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Play DVDs from any region Apps
Most Macs have region-encoded DVD drives, and you only get to change regions a few times before you get stuck with one region. On some Macs, it is possible to do complicated reflashing of BIOSes to get around this, but not on all, and that has its own dangers.

Instead, just play your DVDs using VLC. It just ignores region encoding, letting you play whatever DVD you like (it works this way with the PC version, too, in case you have one of those in addition to your Mac). It has a number of other nice features, like letting you skip previously-unskippable parts of DVDs ... and you can even take screenshots.

The only tiny problem with this is that Apple's DVD player will try to automatically load and make you change the region when you insert an out-of-region DVD. If you quit it, it will eject the DVD. You can either force-quit it, or for a more long-term solution, go into System Preferences -> CDs & DVDs, and disable auto-loading it when you run DVDs.
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Play DVDs from any region | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: defpo on Dec 06, '05 07:19:15AM

This will not work all the time. It depends on the drive in your computer. Some drives work fine doing this, some (MATSHITA in particular) won't let VLC run if the region code isn't set properly on the drive. And guess what drive ends up in portable, moving around, and traveling laptops?? (>_<)



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: tandle on Dec 06, '05 10:39:18AM

I can't say anything about all ibook/powerbooks but my ibook (1ghz 12") works fine with VLC and non-US region dvds. I purchase asian dvds a great deal, and not all of them are region 1 or 0. It is confirmed to have a mashita drive as well.



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: dmw on Dec 06, '05 07:08:20PM

I have no problem with foreign DVDs on VLC on either my dual G5, my mactel box, nor my powerbook.



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: fredshome on Dec 07, '05 06:35:44AM

Definitely doesn't work on my iBook with a Matshita CD-RW CW-8124 normally set for region 2.

I just tried it with a region 1 disk and while VLC briefly sees the title of the disk, it just stops without displaying an error. Opening the log window shows it just can't access the files on the disk so it finaly fails (cleanly) on a "nothing to play" message.

FWIW while I was at it I also tried a DVD ripping app called "HandBrake" (who thinks up names like these?) and it failed with "no valid titles found".

I don't think anything can be done without changing the firmware on that drive. Unfortunately last time I looked around it didn't seem to be possible for this specific model.



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: las_vegas on Dec 09, '05 11:02:41AM

The Matshita CW-8124 also won't override region encoding on a PC for the same reason. There are two simple solutions, but neither is free. You can add an external DVD drive that can be flashed or over-ridden (Any Pioneer brand will do), or replace the Matshita drive with a notebook version of the Pioneer (DVR-K05).



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: enidna on Sep 16, '06 02:43:34AM

There might be a solution to that. Sometimes I stick the disc in and force quit the DVD player -- but the DVD disappears from the Finder menu.

VLC has an File >> Open Disc feature. There are several options (it will even let you access the DVD menus!) and I recommend leaving it at the default and selecting OK.

I have a first generation macmini with the Matsushita CD-RW/DVD reader combo.

Hope that helps,
N

---
Flip Out: http://filebox.vt.edu/org/tkd/



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Bios? old pc user?
Authored by: ghay on Dec 06, '05 07:57:02AM

BIOS?

Mac's have open firmware, but not a BIOS.

The usual way to get a region free drive is to make it RPC-1 by flashing THE DEVICE'S firmware, not the computers.

This is only complicated as most of the firmware flashers are os9 based, and that's now legacy - well that and the drives Apple use now are hard to get the firmware off to patch to make RPC-1



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Bios? old pc user?
Authored by: Egrefen on Dec 06, '05 09:24:23AM

Sheesh. I'm slightly tired of mr. Know-it-alls hammering this line.

Let's see what Open Firmware does:
Interfaces components of the computer with one another, and the user.
Boots everything.
Basically handles Basic Input and Output, as a System.

Why, you might as well make an acronym out of that. Something like... BIOS! That's right, it's the same fsckinging thing. In fact, another word for BIOS is, as you'd expect it, "firmware".

Same
Fscking
Thing.

Sheesh, some morons...



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Bios? old pc user?
Authored by: bailey_ca on Dec 06, '05 08:58:20PM

That's it! If you kids don't stop arguing, I will turn this iMac around. We will go right back to PPCland, and you will NOT get to see IntelWorld. Do you want that?!

Stop the fussing. Mr. Know-it-all is just arguing semantics. OpenFirmware is indeed a BIOS by definition.

However, in popular language, OpenFirmware is the Mac BIOS, and "BIOS" is the PC screen you can only get to by hitting Del at startup. Or F1. Or Enter. Or whatever the manufacturer chooses.

Now sit down. We've got another seven hours until we get to the hotel, and I am NOT stopping at another rest area!



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Bios? old pc user?
Authored by: ghay on Dec 07, '05 05:02:59AM

Just going by the definition of firmware in the wikipedia!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmware

but hey - you obv. know better than the thousands of authors of the wikepedia.

signed

mr. know-nothing



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Bios? old pc user?
Authored by: neuroklinik on Dec 06, '05 09:28:20AM
Technically, Open Firmware is a type of BIOS. It's a "Basic Input Output System". See this link for more details: http://www.openfirmware.org/

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Bios? old pc user?
Authored by: rhowell on Dec 06, '05 10:58:22AM

From Wikipedia:

"BIOS, in computing, stands for basic input/output system. BIOS refers to the software code run by a computer when first powered on. The primary function of BIOS is to prepare the machine so other software programs stored on various media (such as hard drives, floppies, and CDs) can load, execute, and assume control of the computer....BIOS is sometimes called firmware because it is an integral part of the system hardware....In addition, plug-in adapter cards such as SCSI, RAID, Network interface cards, and video boards often include their own BIOS, complementing or replacing the system BIOS code for the given component."



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Bios? old pc user?
Authored by: Azumanga on Dec 07, '05 07:56:51AM

When I said reflash the BIOS, I meant the BIOS of the CD-ROM drive, although I'll admit that firmware is the more usual name... however, regardless of what we call it, we can (I believe) all agree it's hard, and getting harder, to do in Mac OS X (I spent quite a while trying to find a way of fiddling this in hardware on my ibook, and couldn't ever find something to do it which I trusted enough to install..)



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: hazkid on Dec 06, '05 08:24:23AM

You also can set the region code of a DVD to 0 (or anything, actually) using MacTheRipper.



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: bailey_ca on Dec 06, '05 08:59:59PM

Isn't that a workaround? Don't you then have to rip and burn the DVD to get it to work? I think the parent was trying to play the original discs.



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: aclarke on Dec 07, '05 11:17:26AM

It's still kind of a workaround, but you don't have to burn it back to DVD. You can play the DVD directly from your hard drive with VLC once you've ripped it with MacTheRipper.



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: sjk on Dec 07, '05 07:15:06PM

Or open the VIDEO_TS folderĀ in DVD Player for playback after ripping with MTR if you don't want to use VLC.



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: starwxrwx on Dec 07, '05 11:23:41PM

but if you can't read the DVD to begin with, MactheRipper is of no use.

(as is the case on my dual G5)



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: sjk on Dec 08, '05 11:54:00AM

Indeed. :-)



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Play DVDs from any region
Authored by: asmeurer on Dec 08, '05 06:20:24PM

Not only that, but VLC ignores copy protection. I copied a DVD with disk utility, but it didn't work in my DVD player (just became a garbled). When I put it in my Mac, DVD player told me that the copy protection was wrong or something. I opened it in VLC and it played fine.



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