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DVD regions - why do they matter?


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#1 GoshenBleeping

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 08:04 PM

I would appreciate if someone would explain the significance of DVD regions. I rented an old movie from my local library. When I tried to play it on my Windows 7 machine, there was a message that the DVD was purchased in region 1, my computer DVD drive was set for region 2, and I needed to change the region. Since there is a limited number of region changes that can be made, I decided not to make the change and did not watch the movie.
 
Would someone please explain the technical background as to why regions matter? And why did Microsoft decide to limit the number of region changes for Windows 7?

Edited by hamluis, 03 September 2014 - 10:36 AM.
Moved from Win 7 to Audio/Video Applications - Hamluis.


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#2 Agouti

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 08:31 PM

1.  Just read what Wikipedia has to say about region codes yourself.

 

2.  If you use VLC Media Player it will play any region code DVD without a fuss.



#3 GoshenBleeping

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 09:29 AM

Thank you -- did not occur to me to consult Wikipedia. I should have gone there before posting this question.

 

Why does Microsoft limit the number of region changes for Windows 7?



#4 rp88

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:39 AM

I think VLC media player can fully circumvent this business of "only X region changes can be made on this machine", but cannot be sure. I don't think i've ever tested it. The reason for creating the regions probably is so manufacturers can release films at different times in different countries without having to worry about individuals getting ahead of them by importing DVDs across borders, but it can be overcome with region free players (as in there are some dvd player devices with no region attached that will play DVDs from anywhere) and (i'm pretty sure) with VLC( which is free and has many other useful features for high compatibility also). Region 2 is Europe, region 1 is the USA, i'm surprised the library was stocking DVDs that most people would find incompatible.


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#5 Agouti

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 01:51 PM

Why does Microsoft limit the number of region changes for Windows 7?

 

First of all, you have it all wrong.  Microsoft didn't set any limit.  People (including myself) blame Microsoft for lots of things but this isn't one of them.

 

If you read the Wikipedia article you would have seen at the very beginning it says...

 

 

The American DVD Copy Control Association also requires that DVD player manufacturers incorporate the regional-playback control (RPC) system.

 

A little lower down in the article it says...

 

 

Newer drives use RPC-2 firmware, which enforces the DVD region coding at the hardware level.

 

What this means is that DVD manufacturers were prevailed upon by American DVD Copy Control Association to insert code into the firmware for the DVD player.  It is the firmware which would keep track of the number of times the region code has been changed - not Microsoft.  Furthermore, once it has been changed 5 times the firmware will prevent any furher change.

 

So, even if you were to do a clean install of Windows that still won't reset the counter because firmware is stored at the hardware level.



#6 zombiewhacker

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 04:09 PM

Will changing the region code to 0 (zero) allow you to watch a DVD from any region, or is there a catch to that?



#7 Agouti

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 07:29 PM

I have never had the cause to do it but I doubt it will work.



#8 rp88

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 09:53 AM

I still have a suspicion vlc can play foreign region dvds without any problems, their might be something coded into the hardware but i think all it does is make most video player (software) unwilling to play the disc, not all would refuse. If anyone has a computer they are getting rid of soon and it is too old to be worth selling, and a DVD  collection with a mix of regions, perhaps they might try running some "out of region" discs with vlc and if that fails try setting the hardware region to zero. VLC is certainly capable of playing discs on operating systems that don't themselves contain support for playing DVDs. 


Edited by rp88, 11 September 2014 - 09:54 AM.

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#9 Animal

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 01:54 PM

Would someone please explain the technical background as to why regions matter?


Burning Question: Why Do We Still Have Region Codes for DVDs? By Mike Ryan 04.26.11

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