Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

So, this is the first time I try to watch a DVD disc on my (new) Mac and I wonder if I can keep it as fresh-new by not choosing any region and just play discs from anywhere.

I understand the media industry made that lock for copyright and whatever, but do I absolutely have to choose a region to be able to play disks, even if I got original ones from different places? Why can I "change region" just 5 times, why even allowing changing?

(new) In other words: How much would it cost us, end users, to have a region free DVD player?

Also, on a side-note, I wonder how to disable the regular DVD Player.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

First off I would verify that the disk actually works in something. Either a standalone DVD player or another computer, it doesn't matter just something.

Next I would attempt to rip it off the disk using Mac the Ripper. Try different regional settings.

If you can't find anything else that will play it, and you can't rip it, the disks themselves might be bad.

Standalone DVD players

Usually a configuration flag is set in each player's firmware at the factory. This flag holds the region number that the machine is allowed to play. Region-free players are DVD players shipped without the ability to enforce regional lockout (usually by means of a chip that ignores any region coding), or without this flag set.

However, if the player is not region-free, it can often be unlocked with an unlock code entered via the remote control. This code simply allows the user to change the factory-set configuration flag to another region, or to the special region "0". Once unlocked this way, the DVD player allows the owner to watch DVDs from any region. Many websites exist on the Internet offering these codes, often known informally as hacks. Many websites provide instructions for different models of standalone DVD players, to hack, and their factory codes.

Computer DVD drives

Older DVD drives use RPC-1 ("Regional Playback Control") firmware, which means the drive allows DVDs from any region to play. Newer drives use RPC-2 firmware, which enforces the DVD region coding at the hardware level. These drives can often be reflashed or hacked with RPC-1 firmware, effectively making the drive region-free. However, this usually voids the warranty.

In most computer drives, users are allowed to change the region code (i.e. change region code) up to five times. However, if the number of allowances reaches zero, the region last used will be permanent even if the drive is transferred to another computer. This limit is built into the drive's controller software, called firmware. Resetting the firmware count can be done with first- or third-part software tools, or by reflashing (see above) to RPC-1 firmware

Software DVD players

Most freeware and open source DVD players, such as VLC, ignore region coding. Most commercial players are locked to a region code, but can be easily changed with software.

Other software, known as DVD region killers, transparently remove (or hide) the DVD region code from the software player. Some can also work around locked RPC-2 firmware.

From Wikipedia article on Region Codes

share|improve this answer
The disk works. I don't want to rip it, I just want to play. And I want to play disks from anywhere. I understand the media industry is restrictive, but why can't I have a "region-less" player? – cregox Mar 22 '10 at 15:00

Open System Preferences and click CDs & DVDs. Next to When you insert a video DVD, pick Open Other Application or Ignore. VLC is an all-purpose player which will likely work fine for you.

share|improve this answer
Thanks, love VLC, but that answers just half the question. VLC can't read my DVD and I think it might be related to the DVD not having any region selected. DVD Player says it would be first time I'd select one. – cregox Mar 21 '10 at 6:21
As mentioned in the other question you linked to VLC is not region specific. – Josh K Mar 21 '10 at 13:11
@Grammar well neither VLC or Boxee or Movist can open it, and it's not a problem on the DVD disc neither on the reader. – cregox Mar 21 '10 at 15:52

Region lockouts are performed in the drive's firmware and disassembling that is more than likely illegal.

share|improve this answer
There's nothing on superuser FAQ advising to only ask or answer lawfully. – cregox Mar 22 '10 at 15:03
Is there anything about investing five seconds worth of your time researching your problem before posting yet another thread? – Hasaan Chop Mar 22 '10 at 15:34
You mean question? We don't have any threads here. :) – Josh K Mar 22 '10 at 19:17
Ok this isn't on the FAQ, but it should be:… . And this is for you:… . The next link says a lot about what SO is:… I'll quote the most relevant part: The Trilogy is supposed to be A long term repository of searchable, free, and freely editable information – cregox Mar 26 '10 at 19:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .