Not entirely true. Yes, you will have to patch the software as well, but it is possible to unlock the hardware forever.
The region lock is set in the flash memory of the dvd drive itself. this can be overwritten to make it “universal” using a firmware patch (different from the “you are allowed 4 changes firmware patch”) The “you are allowed 4 changes” patch is released by some DVD drive makers, but the “universal” or “here ya go, watch any damn dvd now” patches are written by hackers and will allow you to watch any dvd from any region as many times as you like. this is, as i understand it, in a grey area as far as legality is concerned.
also note that upgrading the firmware and flashing the memory is a risky process, in that in almost all cases it will work fine, but in the rare case that it messes up, your drive is toast. understand the risk and take your chance.
also, make sure you use a patch written specifically for your dvd drive. using a generic patch may work, but the risks increase.