DVD Regions: How hosed am I?

Yesterday we rented a DVD from Blockbuster. Got it home, and got a message which essentially said that because the DVD was for Zone 1, but our DVD Player was reconfigured that it would not show us the movie. As background we bought our DVD player about a year ago while we lived in Bangkok, which I think is Zone 4. At the time we bought the player we were told they could set it to Zone 1 for a small extra charge. We were concerned about this only because we knew we would eventually move back to the States, not to try and get movies early. We took back the DVD to Blockbuster and they let us swap it for a VHS tape, but they also commented that they by December this will be standard on all of the new DVDs.

How can I fix this? The only thing that occurs to me is to try and work something out with the manufacturer (Sony).

This article indicates is possible to change it.

I don’t know how easy this is in the USA, but in Europe almost every shop or website that sells DVD players will offer at least the option of making them “zone-free”. In addition, there are people who offer the service of making your existing DVD player zone-free. Finally I believe it is possible to buy a kit and do it yourself (of course the warranty will be invalidated). I guess there’s nothing to lose by talking to Sony, but I’m pretty sure they won’t help you (unless the person you talk to gives you some “unofficial” advice).

Here’s a website that may help:http://www.regionfreedvd.net/players.html

Thanks, but perhaps I have not communicated my problem clearly enough. My player is already ZONE FREE, methinks (since before I could play both Zone 1 and Zone 4 disks). Now the Entertainment Police seem to have found a way to stifle this. I am looking for news about this and whether my DVD player is now useless. I am fine with it being only a Zone 1 player. IMO it’s shortsighted and a bit larcenous for the Entertainment Industry/Home Electronics cabal to make me buy a new DVD player anytime I move across regions.

Note: I am not interested in viewing pirated movies, I just happen to have moved from country to country over the past few years.

There are discs that won’t play in “Region Free” players.

Have a look at this part of Jim Taylor’s Official DVD FAQ for the technical reasons why, and some possible options.

Many recent DVDs have a newer form of Region coding called RCE (Region Coding Enhancement) which checks to see if your player is zone-free or not. Your player needs to be made zone-selectable not zone-free. Sorry, I don’t have a clue where such mods can be done in the North America. As stated earlier, such a service is easily available in Europe & Asia.

DVD Regions
The subject of DVD regions or zones is a thorny issue. The discs have built in lock-out coding that only allows units from that region to be played.

Worse still, DVD players are limited in the number of times they can cross zones and will actually lock you out from your own legally bought machine if that number is exceeded.

Still, as long as it doesn’t interfere with profits and attacks piracy, what does it matter if your hundreds of hard-earned dollars go to waste.

Region 0:
Universal for cartoons, older films and educational titles.

Region 1:
Canada, United States and its territories.

Region 2:
Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East.

Region 3:
South-East Asia, East Asia.

Region 4:
Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, Caribbean.

Region 5:
Former Soviet Union, Indian Subcontinent, Africa
(also North Korea, Mongolia).

Region 6:

Well if you told us what model machine you have you could have searched the net for people that have it & what they experienced. Also, a lot of machines have special tricks you can do to make they play any region.

As for your machine being region free, refer to paragraph one :slight_smile:

My DVD player is a Sony DVP-S345. A quick Google shows this listed for sale at one site as a “Zone Free” machine. If this is true then we were ripped off by the store that sold it to us, since they charged us for “modifications” so that we could use it when we got back to the USA. On the positive side we paid less than what the site lists it for, so net is okay.

Servo, that was a very informative site, thanks! I had never heard of Regional Coding Enhancements (RCE) until today. There is a link (DVDTalk’s RCE FAQ) from the section you pointed to that gives some hints, I’ll see what we can do with it. Now I have to go rent that DVD again to practice the work arounds.

“Modified to Region Free - Code Free” says one page.
Yeah, but thats for sale in another county, its 220 volts. If you bought yours in the US, then it might not be modified.
Try searching the web for ‘how to make your dvd player region free’ cause I can’t give out specific web sites.

We bought it in Thailand. Thailand is 220 volts. It works just fine in the USA, though. I think there is a built in transformer so that it can use a range of voltages, similar to most laptops. We have used both Zone 1 and 3 disks in it, up until yesterday.

This kind of thing really irks my squid.

I think that the studios should be forced to give you a free exchange of your player and any disks you have from one region to another whenever you move. Buy a DVD while you are in vacation in Europe and find it doesn’t work when you get home? They have to exchange it for you.

Corrolary: Even if they do not want to sell a DVD in a certain region, they must produce such DVDs on demand for people who own the DVD from a legitimate region and move into the forbidden region.


I can’t mention specific web sites but some sites have the remote codes that make your player region free. This is only for some players not all. That means no other modification is necessary you just use the remote control or whatever, inputting specific codes to get around it.