region-free dvd drives

Following up on an earlier post about region-free dvd players, I happened to have a stroke of luck — I found a DVD-RW drive that is region free. I happened to pick up an SATA DVD drive, and as I was playing around with it, I decided I wanted to rip one of my Region 2 DVDs. In order to do that, I had to use regionset to change the region code first.

Part of the program options, though, is that regionset will display what region the drive is currently set to. When I ran it, it didn’t have any setting at all, which seemed curious to me. I wondered what would happen if I just played the disc without changing the code. Normally, on my old IDE drives, it would throw all kinds of errors before dying on me, and I’d have to do a hard reset to get my drive working again. In this case, though, it worked flawlessly without any modification! I thought my luck was too good to be true, so I popped a Region 1 DVD back in the drive to see if it had any issues playing those, and it did fine as well.

I’ve since tried ripping other Region 2 and Region 4 discs on it, and it has taken everything I’ve thrown at it so far. I’m pretty excited, to say the least. It would have been nice to have a region-free DVD player with HDMI output, but I haven’t been able to find one at a decent price. Being able to rip and watch them on the computer though is just as good.

For the record, the drive I have is a Lite-On and the model is LH-20A1L (firmware revision BL03). Interestingly enough, the Lite-On brand is the only one when it comes to DVD drives that I have never had problems with. When it comes to poorly authored DVDs, when my other IDE drives (Pioneer, Sony) would freak out, freeze up and die, the Lite-On one would always (well, about 95% of the time) take those crappy discs and skip over the bad sectors and manage to complete the rip. I’ve been really impressed with them.

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1 Comment

Filed under Hardware, Multimedia

One response to “region-free dvd drives

  1. Florian

    I can offer a tip for region free drives as well. If you are keen enough or feel adventurous you might be able to transform your regular RPC2 DVD drive to RPC1 with the help of http://rpc1.org/ and look for a modified firmware for your brand of DVD drive. I have done this quite some time ago with a Pioneer DVD drive with great success.

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