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Frigem

Region Protection?

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Hello, everyone.

I bought a DVD from another country and decided to play it over here in Canada. When I used MPCStar, it says "Can't Open DVD" or words to that effect.

Is this the vaunted Region Protection that was on DVDs? I ask because I didn't really pay attention to this before, but now, I eventually learned it - the hard way.

I am not looking for a solution, just an answer: does MPCStar have Region Protection for DVDs, or is it just my DVD?

Thank you for an answer.

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It's not MPCStar, it's the hardware device's firmware that contains the region protection. Check for your DVD player in Device Manager, and look at the Region settings.

Most devices allow the region to be changed a finite number of times. You should make sure that this is indeed the problem, though, before trying to do anything about it.

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On some drives you can downgrade to the older style of Region protection so you can select multiple regions, all regions, or change the setting an indefinite number of times. It's usually possible to edit the disc and reburn it without the protection, but this is outside the scope of supporting bitcomet, try the freeware program DVDshrink, or try videohelp.com, you should find all the info you need there.

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I hope it's not blasphemy to refer to another software. But I need to point out that VideoLAN Client doesn't restrict DVDs from foreign regions.

I'm not saying that MPCStar is a bad player, due to the abilities that I've from it. I'm just stuck, I guess.

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It isn't the client. It's the DVD player. Which, in turn, suggests that region restriction is not the problem, which is why you were advised to make sure of that before trying to solve it.

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It may be that you have a disc with unusually encoded video that your system codecs don't support, but VLC's internal codecs do, so VLC is able to play it. If this is the problem, then all you would need to do is install the proper codecs, but I don't have this disc to examine so I can't tell you if it uses unusual codecs, or if it is region protected.

If it is region protected, and your drive is too, then the disc will fail to play in that drive no matter what player initiates the playback. It "may" be possible to run DVDshrink on the disc, remove the RCP and reburn the disc, but I couldn't say for sure since I don't have the disc here to know exactly what you have.

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I was able to watch region protected discs on my old laptop before by using MpcStar, but not anymore. I've tried using both my new laptop and desktop computers. Both got region protected DVD drives, but so did my old one which led me to discover MpcStar in the first place. Don't understand why it shouldn't work anymore.

Edited by osse84 (see edit history)

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It's the firmware in your DVD drive. You can downgrade the firmware on some of them to one that will allow you to either set it for region free, or to change the region an indefinite number of times. The new firmwares usually allow you to change it only a few times, in case you move to a new region, but not enough to change it everytime you want to watch a different dvd.

I once found a website dedicated to distributing the old less restrictive firmware for many popular drives. A google search will probably find it for you.

Optionally you could also install two drives, one for each region. DVDrom drives are very cheap.

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You might look up DeCSS and the history thereof.

DVD manufacturers were required to agree to a system that limits where, geographically, a disk can be played. (One side-effect of this was to prevent computers running Linux from playing those disks.) Some drives are "region-free". They're not supposed to be. You're not supposed to pirate movies.

DeCSS is a way of getting around this. One of the guys who wrote it, a Norwegian named Johansen, was charged with criminal unauthorized access to a computer. Asked whose computer he got unauthorized access to, the industry replied, "his own". He was acquitted. Made Norway's Economic Crime Unit and the DVD CAA look like international clowns. Johansen actually only wrote the GUI, not the decrypting code itself. (For a while there, you could buy t-shirts with the DeCSS code (in perl) printed on them.)

DeCSS exposed the CSS algorithm, which was found to be vulnerable to a brute-force attack. This was back in the late 90's. Current home computers can break CSS-type encoding in a few seconds. DeCSS itself is sort of a relic now, but you can still find it on the internet.

Anyway, this bit of history is why "everybody" knows it's incorporated into the disk drive firmware. The DVD industry just arrogated to themselves the right to say where you can and can't play the disks you bought from them.

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