Region Free Blu-ray Modifications

Posted by Dave Cowl on February 1, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Format War

modchip.thumbnail.jpgIt has come to our attention that those sneaky Euro types (no offense intended!) have come up with a solution to the Region Code control on a number of Blu-ray players.

We see that Stegen Electronics is claiming a solution for both the current Sony players and a Pioneer player, and are working on the Panasonic BD30 and Samsung 1400.

In Sweden we see solutions for the Sony players also as well as the Samsung and Pioneer. For roughly $150 the mod can be yours, though I am sure some soldering skill would be needed.

This solution is expensive, though I am sure for people outside of Region A it is considered a ‘must have’. That said, I would love to get in on some of the Region B releases myself.

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17 Responses to “Region Free Blu-ray Modifications”

  1. Kevin Murphy on February 1st, 2008 9:01 pm

    Not to beat a dead horse, but with a little support from blogs like this, this might not have been an issue.

  2. Dave Cowl on February 1st, 2008 9:27 pm

    How so Kevin?

    It is clear that studios like New Line, Fox, Disney and Sony like region coding – the other thing they have in common is exclusivity to Blu-ray. Coincidence? I think not…

    In any case, I am all for solutions where the studios and the consumers get what they want. In most cases the new releases are the only ones region coded… Fox is the only studio that had mostly been totally anal with the feature up to now…

  3. Jonsson on February 1st, 2008 11:05 pm

    This would be the one thing that turns me off with Blu/Sony/Disney. This idiotic region coding.

    I should be able to legally buy any disk in any part of the world and play it anywhere. The studios just have themselves to blame for people hacking and ripping when they themselves behave like the rear end of a horse.

    I only have a couple of zone 1 DVD’s (I live in zone 2) so I can’t say that I would have been too bothered if I hadn’t had a zone free player but it’s really a principle more than anything.

  4. Jesterrace on February 2nd, 2008 1:43 pm

    I’m gonna get blasted for it but this is one of the reasons why I went HD-DVD. Hardware costs significantly less from the get-go and I don’t have to pay $150 for a mod to get region free.

  5. Belard on February 2nd, 2008 8:26 pm

    Only SOME studios care about Regions… and without such features is WHY Disney and FOX and their little sub-studios never supported HD-DVD.

    Blasted… if the above is a blast… then its nothing ;)

  6. Dave Cowl on February 2nd, 2008 9:02 pm

    If region free is important to you then sure HD DVD is a good choice, as long as you can tolerate being limited to the studios that release region free

  7. Jonsson on February 2nd, 2008 11:43 pm

    Being region free is hardly a deciding factor for me.

    First, it’s a meere nuisance and second, after a while it’s going to be dead easy to get region free players just like with DVD.

    I would hardly choose format based on that issue alone.

  8. The Guardian on February 3rd, 2008 6:31 am

    I wouldn’t blast you for liking region-free; in fact if they made everything region and DRM free and cut their prices a little bit (while still making a nice profit) they would probably mostly eliminate any piracy (note that piracy still occurs despite these measures!)…

    The simple fact is that if HD DVD had had region coding it might have tilted the balance in their favour…

  9. paulw on February 3rd, 2008 5:55 pm

    No region free is the one thing that is putting me off Blu-ray at present. When I can get a region free one like my normal DVD players then I may get one.

  10. Kevin Murphy on February 4th, 2008 12:06 am

    How so, Dave? If more websites and the grassroots had stood up for a sane balance between copyright and video purchasers, making the world more difficult for greedy SOBs like Murdoch and the Disney crowd, we mihgt all be lamenting the untimely death of blu-ray and super-DRM.

    As for now? Too late. The bad guys won. You helped. Don’t complain.

  11. Dave Cowl on February 4th, 2008 12:47 am

    Kevin, I think you over estimate the power of grass roots campaigns.

    Personally I don’t care that much about Murdoch and his super DRM – the Fox titles play in my BD10 player just fine. I have had more trouble playing the ‘less DRM’ed’ HD DVDs in my A1.

    Also Region coding is not such a big deal for those in Region A. It is a bit sad for those in Region B but realistically they will catch up with most if not all of the Region A titles in their own good time. It seems to me that for the most part BDs with Region codes have made sense (ie, new releases with theatrical runs overseas are coded, catalog releases are not) – much more so than for DVD where pretty much every release is region coded.

    In any case, can’t say I am complaining. Something you need to realise is that the studios own the rights to these movies – they are not public domain or the property of the people. They have the right to release them how they see fit, or even not at all, ever. It is their property.

    Just like if you made a movie, you could choose to release it however you please and they have no right to complain.

    Personally I would prefer to have the movies in a functional state and don’t care about the DRM as long as it doesn’t affect my ability to enjoy the film. If I think that they have reduced my enjoyment of the film, I have the right to choose to NOT buy it.

    So far, however, BD+ Region A titles play just as the Region ABC titles – the biggest issue I have with Fox is the price of the catalog releases and the lack of an Unrated Live Free or Die Hard… :D

  12. Kevin Murphy on February 4th, 2008 12:21 pm


    I understand copyright just fine. I live on intellectual property. However, copyright is a “right” only as far as the government says it is and no further. It is not an inherent right, as it is totally unenforceable without the government(s) doing so. Right now they go too far (95 years) and theit overreaching is fueling public disdain.

    Most copyrighted works have no value. Those that do are decreased in value by the unwillingness of the public to accept the conditions the holder imposes. Certainly MORE DRM could be added to BD+ if they thought they could get away with it. For example, they could make you call an 800 number for a 100-digit code to play your disk, good for the next 5 minutes. People wouldn’t put up with it, so they don’t.

    Apparently people put up with increased loading delays and odd (and often buggy) code running on their devices. The promise not to write, but they can. Too bad. They could have objected and bought HD DVD.

    Witness what happened in the music biz. DRM is dead there because it cost the studios more money in lost sales than they lost in piracy: most people dislike stealing. The grass roots (i.e. the buyers) made them change. It wasn’t the thieves — stealing got easier actually — it was the lost sales by people who didn’t want the incompatibilities and complexity of DRM.

    As far as your A1 being buggy, well it was a first-gen player and the low end at that. Never had that problem with my A2 — played every disk it ever saw, first time, including countless discs from Netflix. But then you guys took the blue pill early on. So don’t complain about the results. You chose.

  13. Dave Cowl on February 4th, 2008 3:14 pm

    It would seem that I took both the blue pill and the red pill early on, and the red pill is the one making me choke.

    As noted, no bad experience with BD+ on my first generation BD player.

    Are you saying to have a better experience with HD DVD I should buy another player?

    DRM is only a problem if it creates a negative user experience. So far for the majority this has not been the case with BD+.

    Music downloads is an entirely different matter…

  14. Kevin Murphy on February 4th, 2008 10:52 pm


    My brief experience with the Samsung line indicated that every BD+ disc out of one studio failed on that player until they issued an update. To me, that was an inconvenience.

    Sure, you can say that it was Samsung’s fault, or their chip provider’s, but it was also BD+ code (utterly untestable by Samsung) doing things that broke the player. Without BD+ as implemented and used by Fox, my experience with those players would have been far better.

    So, some people HAVE been inconvenienced.

  15. Dave Cowl on February 5th, 2008 12:18 am

    Many people have also been inconvenienced by the constant failing of HD DVD Combo discs and such.

    You say this like it is some kind of exception. We see new firmware from Toshiba on a regular basis to fix problems with their players.

    I have also heard that Samsung players have had BD-J issues, even beyond BD+. It seems to me that Samsung in particular have not had a strong implementation of BD-J.

    However it has been fixed. Is it OK for HD DVD to fix things in firmware updates, but it is not OK for Samsung? Or is it only problems that you perceive to be caused by DRM that are worth complaining about?

  16. George on September 4th, 2008 12:39 pm

    I bought a Panasonic DMP-BD30 and would like to play movies from Europe on it.
    Can this be modified to play region A and B or region 1 and 2? If so, what do I need to do and where to get it?

    Thanks for the help.

  17. lumpenprole on September 25th, 2008 8:43 pm

    Finding which are or aren’t going to play in your player is annoying. so i made a list and built stats by studio for which are region free, which are region locked and which are unknown here.

    Mostly I list region A and B movies because A releases are the cheapest and widely available… anyway….

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