Saturday, November 22, 2008

DVD region stupidity

I'm so tired about the DVD region stupidity. And my frustration increases every Christmas when I want to give DVDs as Christmas gifts to family members - and remember I can't. There are interesting National Geographic documentaries and and old movies with Audrey Hepburn from the 60s I know that our parents would enjoy. And a DVD is not too heavy to send across the world and it's small enough to make it pretty easy. But with no parents with a hacked DVD player - they can only see region 2 DVDs - in other words no DVDs from the region here in the US - region 1.

Why why why?? When you can listen to music, cassette tapes (if they even exist any more) and there is something called the internet - the world wide web. And the darn DVDs are the same size and format (unlike the old, different video systems).

Of course - you could, in theory, if you have someone around, like a inhouse geek or so, decode the DVD and rewrite it on a new, region free DVD - but that adds up hours of work - and I'm not sure that's the way the movie companies wanted the customers to solve the problem. Actually I'm not sure how the movie companies want the customers to solve the problem - except not buying DVDs for Christmas gifts at all.

Totally and absolutely annoying...

8 comments:

Ally said...

Everybody I know in Sweden has a region free DVD player. You don't even need to reprogram them (and if you do most stores will do that before you even leave the place).

I see buy away and they'll work it out.

Many people in Sweden would go on vacation to Asia and return with whatever-region-they-have-over-there and it would be fine as well as buying from abroad.

JaCal said...

Well, I seem to know the only Swedish people that don't... ;-( and that need hands on help to figure out how to reprogram if possible - another drawback with being far away (considering it would take the Husband a mere 20 seconds or so). I don't see the point of it - if the US would get flooded by cheap DVDs from Asia if there would be no regions - then maybe the ground price might be set too high in the first place). A hassle it is - and sadly enough they will continue the stupidity with BluRays... (even though they've renamed regions to letters from numbers).

Ulrika said...

Maybe you can guide your swedish family and or friends through the decoding over the phone? I did with some REALLY not so technical friends, and they made it! Remote in one hand and the phone in the other. Done in 5 minutes. But I do agree. It is plain dumb. And annoying.

Ally said...

There are a lot of good conspiracy reasons why they have 8 bloody different regions.

If they aren't tec savvy enough to manage http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks, find their specific DVD player and change it, they could call a local place that sells DVD players and have them do it.

I assume of course that you've looked for movies through amazon.co.uk which sells many of the same movies as the US version but often with more region 2 copies. ;-S Good luck, it's a pain. We nearly put a gun to MIL's head and bought picked out her player for her. We had to make sure she could watch the movies we'd burned of the kids for them.

Jonas said...

Ah, the good ol' region codes... :)

I think that the reasoning from the beginning had to do with the fact that movies premiered up to 6-8 months earlier in the USA, and when the dvd was released a couple of months later it actually was available on dvd quite a lot earlier than when it premiered in Europe for example.

Of course, this is less of a problem in these days of worldwide releases, but the movie companies probably like the control. Hence; the new Blu-Ray format has yet another set of regions. And this is not yet hackable.

JaCal said...

Ulrika - oh, we would but not all DVD players are reprogrammable - or the codes can't be found online - then we would have solved it sooner. After all - our house is the house of the Hacker. Haha. It's so dumb - why have people hack their equipment - just do them region free!

Ally - seem they just have old DVDs - no decoding to be found. And all the hassle just because we want to send a gift... Next time it's time for new DVD-player (or Blu-Ray - the Hacker in the house will be ready standing by...). And no - I have just skipped buying DVDs and focused on other gifts... we do all our movies/pictures online on our website so we don't have to do the DVD-thing. It's so sad that things have become more complicated - to record a video tape was way easier than converting it into the right format - getting sound and picture in sync, having the right codec and so one... ;-)

Jonas - I ready somewhere that about 70% of the BluRay movies (so far) are region free - so maybe things are going in the right direction. Oh, they want control alright. ;-) I wonder when they will just live in the new world and not try to keep everything the way it was. Oh, well.

Ally said...

Yeah I hear you. Although I used to have to go to small business and pay a small fortune to have vhs tapes converted from PAL to NTSC. Yeah it's always a pain.

I would like to buy my MIL a slow cooker (crock pot) which I can't because of the power converter, outlet, etc (I know I could get a box to convert the current but it would damage the cooker after a while. Stupid international boundaries and presents! ;-)

JaCal said...

Ally - I'm so glad PAL/NTSC was before our time... ;-) It's hard enough hack our Swedish DVDs so we can play them in our American car (which is totally impossible to make region free...). My mom who was a master of the VCR is lost in the new DVD-recorder+TVbox system in Sweden - not really grasping what happens to whatever she is recording. Before at least she could pile those video tapes and mark them - now she is kind of lost...