May 30, 2008
I was a sloppy buyer from Amazon UK. I THOUGHT I knew what I was doing. No. Just dumb luck I got as far as I did.
I had no idea the greedy SOBs of the media world were so sadistic. Seems like no, we cannot all play in the same sandbox.
My new episodes of Midsomer Murders are Region 2 DVDs. My DVD player won't play them. They are also PAL - and in America we use NTSC. It's a format thing.
I can return them (already filled out the forms and paperwork - and send them all the way back to the UK) but somehow that is simply not good enough. I want to see these episodes and TV in America is no longer running the series. I guess an older cop starting to show wrinkles and gray hair doesn't fit the cookie-cutter profile American TV (including cable) want to show us.
Well - no. I LOVE BBC productions. I LOVE PBS. And I am a FAN of Midsomer Murders.
A collection of 2-hour movies closing in on the 2-hour movies of Inspector Morse. (Over 60 of them) Midsomer is currently filming number 57 in its series I believe.
The show went from PBS to A&E (which no longer appears to have anything worth watching) to the BIOgraphy channel - which now has nothing worth watching. My Sundays used to be repeats and then a new episode. I left BIO running all day long.
It went to 6AM Saturday. I recorded and watched it at a sane time. My Sundays were now empty. Then, it vanished.
Amazon USA carries puny "sets" of 4 episodes each. None of the new stuff.
Amazon UK - which I have turned to before - had them! Using Google, I found an episode list site (http://epguides.com/MidsomerMurders/) (THANK YOU!), news about filming (YES!) and then the collections on the UK site. TEN episodes per box. Five collections. Region 1 - I checked - yep - USA. Well, I have seen all those. I wanted the NEW. (Good thing - they may be Region 1 but they are PAL format.)
There they were - individual DVDs, and pre-order on the ones not yet aired. OK.
What I didn't catch (buried down the page - yes - it is there - hidden away - was that these were all Region 2 and PAL format - and that does NOT play on my DVD player.
So when they arrived, and I promised myself only one a night (I had about 8 I think) - I settled after a hard day of confusion at work, ready for a fun movie - cats cuddled, dog fed, in my flannel nightgown, drink to hand, and - NO JOY!
I have just been rudely introduced to the sadistic powers that be. Viscious! Seems my DVD player (NTSC and REGION1) won't play PAL and REGION 2.
Say what? I hit the internet.
http://www.hometheaterinfo.com/dvd3.htm provides some help. It and few dozen other sites.
* First - do NOT hack your existing player. Voids the warrenty. Oh, like it really has one.
* Second - there is software for the computer -----have to check on that - my notebook (Mac) CAN drive my 45" TV? Not sure.
* Third - you can buy a new system that is guaranteed to play them - from $69 all the way to a few hundred. But consumers say these flake out.
* Fourth - send them all back and wait for the 6th "collection" (disappointment!) but then they are still in PAL formatting. Waiting for them to get to the US may take a long, long time if ever.
* Fifth - start researching.
From the web page listed above - important enough at I repeat it here: (THANKS GUYS!)
Please Note: Some DVD players have an internal switch setting that allows you to choose the country code. Others have this option hard coded. You may find a lot of advice in newsgroups as to how to by pass this feature. Just be aware that this will always nullify your warrantee. I don't track hacks or modifications. You may want to try a site that specializes in these things such as DVD Region Hacks. Again, please be warned, you can ruin your player if your apply any unauthorized modification to your DVD player. You can try contacting the manufacturer they often will help.
Hmmm. So I need to contact a Japanese company about my American DVD formatted DVD player to get it to play British formatted DVDs from a different Region. This should be fun! NOT!
Just because a DVD is coded for a specific region doesn't mean it will play in all countries assigned that region.
OK - they REALLY REALLY don't want anyone to get along.
UK and Japan are included in Region 2. Unfortunately, UK users the PAL video formatting while Japan is NTSC.
In region one, discs intended for release in the United States are often not the same as those for Canada.
when you buy a DVD you have to check the region code, the video format, the transfer specifics and the extras
OK - I am now educated. Sort of.
Then they hit me with (they have a whole bunch of links):
One new aspect of region coding is Region Code Enhancement (RCE) This is deigned by the studios to prevent viewing a Region One disc on a Region Free DVD player. It will not prevent watching the movie on a MultiRegion Player. The reason for this is to prevent people from the popular practice of hacking the player to be able to view all region discs. So far some Warner Bros, New Line, Columbia and now select MGM have this feature.
OH GOOD LORD!
The hackers must have gotten good at what they do -----
Most new releases from Sony and Columbia/Tristar are RCE.
Yeah - figures. Basically - RCE was designed to see if you hacked your machine. Think of a DVD Player as a somewhat primitive computer on the DOS- level. If you don't know what DOS is - don't even think about trying a hack.
||No Region Coding
||United States of America, Canada
||Europe, including France, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Arabia, Japan and South Africa
||Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo and Indonesia
||Australia and New Zealand, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America
||India, Africa, Russia and former USSR countries
||Peoples Republic of China
| 9||Expansion (often used as region free)
OK - the Midsomer Murders Collections (I thought were OK for me-----)
Actors: John Nettles
Format: Box set, PAL <------------------------- ooops
Region: All Regions <-------------------------- OK
Number of discs: 10
Studio: Acorn Media
DVD Release Date: 9 Jan 2006
Run Time: 970 minutes
All regions - not USA format.
DVD player must have video conversion ability.
The SINGLES (which I bought)
Actors: John Nettles, Jason Hughes
Directors: Richard Holthouse
Region: Region 2 ( DVD formats.) <-----------------BIGGER ooops
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Acorn Media
DVD Release Date: 12 April 2008
Run Time: 93 minutes
Blue Ray has the same situation.
(Did these guys never think about coordinated world-wide releases? So people everywhere can get it at the same time? And we can stop all this extra crap? Men must be in charge.)
High-Density (HD) Discs Region Encoding
There is no region coding in the existing HD DVD specification, which means that titles from any country can be played in players in any other country.
Well - that's nice. Sanity perhaps? Don't count on it!!!!! Give them a few minutes - I am sure they can screw this up too!
Multi-region DVD players are HACKED and the customer comment indicate they don't live long and the RCE code can defeat them. Some claim to bypass that too. Money constantly down the drain.
There is a software player (VLC) that can be put on my MAC that will ignore region codes. My son said NO!
The MAC DVD player is set to Region 1 (in the US) and you can change it to Region 2 - but you can only change it 4 times and then you are dead. (I want to make someone else dead!)
My first solution - perhaps: I have several Macs. I do not run DVD movies on them (why would I???). I can pick one - and make it a Region 2 player. Permanently.
Just need to see if it can drive the TV set. The 12" baby MacBook is my first choice.
My second solution - perhaps. Get an external DVD drive for my Big G5 tower and its big screen (and get an even bigger screen and a barker-lounger to sit in) and set it (reading from that drive) for Region 2. Ha!
My third solution. Talk to the writer in my group who goes to England all the time (daughter lives there) and see what they recommend - like - buy a Region 2 DVD player and be done with it.
Just need a power plug conversion-----. See if it talks to USA TVs.