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Advice: Justify region-free player please

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Advice: Justify region-free player please

Old 04-30-03, 02:21 AM
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Advice: Justify region-free player please

Okay, first off, if this should be moved to hardware, I apologize, but my dilemma deals with the region-free movies to justify purchasing a region-free player. Feel free to move, mods, but please consider leaving it 'cause I really want the opinions of people who watch "international" dvds. Thanks.

My current setup (yeah, it's pretty sad): 27" 4:3 RCA TV with a Toshiba SD-2109 player. I also have a 13-year-old Dolby 4-channel system with crappy front speakers and no rear speakers currently (they were horrid anyway before they blew out). Since moving into our latest apartment, I haven't even hooked up my stereo because I didn't want to disturb the neighbors. Needless to say, my "home theater" is sorely lacking, but since I'm in an apartment and have limited funds at the moment, it'll have to suffice. I'd rather watch DVDs than pay considerable money to upgrade all my hardware.

Which brings me to my problem: trying to justify the purchase of a region-free player like the Cyberhome 500. Based on what I've read over the last week or so, I wouldn't want to spend the extra money to get a Malata because I don't have an HDTV and have no plans to get one in the foreseeable future.

In my 4+ years at DVDTalk.com, I had never even visited "International DVD Talk" until a week and a half ago. I didn't care. But now, after reading and reading and reading so much about other regions, I need some advice.

I don't have a long list of movies that aren't available in region 1. The only two that spring to mind are "Dellmorte Dellamore" and "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane." The region 2 of "Dog Soldiers" looks better than the region 1 too. Oh, and I'm really looking forward to seeing/owning "28 Days Later."

I recently became aware of some of the Asian releases and some do interest me. The problem is "The Eye," "Battle Royalle," and a couple of others are actually available in region 0 NTSC; i.e. they should play on my Toshiba just fine. Another problem: you can't get sub $10 prices on Asian discs (or any discs, for that matter) from import retailers. (I hoarde coupons, Share the Love, gift certificates, use Columbia House DVD, etc.)

I guess I'm just looking for some general discussion to help me decide. No, the $85 Cyberhome 500 won't break me, but the movies shipped from overseas might. (I am a 33-year-old technical writer who's currently unemployed...)

In addition to general opinions from you guys, I also have a couple of specific questions:

1) Should I buy a region-free player to play fewer than 10 discs?

2) Is the Cyberhome 500 better than a Toshiba SD-2109 in terms of picture quality and features for simply playing region 1 discs?

Any thoughts and opinions would be most helpful. Thanks!
Old 04-30-03, 02:40 AM
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I'll give a few more examples of Asian discs that interest me:

Stacy (available region free NTSC)

Returner (also region free NTSC)

Visible Secret (once again: region free NTSC)

Yesterday (region 3 NTSC only)

So I like horror and sci-fi. I don't have much experience with Asian cinema at all (beyond "Ringu"), but it looks very cool.

And, adding to my dilemma, "Stacy," "Returner," and "Visible Secret" can by played on my current player.

Thanks again.
Old 04-30-03, 02:58 AM
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I currently own the JVC xv-sa600 and I could not live without it.

you can get region 0 dvd's of most any movie but usually there is a better version that is region 2 or 3 and that is why I love my JVC that and the pal conversion.
Old 04-30-03, 03:02 AM
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since you are on a tight budget you might want to just get region 0 discs now and get a region free player when you have more money to spend on DVD's. I spent $45 on returner and dont regret it even though now you can get it cheaper. most of the Korean movies I get are the region 3 version, even if a region 0 is available I usually opt for the original korean DVD.
Old 04-30-03, 04:05 AM
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bluntman72: Thanks for the advice. Why do you opt for the original Korean if there's a region 0 available? What do you mean by "better" region 2 or 3? Like "Dog Soldiers" region 2?

As for the JVC, I'm thinking about the Cyberhome 500 'cause it's cheap.
Old 04-30-03, 04:48 AM
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Korean discs are usually far more lavish in presentation and quality than their HK counterparts. They're also generally more expensive. For cheap region 3 HK discs (yes, we're talkin' under $10 cheap) check out some HK e-tailers like DDDHouse.com. You'll be shocked at the low prices. Most Chinese films are going to be all region, but there are a ton of great Japanese films out in HK that are R3 only. Compared to the outrageous prices that Japanese DVDs go for, these R3 Chinese alternatives are a godsend. Case in point: Kiyoshi Kurosawa's brilliant KAIRO (PULSE) can be had for around $7 on the R3 HK disc or for around $45 on the R2 Japanese disc. And it's the same transfer. I'd suggest browsing through DDDHouse, DVDShelf.com, YesAsia.com, etc. just to see what's out there and available. I'm sure you'll find enough to justify the purchase of the CyberHome.
Old 04-30-03, 05:22 AM
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Sartana: Thanks for the comments clarifying the differences between Korean and Japanese discs. I hadn't visited either DDDHouse.com or DDDShelf.com yet.

I have visited HKFlix.com, DVDasian.com and yesasia.com. I prefer HKFlix for the information, but DVDasian has great cover scans.

That's a considerable difference in price though for Kairo (Pulse), a title I am interested in. On DDDHouse.com, however, it shows the price as $40?

I noticed on DVDasian earlier tonight that Versus is going for $54.95! On yesasia, it's selling for $44.75. However, it's not available at any other sites I checked just now. Wow...

Hmm... Generally speaking, I'm the type that goes for the special features and "collector's editions" of DVDs. The HK cheapies: are they generally all stripped down versions?

I plan to take your advice and spend some time browsing DDDHouse.com especially. (DVDShelf.com looks next to impossible to browse due to the language barrier.)
Old 04-30-03, 07:44 AM
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i usually order from dvdasian. com they have great service and really fast shipping.

DVDude- another way of getting thse films for real cheap, is too just trade then with other members on these forums. i have been trading movies for about 2 years with others and have never gotten burned.
all you do is pay for shipping and mail it out the same time as the other person. here are some links to other great forums about asian dvds that i look through.

http://pub5.ezboard.com/bhongkongdvds
http://www.kfccinema.com/temple/index.php


the versus dvd is so exspensive due to the fact that most dvds from japan are higher priced. they have great features but dvd isn't as big of a market as it is here.
Old 04-30-03, 08:48 AM
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Because of your situation I've got to agree with the others who say skip the region free player right now and concentrate on the R0 asian releases. You'll get more discs if you put the $85 for the player into movies right now.

Also, you may think that you're only going to buy 1-2 other region releases, but you aren't. As you get into it and start seeing what is available in other regions but not here you're going to want those releases. You're going to buy those releases. It may start simple enough, checking out some sale DVDs at amazon.co.uk, and the next thing you know you've got a $100 in the shopping basket and are about to check out. You can deny it, but we've all been there. Everybody is at first. You get drunk with the power of region free and buy DVDs because you can.
Old 04-30-03, 09:02 AM
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No, you probably don't need a region free player. But do you really need any DVD player? In the grand scheme of things, if money is tight then paying your rent and buying groceries are a lot more important.

It's just a matter of what interests you and what your priorities are. If you don't think you'd wind up buying many international releases, it is probably not worth your time to purchase the player.
Old 04-30-03, 10:38 AM
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The prices listed on DDDhouse.com and DVDShelf.com are in Hong Kong Dollars. Roughly 8 HKD = 1 USD, so the Pulse dvd is about $5. You can go here to do a more accurate conversion: www.xe.com/ucc

Also, on DVDShelf, click on the English tab at the top of the page, and the site will be displayed in English. I agree with what some others have said. Hold off on the player for now. Once you get the player, you'll start finding more and more titles you want to pick up and end up spending more than you initially planned. I've got a region free player, but everytime I see a R2/R3 disc for $30+, I think to myself that I could buy that disc or get 4 dvds from Hong Kong for the same price. I usually go with the Hong Kong dvds.
Old 04-30-03, 12:39 PM
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dyerjp: Thanks for suggesting trading. I'm sorta more of an "owning" type of guy though.

As for a lot of the Japanese DVDs like Versus or Returner, I'm under the impression that most of the second, feature-laden discs don't have English subtitles, making them sort of pointless--unless you want to simply look at the images.

renaldow: I have self-control...sort of. Like I said, I use anything and everything to get my average under $10, even in this day of limited coupons and click sites. However, like the Japanese version of Returner, I think, "Wow, it's expensive, but it's a special edition compared to the HK cheapie." Money going down the drain...

Josh Z: Yeah, I know I don't need a region-free player. As for priorities, I have some disposable income, so I'm not starving to death here. Hmm... but maybe I should get region-free for those 16:9 Buffys?

D-Ball: It actually dawned on me that it was currency conversion and I had checked xe.com late last night. Thanks for the confirmation.

As for DVDShelf.com, I had missed the English tab. Thanks!

<HR>
Hmm... I'm leaning toward passing on the player for the time being and going with some of the region-free DVDs that are available. Any thoughts about whether or not certain DVDs like Kairo (Pulse) will be released in region-free any time soon?

And, again, any other thoughts from anyone are much appreciated. This helps a lot. Thanks!
Old 04-30-03, 12:53 PM
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Versus will be released in R1 in July so no need to get the expensive R2 right now if you were planning on it.
Old 04-30-03, 02:38 PM
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Originally posted by Fandango
Versus will be released in R1 in July so no need to get the expensive R2 right now if you were planning on it.
Thanks! From Media-Blasters, from what I've gathered after searching here after your post. Hopefully the quality will be great.
Old 04-30-03, 05:10 PM
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My $.02:

I'm actually in the same boat as you're in - 27" interlaced TV and a jury-rigged sound setup - and it's all but certain that I'm going to be going with a region-free player in the next few months (giving my Panasonic RV-32 to my mom, who still lives in the dak ages). It's not so much that I'm getting it for the movies that are out now as for the ones that might be coming out later. I mean, if I broke it down, really I'd basically be getting the region-free player just so that I could buy maybe five or six movies. It's just that God only knows what the future holds; maybe Rosetta and The Magnificent Ambersons aren't ever going to come out here, and maybe F For Fake'll show up in Region 2 someday. I dunno, so I'm hedging my bets

I've read that the CyberHome can be adjusted to a pretty decent level, so there's that to consider. If you're willing to spend a little more, there's a JVC with the mediamatics chip for $200 on HKFlix that basically looks like the much-praised 600 without the digital sound decoding. Me personally, I'm going to go with the Malata 520 (despite the interlaced TV - I'm not a rigid videophile, and I haven't read anyone saying that the 520 is intolerably irritating on an interlaced TV).

Anyway, nice to see that I'm not the only one looking to add region-free capabilities to a crappy setup
Old 04-30-03, 05:12 PM
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Originally posted by DVDude!
I'll give a few more examples of Asian discs that interest me:

Stacy (available region free NTSC)

Returner (also region free NTSC)

Visible Secret (once again: region free NTSC)

Yesterday (region 3 NTSC only)

So I like horror and sci-fi. I don't have much experience with Asian cinema at all (beyond "Ringu"), but it looks very cool.

And, adding to my dilemma, "Stacy," "Returner," and "Visible Secret" can by played on my current player.

Thanks again.
Here is a much cheaper price on the same version of Returner around 9$:

http://eshop.u333.com/eng/products/m...VD&location=HK

It's legit to, it is the distibuter's web site.
Old 04-30-03, 07:03 PM
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- the HK discs are well worth getting - I have PULSE, AVALON, DARK WATER, and INUGAMI, and they were all cheap.

- Cyberhome was also my first DTS player and my first MP3 CD player, so that helped justify it.

- FYI, STACY is coming out on R1 DVD from Synapse at some point.

just some thoughts for the mix.
Old 04-30-03, 07:14 PM
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I'm a proud owner of the Cyberhome 500 for Region-free NTSC/PAL and I also own the Panasonic RP-82 modded for regionfree NTSC playback. I'm heavily into Korean cinema, so I could not live without the region free capabilities.

What the other user was saying about the differences not only in price between a R0 HK version of a Korean movie and a R3 Korean version is sometimes mind boggling. Not only in the sheer number of extras, but also in the transfer, audio mix, etc. And quite a lot of Korean discs that are labeled R3 are also R1 as well. A movie I will put into question is Bichunmoo. There is a R0 (or is it R1?) Tai Seng release available. The problem is the transfer is butchered not only with horrible artifacts but also it's fullscreen!! The R3 2-Disc Korean release is much superior to this release. Also this movie has been picked up by Hong Kong Legends as part of the Premier Asia line.

If you get into Asian cinema at all, Hong Kong Legends or HKL for short will soon become Criterion-like for you. The extras are all subbed for the Bichunmoo DVD, and it also features of commentary by Bey Logan.

One word of advice is to research the movies you intend to buy (as most Asian films cost more then their US counterparts). I'm like you, I'm more of a buying person then a renter, so I like to own the movies personally. A good majority of my Korean movies I've read up on or gotten good word of mouth on. There's been a few that I've blind bought due to an actor I like or genre that I enjoy and for the most part I've yet to be disappointed. But there are numerous sites to read up on a movie review. Better to spend 5 minutes reading a movie review on a movie then spend $25-30 on a movie that you despise.

Hope this helps, and let me know if I can help any further.
Old 05-01-03, 07:57 AM
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dvdude----i was more of an owning type too, till i got my malata back in 2001, and i bought a bunch of PAL or other region dvds. but i konw what you mean. it is just an alternative, instead of paying a bunch for a movie that you haven't seen, just trade and if you don't like it, trade it with somebody else.
Old 05-01-03, 11:29 AM
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trdn89: Glad to hear that you're facing the same situation. I was starting to feel like I was the only one on this board that didn't have a 60" widescreen HDTV with a massive home theater setup.

For one thing, my current Toshiba SD-2109 will not play VCD/SVCD so I'm also using that as reasoning for purchasing the Cyberhome. I still have to wonder if the Cyberhome has a better picture (after adjustment to my set) and more features (other than region-free) than my 3 1/2-year-old Toshiba. Anyone?

MrBob: Thanks for the link. Any idea how much shipping is to the US? (I didn't see it on the site.) Also, is the "membership" free? (It reduces the price.) Thanks.

Thor: I'm interested in all of the movies you mentioned except "Inugami." Need to check that one out. However, "Pulse," "Avalon" and "Dark Water" sound pretty good. Thanks.

Oh, and I found out about the R1 release of Stacy from Synapse's website yesterday while checking on two other R1 releases that they have planned: Versus and Wild Zero. I think I'll wait for R1 for all three, even if I get the Cyberhome.

Civic2oo1: Your advice is very appreciated. I've been driving myself crazy reading various reviews of different releases of DVDs, trying to decide if the region-free player aspect is necessary when a particular movie has been released in R0 format.

It's very annoying that the special edition releases are soooo expensive. I don't know if I could justify over $30 for a DVD of a movie I've never seen. Plus, I have to wonder if the particular movie would eventually be released in R1 in a better edition with subbed extra features. If the transfer of the HK "cheapie" is the same (as is the case with "Kairo (Pulse), according to Sartana above), I think I'd probably go with that instead of paying more. I mean, for "Kairo" on dvdasian.com, there's a $40 difference in price. Whoa. And are the special features on "Kairo" subbed? If not, it's a waste, IMO.

dyerjp: Yeah, as for trading, maybe it is a viable alternative, especially for the more expensive DVDs. I mean, trading one high-dollar DVD for another is better than buying more and not liking them. Food for thought. Thanks.

<HR>
Another question: why do companies such as u333.com release some movies in R0 and some in R3?

I would think that it would be more profitable to simply release everything in R0. I wouldn't have to bother with a region-free player for the time being if all the asian flicks I'm interested in were simply available in R0. Sure, I wouldn't get the well-packaged, super-duper Japanese or Korean (i.e. expensive) edition, but I'd have the DVD.

Thanks again, folks. Much help.
Old 05-01-03, 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by DVDude!
For one thing, my current Toshiba SD-2109 will not play VCD/SVCD so I'm also using that as reasoning for purchasing the Cyberhome. I still have to wonder if the Cyberhome has a better picture (after adjustment to my set) and more features (other than region-free) than my 3 1/2-year-old Toshiba. Anyone?
The 2109 was well-regarded in its day. This was my first DVD player, and I'm still using it as a backup in another room.

The Cyberhome's emphasis is on cost-cutting, cramming in as many features for the lowest price point. Picture quality is not their strong point.

I think you'll still get a better picture out of your Toshiba, but the Cyberhome would be worthwhile as a secondary machine. I always recommend that if people are concerned about quality they should keep a dedicated Region 1 machine for most program material and a region-free unit on the side.
Old 05-01-03, 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by Josh Z
The Cyberhome's emphasis is on cost-cutting, cramming in as many features for the lowest price point. Picture quality is not their strong point.

I think you'll still get a better picture out of your Toshiba, but the Cyberhome would be worthwhile as a secondary machine. I always recommend that if people are concerned about quality they should keep a dedicated Region 1 machine for most program material and a region-free unit on the side.
Thanks. Now I have to wonder if I do get the Cyberhome whether or not I should have two players in the living room or relegate the Cyberhome to the bedroom (19" TV)... My girlfriend (we live together) would be pretty annoyed with two DVD players in the living room.

Having the Cyberhome in the bedroom seems like defeating the purpose though. If I'm just going to watch movies on a 19" TV, I might as well watch them on my 20" computer monitor. And for that, I don't need a dedicated VCD/SVCD player. Hmm...
Old 05-01-03, 02:19 PM
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If you don't want to spend the $85 on the Cyberhome, spend the $40 to get the Norcent. That's a nice, easy player. Nothing fancy but will play all regions.
Old 05-01-03, 04:40 PM
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Originally posted by moviezzz
If you don't want to spend the $85 on the Cyberhome, spend the $40 to get the Norcent. That's a nice, easy player. Nothing fancy but will play all regions.
Do you have one? I've been reading reviews and they seem pretty crappy. One guy in the threads I've read was so excited to get his Norcent, but then it died on him within a month or so. If the Cyberhome is more realiable, maybe that's a better choice.

Thanks for the suggestion. Keeping my options open.
Old 05-01-03, 04:47 PM
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I really wish that Xbox DVD Region X was available here in the US. That would make my life so much easier. Buy it for around $40 and have instant all region with my XBox. Plus, I could avoid the issue of having two DVD players (as suggested earlier) in the living room and incurring the wrath of my girlfriend.

I could simply buy a region 2 dongle, but that would limit me. I wouldn't need the XBox to play region 1 any more, but there are quite a few region 3 discs I'd like to buy.

I'm too squeamish about modding mine myself. Supposedly, from all the information I've just been researching for at least two hours, a modded XBox will play all regions. I'd probably break mine though and it was a Christmas present from the aforementioned girlfriend.

Anyone in the Atlanta area willing to mod my XBox for a fee? Lemme know.

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