A pleasant Mac-related surprise

So it’s been one of my great life ambitions to get a DVD copy of Full Body Massage to replace my blurry old VHS tape (I won’t say why, except to note that Bryan Brown is the luckiest actor on the planet), but unfortunately the only copies are in PAL format, and I live in an NTSC country. Sigh. Not to mention the “Region” business.

So the other day I decided that I’d just have to buy the PAL and see what I could do to play it. I mean, heck, how tough could it be?

First I ordered a multi-region DVD player from Amazon. But a few seconds later, I noticed an article on the internet that said many software DVD players could run PAL. Aha! I quickly cancelled my order at Amazon and went poking around on the Internet.

Finally I ended up downloading AVP, which seemed to be the most capable of the free/shareware software players, and then it was just a matter of waiting for the DVD to arrive.

So the DVD comes. On my iMac, I’ve got DVD Player set to auto-run when a DVD is inserted, so I figure I’ll just kill DVD Player, then open the DVD using AVP, no problemo.

DVD Player starts, and what do you know, it seems to be playing okay. I leave it going, and everything works fine! So all the messing around was completely unnecessary; it turns out the native Mac DVD Player will play PAL, as well as NTSC. Pretty cool!

It will also play from the video folder if it’s copied to the Harddisk (and not otherwise encrypted).

There are a number of Apps that you should have on your toolbelt for dealing with DVDs. (Handbrake, MacTheRipper)

Did it ask you to change your region? It will only let you change 5 times I think, so I would advise you rip it onto your computer and watch it that way. I had to do this when I got a copy of Troy for $0.01 on Amazon but only realized it was the PAL version when it arrived.

Are you under the impression that this capability is exclusive to Macs?

I have a few PAL DVDs sent to me by friends and family in Australia, and i’ve never had any trouble playing any of them on my PC, either in Windows or in Linux.

Unintentionally Blank: I’ve got both Handbrake and Mac The Ripper, but I’m still very much a neophyte. For instance, I ripped some Sherlock Holmes TV episodes the other day, but the seven files I ended up with don’t correspond to the episodes; an episode will start halfway through a file. What I need to do is stitch the files together into one big one, then snip it apart at the right places–but I haven’t the foggiest of how to do that.

DCnDC: When I played the PAL DVD, it didn’t ask me to change my region, which I was a little surprised at. We’ll see how that plays out.

mhendo: Actually, I never even wondered whether Windows or Linux would play PAL DVDs. But, really, I’m a fairly left-wing Mac fanatic, who is willing to admit that on occasion, there might possibly be something that another operating system does as well as a Mac does it. :wink:

I think VLC will allow you to watch DVDs regardless of region, and you don’t have to change the region on the DVD itself. You have to make it the default DVD player instead of the Apple DVD player.

For what it’s worth, even most hardware DVD players will play both NTSC and PAL (mine does, anyway). I have a few American and Japanese DVDs that play in my player just fine, area code has absolutely nothing to do with it.

I’ve had problems with episodic content, that’s why fill rips of DVD’s are nice, they maintain all of the menu info, special features, etc.

Quite frankly, my heavy Duty ripping isn’t done on the Mac, it’s done on the Alienware running Ubuntu in the other room.

A dyed in the Mac guy here too. I second VLC if you don’t already have it, it’s the Swiss army knife of video players (if QuickTime or DVD Player happen to fail me).

I’m guessing that even though the DVD was in PAL format, it wasn’t necessarily region encoded.