Computer DVD drive vs (TV) DVD player

A friend of mine wants to get a laptop with a DVD/CDRW drive, but is concerned about the zoning thing of DVDs.

Does it work differently for computer DVD drives, or does he need to check he’s getting a multizone? Or is there software that translates different zones for you?

DVD Drives do have regions but you can specify them. Mine lets you do it through the software but you can only change the region number a limited number of times. (Mine is 4.) Uninstalling and reinstalling the drive won’t give you more changes, apparently it’s in the firmware somewhere.

There is software that will let you change the zone bullshit as many times as you want.

Yes - reading around suggests you can patch the firmware. But it also suggests that can invalidate your warranty.

Aren’t multi-zone drives available?

Multi-zone drives are available, but I think that the DVD manufacturing companies are coming up with ways to circumvent that, too.

So much for globalism.

I thought the zoning was taken care of in software, and DVD drives are pretty much useful. When you run your DVD player software the first time it asks you what region you’re in (or it gets it from some other localization info on your PC) and sets it to that. I don’t doubt that there are ways around this; certainly easier than hacking a standalone DVD player.

sorry, meant to say “DVD drives are pretty much universal

Serves me right for doing a drive-by posting…

A pc based DVD drive in a laptop may not be flashable to an “universal” state where you can change the regions an unlimited amount of times. The region change is stored in a flash type memory on the drive as well in the settings of whatever software you use. Even if you change software it will not reset the amount of region changes you are allowed beforew the drive stays locked in one region. You may want to advise your friend to find out what dvd drive will be in the laptop and see if that one can be set to unlimited changes.

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.