dialog, sound effects, background music, whatever)...

...incidentally, a musician friend of mine assures me that the ~4% PAL speed-up represents a pitch increase of approximately one-half of one quarter tone... something that, he again assures me, wouldn't be noticed by all but the exceedingly rare people who can claim to possess 'perfect pitch', a.k.a. 'golden ears'... even most musicians - classical, pop, rock, jazz - wouldn't know the difference - unless someone pointed it out to them...

...and, of course, video- or film-based programs (SitComs, Movies, Plays, Operas, Concerts, Series, Mini-Series) which are produced by/for television companies in the world's many PAL regions (UK, France, Germany, Australia, etc.), are in all probability videographed/filmed at 25fps, and so are not subject to the PAL speed-up, picture- and/or sound-wise... any (PAL) DVDs of such programs would thus be just as 'good', picture- and/or sound-wise, as native NTSC program material on NTSC discs...

Q.E.D.

. . . . . .
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Old 07-09-02, 03:37 PM
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Originally posted by d2cheer
The Malata N 996 is not crap by any means. There have been glitches I will admit that but the picture is nothing short of fantastic...
No sh|t! I don't know WTF that other guy is smoking. Malata is the only real solution in the U.S. for codefree players and it does a damn fine job for a mere $300!

Personally, I don't want everyone to get a regionfree player. My reasoning is simple: more codefree players in the market means it's far more likely that the studios are going to keep trying new forms of RCE on their newer DVD releases to make these kinds of players useless. I'd rather not have that hassle.
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Old 07-09-02, 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by Hendrik
"...The pitch changes..."

...well, strictly speaking the pitch doesn't change at all - it's the same all through the movie (dialog, sound effects, background music, whatever)...
I didn't mean the pitch changes within the film. I meant that the pitch is different from what I remember the music sounding like when I saw it before. This may not be the norm because I haven't watched all that many PAL transfers, but the few I have seen have bothered me. Believe me or not, I couldn't care less.
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Old 07-09-02, 04:49 PM
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I really do not understand all the technical aspects of film to PAL conversion but this site:

http://www.disctronics.co.uk/technol...video_film.htm

says:

When converting film to video it is necessary to convert the frame rate. Film to PAL conversion usually involves speeding up the film from 24 fps to 25 fps and using a pitch correction for the audio.
So if the pitch is corrected, what's the problem? Or is this site all wet?

In any event, I have never been bothered by pitch while watching a PAL disc.
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