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Play any region-coded DVD Other Hardware
Here's one way to make your Mac play most any DVD, regardless of its assigned region coding:
  1. Get an external DVD drive -- the internal drive does not seem to allow region-free viewing!
  2. Install VLC media player.
  3. Create an auto-run AppleScript for VLC. Open Script Editor (Applications » AppleScript » Script Editor), and paste in this code:
    (* LaunchVLCDVD by Mohan Noone, 2009 drmohan@aol.in*)
    
    set diskname to "/dev/rdisk" & ((length of (list disks)) - 1)
    activate application "VLC"
    
    tell application "Finder"
      set frontmost of process "VLC" to true
    end tell
    
    tell application "VLC"
      OpenURL "dvdnav://" & diskname
      fullscreen
      play
      next
    end tell
    Save this filea as, for example, LaunchVLCDVD to the Applications folder (or any other folder).
  4. Change the system's auto-run options. Open System Preferences » CDs & DVDs. From the drop-down menu for When you insert a video DVD select Run script..., and select the saved script you just created.
That's it. To use, just insert a video DVD in the external drive, grab your Apple Remote, sit back, and enjoy your region-free movie.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Play any region-coded DVD | 17 comments | Create New Account
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: zpjet on Mar 02, '09 07:57:12AM

i was like "yeeey" and then i read the first point.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: David Allen on Mar 02, '09 07:59:19AM

I followed the instructions to the letter. It opens VLC but does not play the DVD.

---
David Austin Allen
Monterrey, NL, MX



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: joelseph on Mar 02, '09 08:29:27AM

Are you using an external DVD drive like the hint suggests? Maybe that drive doesn't support region-free viewing either.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: mlnoone on Apr 12, '09 10:24:53AM

Sorry to hear that - it is possible that the external drive you are using does not support VLC. Are you able to play the dvds manually from the VLC menu by selecting File -> Open Disc... ? If so, then the script is failing to detect your dvd drive, possible due to the limitation described by rammjet below, which I am currently unable to overcome..

---
Mohan Noone



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: rammjet on Mar 02, '09 10:34:16AM
I think there are some bad assumptions here.
set diskname to "/dev/rdisk" & ((length of (list disks)) - 1)
"/dev/rdisk" needs to define the number for the physical drive starting with "0" (ie. /dev/rdisk0, /dev/rdisk1, etc).

The "list disks" command lists all of the volumes connected to the computer. I have 4 hard drives totalling 16 volumes (partitions). And I have a server connected. All 17 of those get counted individually by "list disks" and the result is "/dev/rdisk16" which means the external DVD drive would be counted as "/dev/rdisk17" when it gets connected.

But, the 4 physical hard drives really occupy "/dev/rdisk0" thru "/dev/rdisk3" and the connected server does not use a "/dev/rdisk" mount point. So, in theory, when the external DVD drive get connected, it would occupy "/dev/rdisk4".

But what if you put a DVD into the external drive but don't immediately play it? And then later you plug in another drive, say a thumb flash drive. The flash drive now becomes the last device after the external DVD drive. On my system, the DVD drive would be "/dev/rdisk4" and the flash drive would be "/dev/rdisk5". So, you then run the script, and even if the "list disks" command actually worked the way you were thinking it would, the script would then return "/dev/rdisk5" for the DVD drive even though it is really "/dev/rdisk4". You cannot assume that the DVD drive is always the last device in the chain.

You need to find a more clever way to detect the real virtual device number for the DVD drive.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: mlnoone on Apr 12, '09 10:19:12AM

Thanks for pointing that out.. fact is, I couldn't come up with a cleverer way!

---
Mohan Noone



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Not true!
Authored by: Dirk! on Mar 02, '09 10:47:17AM

There are some drives (like some matshita models) which don't play region coded DVDs even with VLC which rips the raw data from the discs and does the CSS decode itself. These drives don't even allow to read the raw data if the region code is wrong!



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Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: kirsch on Mar 02, '09 11:18:37AM

<blockquote>Get an external DVD drive -- the internal drive does not seem to allow region-free viewing!</blockquote>

That's odd, I've used VLC to play DVDs from regions other than what's set through Apple's DVD Player using the internal DVD drive. I've done it in all my Macs for years now, including a Pismo, 2 iBook G3s, a 12" Powerbook G4, a 13" Core 2 Duo MacBook, a Core Duo Mac mini.

Perhaps Apple has built in stricter/harder to bypass restrictions on some Macs?



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Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: Anonymous on Mar 02, '09 03:02:15PM

In my experience, the only reliable solution is to find the appropriate RPC-1 region-free firmware for the internal drive.

My internal Matsushita wouldn't play anything through VLC, and neither would two different external drives (one Samsung, one something else entirely).

I'd rather use the Apple DVD player, because it handles those rare cases when Disney releases a nonstandard DVD; plus I can stretch the video to hide the black borders.



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Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: Dephex Twin on Mar 02, '09 05:40:52PM

I'm also confused. I have lots of DVDs from Germany. If I want to play them on my computer, I just do the following:

1. Open the DVD in VLC

This has worked on my old Powerbook, on my girlfriend's 2006 MacBook, and now on my new Unibody MacBook Pro.

I'm quite confused!

---
"Knicks suck, Yankees suck, Mets suck..."
"...Krypton sucks"



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: jonreades on Mar 26, '09 12:54:01PM

The success (or lack thereof) of this approach depends on the manufacturer of the drive.

For *most* of DVD history the drive makers were too lazy/cost conscious to produce models that were different at a physical level from one another just because the MPAA wanted region-encoding to segment markets. Having moved from the US to the UK with my TiBook I was able to easily update the firmware on my drive so that I could play both my US and UK DVDs without running out of switches. In fact, in a quite a few audio/video stores in London you can go in and buy 'region free' components (where they update the firmware once you've paid for the drive).

This meant that at worst you 'only' needed to figure out how to replace the firmware that shipped with the drive in order to have a fully region-free drive. Another option that worked on many drives turned out to be just mounting the disk but not treating it as a video or reading it with Apple's approved player (viz. VLC).

However, a few years back Apple switched many of the portables to Matshita, which appears to have something buried very deep in the drive that 'remembers' which zone it's working in. So a video from another region won't even mount for reading until you've used up one of your five free switches. To my knowledge no one has figured out how to replace the Matshita firmware and, even if they had, there'd still be some kind of problem playing discs from other regions because of what is apparently some separate region register.

If you're a conspiracy buff you'd attribute Apple's use of these crappy, but MPAA-friendly drives to the tie up with a friendly mouse.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Internal DVD Player
Authored by: chsnyder on Mar 03, '09 05:45:13AM

I was confused, too, as the internal dvd drive on my MacBook Pro has always worked fine with VLC... except when I first got the Mac and Apple's DVD Player was the default, I put in a region 2 disc. The Apple DVD Player started, then refused to play the disc.

So I installed VLC and made it the default. But it wouldn't play that disc. I tried a different region 2 disc in VLC and it worked fine. I have played several "foreign" dvds since then with no problem.

But no amount of VLC can get the original disc to play -- Apple's player had blacklisted it or something, Finder wouldn't even read the files.

So if you want to play non-USA-approved discs, go into System Preferences > CDs and DVDs and turn off automatic DVD Player launching. Why does Apple have to be so tight with Hollywood?!?



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Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: brh on Mar 03, '09 06:48:00PM
The way that's worked for me is using a patched firmware from Liggy & Dee. Flash the drive using DVRFlash, following the instructions given (make a backup!). VLC should then work without a hitch, or Region X can be used to repeatedly change the region in DVD Player.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: obi-wan-kenobi on Mar 07, '09 03:20:15AM

I wrote this AppleScript which does not need to count the disk list.
I found that each time I get a different mount since I have various
USB drives attached.
The only restriction is that VLC is in English so if you have a localized version
you will need "Open Disc..." and "File" with the localized version.

activate application "VLC"

tell application "Finder" to set frontmost of process "VLC" to true

tell application "System Events" to tell process "VLC"
click menu item "Open Disc..." of menu 1 of menu bar item "File" of menu bar 1
keystroke return
end tell

tell application "VLC"
fullscreen
next
end tell



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Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: mlnoone on Apr 12, '09 10:27:04AM

A nice solution!

---
Mohan Noone



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Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: petertheartist on Dec 28, '10 07:27:39PM

I had the same issues, and worked it out a slightly different way;

tell application "VLC"
activate
end tell
tell application "System Events"
key down command
keystroke "d"
key up command
delay 3
keystroke return
tell application "VLC"
play
fullscreen
end tell
end tell

My G4 is a little slow sometimes, others might not need the 'delay 3'



[ Reply to This | # ]
Play any region-coded DVD
Authored by: Yannph on Mar 07, '11 11:53:48PM

Sorry I don't get it...is this script to be run with or without an external dvd player? In the first case, could the external player be region-free or should it always be flashed? For info I am using mac os x 10.6.6.
Many thanks for your clarification,
Yann



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