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My daughter has a laptop at uni - the dvd is set to region 2. However, she has loads of multi region DVD's at home she would like to play - does anyone know of an external drive she could plug into her laptop to play them?
Check the drive make and model and see if there is firmware available to flash the drive into region-free. This could kill the drive though.
The other alternative is to buy some software such as AnyDVD which masks the region of the disc put in the drive and will play it. This would probably be the simplest option.
There are actually up to 3 region protections on a system:
- 1 in the DVD drive
- 1 in the Operating System (windows) - More info on Windows region management.
- 1 in the software player (eg. WinDVD, PowerDVD...)
When you flash your drive with a region free firmware (RPC-1), you remove the region counter from the drive itself completely, but with this counter gone, the software counters kick in to replace the one from the DVD drive. This means that you still have these other 2 to defeat!!!.
An alternate region free solution that is available for some drives is known as an "Autoreset" firmware: Instead of removing the counter from the drive completely, the counter simply resets itself to an unlocked state when the computer is restarted. This way, the drive appears as region protected (RPC-2) but the counter can be changed indefinitely. Creating autoreset patches is slightly more difficult for the patcher, but makes the life of the user easier because DVD Genie and Region Killer are not required as they are for RPC-1 firmwares.
On the other hand, it's easy for software manufacturers to detect autoreset firmwares, and if they decide to do so, you will still need a software patch in the long run. This is why RPC-1 firmwares are seen by most as the long term solution.
So, unless a program like DISCInfo click here or Drive Region Info tells you that your drive is still protected or you used an autoreset firmware, your drive IS region free, and any region counters that you still see come from software region settings.
To bypass that, you need to use programs such as DVD Genie click here or DVD Region Killer click here (the later is highly recommanded).
Note: Currently, the only software region free solution when using WinDVD Platinum to play DVD's is WinDVD Tweaker Pro ($18.00 US) click here
xvi has written up an excellent article with even more information click here
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