August 26th, 2005 • 9:28 am
We all know the region coding system was established by movie studios as a way to prevent one region in the world (read: Europe) from being able to view DVDs released in another region (read: North America) before the movies in question are released in the theatres.
We also know that it’s extremely easy to find “region-free” (or “code-free”) DVD players that will allow you to play any DVD from any region in the world, and it’s also fairly easy to find software on-line that allows you to remove the region coding from a DVD and make a region-free copy.
But there is still the issue of PAL vs. NTSC. Region 2 DVDs for the European market are in PAL, and Region 1 DVDs for the North American market are in NTSC. Many DVD players available in Europe are able to play NTSC DVDs on a PAL TV, but, as far as I know, no regular DVD players available in North American stores (not the hacked, region-free ones, but the regular ones) are able to play PAL DVDs on a NTSC TV set without a video converter.
Then how do you explain this: My mother-in-law has just bought a Panasonic DVD-S29 player from her local Future Shop store. As far as I know, it’s not a hacked, region-free DVD player. It’s just a regular, fairly cheap DVD player available everywhere in North America.
Yet she gets sent home-made DVDs from England — and she’s able to play them just fine!
I asked her to lend me one of these home-made DVDs, and it’s most definitely a PAL DVD, with Region 2 coding as far as I can tell. I have two SuperDrives in my G4, one that is Region 1 and the other one that is Region 2. If I insert the DVD in the Region 1 SuperDrive, it never shows up on the desktop. If I insert it in the Region 2 SuperDrive, it shows up on the desktop as a DVD titled “SONY_DVD_RECORDER_VOLUME” (it was recorded in England with a Sony RDR-GX7 DVD recorder), but I am unable to play it with DVD Player.
When I look at it with 0SEx, it quite clearly indicates that the video stream is a PAL signal. I can make a copy of the DVD with DVDBackup, removing the region coding in the process, and then I have a DVD that I can play with DVD Player on my Mac, from either SuperDrive, but I still cannot play it with my regular DVD player in the living room.
So as far as I can tell, it’s a home-made Region 2 PAL DVD. Yet my mother-in-law can take this DVD home and play it just fine with her plain-vanilla Panasonic DVD-S29.
Did I miss something here? Is Future Shop selling region-free DVD players that are able to play both PAL and NTSC DVDs on an NTSC TV without any problems?
I would find this very surprising. Yet I don’t see any other explanation here.