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Heads up: Intel Mac mini and Region Free DVD playback
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jeremyh
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Joined: 06 Mar 2006
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Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Region 2 is Japan, Europe, South Africa, and Middle East (including Egypt)

There are actually 8 regions where only 6 are used. See http://www.sendit.com/help/help_dvd_regions

I frequently travel to Japan and end up buying DVDs over there. I know little about the chips inside, but as I mentioned before, the firmware dictates what region the drive can play (on these newer drives) and not the software. Since the firmware is encrypted, it means that someone needs to figure out the encryption key, deconstruct the firmware, mod it to support multiple regions, re-encrypt it, and then put it in a flash-capable binary that can be flashed to the DVD drive. (kind of a thankless job if you ask me) We'll just see how it goes, but I'm not holding my breath.
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mythuk
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Joined: 22 Mar 2006
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey guys, I'm new to the forums!

Just checking this place out as I'm about to get a Core Solo (i'm in the UK but a friend's off to NYC next month) and I really need a region free DVD player.

Without being able to get updated firmware for the mini's drive I'm considering getting an external DVD-RW drive. Can you guys recommend a good external drive that's multi region hackable and that I can buy from a UK site?

cheers

EDIT - I've been considering the Sony DRX-810UL but I'm not too sure Very Happy
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Tenex
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Joined: 27 Feb 2006
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Location: London

PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally if you use VLC you won't need to MR hack - the OP's problem is the first time I've heard of VLC failing to play a DVD - so if you use an external drive you most likely won't have to set or change the region.

[VLC ignores the region coded bit on the DVD but in the OP's case the DVD drive itself is locked to R2]

I think my Shuttle is R2 but VLC plays R1/2/3 without issue. Fabulous piece of software.
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jeremyh
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Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a transplant of sorts this morning and swapped the old Combo drive from my previous Mac mini with the Super Drive on my new one. I'm happy to report that both drives work fine in their new homes.

My new Core Duo can play other region DVDs now via VLC. While I haven't attempted to burn DVDs with the transplanted Super Drive, System Profiler shows that Disc Burning is "Apple Shipped/Supported" so I'm assuming that it should all work fine.

I realize that many folks won't have a "spare" Combo drive to plop into their new Mini, but I just wanted to make sure that folks who had a need for region-free playback and had an older combo drive knew that it was possible.

I also don't see why an external drive would have any problems. It appears to just be the Super Drive being locked to a specific region via the firmware so it's possible that VLC should be able to play using an external drive. Would be nice if someone could confirm once they've had an opportunity to test.
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