[mythtv-users] OT: DVD Region and Format

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Mon Sep 11 21:13:43 UTC 2006

On 09/11/06 16:32, list at onnow.net wrote:

>Quoting White Joe <joe.white at consultant.volvo.com>:
>>I am in the US and interested in getting a DVD from the UK.  It is a
>>region 2 DVD in PAL format.  I have a Lite-On DVD burner in my Myth box.
>>MythTV (0.19) was installed using Jarod's FC4 installation instructions.
>>I currently use XINE.  As things stand, am I able to play the DVD?  If
>>not, are there adjustments that I can perform to make it possible?
>I am running .19 and have a liteon as well.  I can import NTSC North  
>America and PAL ( From the Netherlands ) DVD's as well.  So yes AFAIK

If your hardware doesn't contain region-locked hardware/firmware (and 
I'm not talking about RPC1 versus RPC2)...

Regional Playback Control (RPC) was implemented by the DVD Copy Control 
Association (CCA) before the first DVD's were ever produced.  RPC was 
rolled out in two phases.  The first phase did not require RPC 
enforcements in DVD drives for computers.  However, the second phase 
requires even computer DVD drives to enforce RPC restriction.  The DVD 
CCA sent out a "reminder" (= thinly veiled threat to sue vendors--see 
http://www.dvdcca.org/rpc.html) that after December 31, 1999, only Phase 
II RPC drives could be manufactured and sold.

My DVD-ROM is an RPC2 drive and allows me to change the region 5 times.  
Upon the 5th change, it can never again be changed (so it becomes stuck 
in that region).  If the drive is set to the same region as the disc, 
the firmware will perform RPC decryption (so, make sure you use 
regionset to specify the region you'll use most often).  If not, the 
software (xine, in this case--probably with the help of libdvdcss) can 
crack the RPC DRM.

Some people go to the trouble of finding and installing mod'ed firmware 
that "unlocks" all regions, allowing the DVD drive to do the region 
decryption.  I'll leave the discussion about the legality of doing this 
to you and your lawyer.

However, this year, some vendors (including Matsushita--the brand of DVD 
drive used by many Macs and ThinkPads) have begun shipping hardware that 
will not even provide the region-encrypted data off the disc if there's 
a mis-match between the hardware's and the disc's region settings.  If 
the hardware refuses to provide any data, there's nothing the software 
can do to fix the issue (i.e. no data = nothing to decrypt).

Of course, none of this affects me as it would be a federal felony 
offense for me, a US citizen, to play back an encrypted DVD on my DVD 
player unless, of course, I were using an approved OS (Windows) and DVD 
player software (WinDVD/PowerDVD/etc.).


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