What are regional codes ?
Motion picture studios want to control the home release of movies in different countries because theater releases aren't simultaneous (a movie may come out on video in the U.S. when it's just hitting screens in Europe). Also, studios sell distribution rights to different foreign distributors and would like to guarantee an exclusive market. Therefore they required that the DVD standard include codes to prevent playback of certain discs in certain geographical regions. Each player is given a code for the region in which it's sold. The player will refuse to play discs that are not coded for its region. This means that a disc bought in one country may not play on a player bought in another country. Some people believe that region codes are an illegal restraint of trade, but no legal cases have established this.
The world is split up into 8 DVD regions:
Region 1: U.S., Canada, U.S. Territories
Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, and Middle East (including Egypt)
Region 3: Southeast Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong)
Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean
Region 5: Eastern Europe (Former Soviet Union), Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia
Region 6: China
Region 7: Reserved
Region 8: Special international venues (airplanes, cruise ships, etc.)
Old DVD-ROM drives came with a firmware level RPC-1. Software protection was used to control which region is played.
New DVD-ROM drives come with a firmware level RPC-2 with hardware protection
. RPC 2 drives have a 5 change limit on regions, once the counter gets to 0 your drive is permanently locked to the last region it was set to. Even if you reformat or move the drive to another system it will still be locked to the last region. There are ways to get around it, some models have resetting tools made by 3rd parties to reset the change limit back to 5 and some also have firmware patches to remove the region lock. How to bypass DVD region code protection ?
As we've said, a lot of newer drives are RPC-2 drives these days. Some of these drives don't allow raw access to the drive until the drive firmware has done a regioncheck. But some RPC-2 drives DO allow raw access
, so in some cases it is quite possible to use a special software to bypass the protection:
The first solution is free VideoLAN player
: click here to download VideoLAN
. It might take a long time to initialize DVD. So just pop the disc in your drive and try it out, while you get a coffee.
The second solution is free Remote Selector
tool: click here to download Remote Selector
. Launch remselec22.exe file. Click Control
tab. Choose Enabled
, and check all options Region Free, Disable Macrovision, Disable User Prohibition
as shown below:
Click Start Player
button, and try to play your DVD. How to change DVD region ?
The region can only be changed five times, before its set permanently. In WinDVD:
if a DVD from a region different than the default one is tried to be played, the dialog box for changing the DVD region code should appear. If that dialog box do not appear, check the region code set in the software:
Click Start, All Programs, Intervideo Win DVD, and Intervideo Win DVD.
Right-click the Win DVD window and select Setup or Properties.
Click the Region tab and check the region code selected.
If there is a 0 in the Changes Until Permanent field, the DVD region code will not be able to be changed again.
If a number from 1 to 4 appears in the Changes Until Permanent field, add a mark in the checkbox of the desired region and click OK. The new region will be set up.In PowerDVD:
the first time you insert a DVD title, to be played on PowerDVD, a small dialogue box will appear. It will set the region code to match that of the DVD title you wish to play. After this the program will be set. However, if you have a region free DVD-ROM drive, you have the option of playing DVD titles from different regions. PowerDVD will allow you to change the region code setting up to five times, and then it will be locked on the region you have listed on your fifth and last change. At that point you will only be allowed to watch DVD titles from that region. To change the region code, from the original setting, just insert the DVD title in your DVD-ROM drive and run PowerDVD. When the software recognizes that the disc is from a different region than what was previously set, a dialogue box will appear. For this example, the Current Region is Region 1. After changing from one region to another, I will have four changes left. The program detected the disc I inserted was from Region 2, so it selected this option. Once I click OK the Current Region will be changed to Region 2 and the DVD title will play. How to make DVD-ROM region free ?
If your drive is locked, DVD doesn't play and you can't change region code or bypass protection using described methods, then the last & only working solution is to "patch" your DVD-ROM drive, and replace hardware region code protection mechanism. It's a dangerous method, which can be used only by PC professionals.
If you live in the USA or Canada (R1) then you most likely won't need the ability to play DVDs from other regions, unless you are interested in some of the rare titles that are out in Europe (R2) but not in the USA. If you live in Europe and you prefer to watch the movies in English then most likely you have to flash your firmware (in order to buy American DVDs).Load another firmware which disables the region code protection. This is ONLY for advanced users!Step 1.
If you're unsure about the type of the drive I suggest you run driveinfo.
Download DriveInfo program from this page: http://www.remoteselector.com/driveinfo.htm
In case of ASPI error you have to install forceaspi first. Here's download link with instructions on how to install it: http://force_aspi_18.w.interia.pl/
. After installing forceaspi you have to reboot your machine. Driveinfo will show you the type of your DVD drive as well as the current firmware, and whether or not the drive is regionfree. If driveinfo tells you the drive has no region protection of course you don't have to do anything.Step 2.
After you determine the type of your firmware you should download _EXACT_ version of patched
firmware. Go here: http://forum.rpc1.org/dl_all.php
and check if there's an updated firmware for your type of DVD drive. This step is really crucial! Double or triple check that you have the right firmware, otherwise your drive might not work after flashing anymore (and unfortunately there are flash programs that allow you to load the wrong firmware). Bad flashing could destroy your drive definitively. Read carefully the installation notes of your firmware before you upgrade. The Firmware Page and the drive manufacturer can't be responsible. AND REMEMBER: This is at your own risk. Step 3.
After you've downloaded the right firmware you'll have to create a Windows bootdisk. You can format a disk and check "copy system files" and you'll get a working bootdisk. Then copy the flasher program and the firmware to the disc as well. Then reboot your pc and change the boot drive order if necessary so that your pc boots from the disk drive. Since every BIOS looks different I can't tell you where to change the boot order. Please refer to the manual of your mainboard / pc or call customer support. Step 4.
After rebooting run the flasher. Then the program will search for a DVD-ROM and ask you if you want to flash. Type yes, wait until the program has finished, then reboot your pc. Once back in Windows run driveinfo again. If everything has gone as it's supposed to that's what you're supposed to get. Enjoy.. you've just beaten the DVD-ROM Hardware region-protection system.