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I have a favourite DVD i play on my player recorder (Panasonic) and yesterday it told me that the disc was non-compatible - strange that it has been playing it for some time. The disc is Region 1 - I bought it in the US. My recorder, I though was all regions but is specified as 2.
There is normally a way to switch between regions, although there are normally limits to the number of times you can switch.
Allegedly you can get a DVD player "chipped", but that sort of behaviour is not fit for discussion on PPRuNe. Your local highstreet dodgy may be able to advise further should you wish to persue that line of action.
I seem to remember on my Panasonic players it was possible, under the function or setup, to select region 1 or 2. Because of this I bought a region 1 DVD and it worked OK. However now it (region 1 DVD) only works on the blu ray player (BD35) so maybe this is time limited as mixtuer indicated above. I can't find any way of changing region now!
DVD Regionalisation is a disgrace. Anybody noticed that Blu-ray regions are different from standard DVD regions?
Fortunately I play DVDs and Blu-ray DVDs using a PC based Media Centre. There is a piece of software called AnyDVD which removes all the restrictions in real time and allows any region disc to play, the software runs in the background and is totally transparent in operation. Well worth the money in my view.
I have no connection with the software vendor but just hate the stitch up which is regionalisation.
At one stage Panasonic/Matsushita were actually a bit devious: they were legally obliged to only sell the drives locked in Europe, but then posted firmware upgrades on their website which rendered the drives "free" However somewhere along the line they got threatened by the law and had to pull back from doing this As far as I'm aware the other big manufacturer groups played things straight and never officially released any patches to do this - but some leaked unofficially. In some cases it was possible to flash one drive as another: e.g. there were occasions where it was possible to flash a locked Sony drive with the firmware from a differently branded (e.g. LG) but otherwise identical Optiarc product...... You could sometimes do the same with the TSS Samsung-Toshiba group products. However, unless you knew for sure, it was a good way of turning a drive into a brick. There are specialists sites devoted to this kind of thing
Of course, theres more than just the drive to worry about - the playback software also has to be region-free friendly, some of it isn't