Region free DVD on MacBook Pro – All you need is a Windows XP machine!

This article is out of date but I have posted an updated summary so please continue the conversation over here.

So I was dissapointed to see that there seems to be no way to easily make the MacBook Pro’s DVD drive region free which unfortunately renders about half of the DVD’s I own completely useless. In these days of £20 multi-region DVD players this is not really on, and it is especially disappointing since on older PowerBooks VLC multi-region playback seemed to work so it means that additional time and effort is still being put into this pointless exercise to keep the movie companies happy.

With VLC for Mac out of the picture, the only possible solution was looking like a warranty voiding firmware hack which may or may not even exist (it is hard to tell if the ones that are being referred to on the internet are for older machines), certainly not worth the risk of a dead, out of warranty DVD drive.

So… no way forward with multi-region DVD playing :(

Unless, Windows to the rescue!!! VLC works like a dream playing any region DVD’s on Windows and has a really smart network streaming system built into it. So I popped the DVD in on my Windows PC, fired up VLC and ticked that little “Stream Output” button, select to stream over UDP and entered the IP address of the Mac to stream to:

Windows VLC DVD

On my Mac, also fired up VLC (using one of the universal binary nightly beta builds, which do seem to be generally very stable), select “Open Network…” and click OK.

Mac VPC DVD

Multi-Region DVD playback on a MacBook Pro, solved :)

PS. Yes there is a heavy dose of sarcasm in the whole Windows to the rescue thing for those reading with a sense of humour failure :)

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184 responses to “Region free DVD on MacBook Pro – All you need is a Windows XP machine!

  1. There’s a freeware program called MacTheRipper that will rip a copy of a DVD to your hard-drive, removing region codes and (optionally) macrovision in the process.

    You can then watch your movie right off your hard-drive without any worries. Very useful for airplane viewing… since you don’t have to carry around DVD boxes, etc. :)

  2. Pingback: Net Crap (4/22) at Musings of a Chicagoan

  3. Windows to the rescue?

  4. Hi, can you explain why VLC/Mac is out of the picture? I’m still a PPC user so… I’m unsure. Thanks!

  5. @Avi

    Apparently on the PowerBooks (PPC machines) the DVD drive could be bypassed by VLC, unfortunately it seems they are using a different type of DVD drive in the MacBook Pro’s and the bypass in VLC doesnt work.

    I hope they find a way around it, it really is a ridiculous restriction.

  6. Newbie, do you know where you got that information? Did you try it yourself? According to this thread VLC works fine to play any region DVD on an Intel iMac. Have you tried one of the VLC Nightlies?

  7. I got this information from putting Region 1 DVD’s into my MacBook and having it fail to play in both DVD player (obviously) and VLC player (dissapointingly). It doesn’t give an error message in VLC, just shows the title of the DVD for a second, seeks back and forth a couple of times and then stops trying.

    I am running a nightly build from a couple of days ago so I am running a very up to date version. I will try downloading last nights build.

    What can I say, if it works for them then I am happy for them but surprised because it doesn’t work for me :(

  8. I just downloaded the very latest nightly (24th April – trunk-intel-20060424-0048.dmg) and it still won’t play alternate region DVD’s.

  9. http://www.powerbook-fr.com/dossiers/dvd_region_free_en_article30.html

    I haven’t seen anyone working on the firmware unfortunately.

  10. Well, that sucks. Thanks for humoring me!

  11. @Avi:
    No problem, and I agree it totally sucks

    @jimmie:
    Nice article, I will be watching that for updates

  12. I was hoping the solution was to use boot camp into XP, execute some sort of region free tool there, then boot back into OSX… That would have been way cool.

  13. Pingback: the brook » Unacceptable: Hardware region locking on Mac

  14. VLC 8.5 was officially released for Intel Macs a couple of days ago. Any chance you could give it a try and see what happens?

  15. Already did, unfortunately it is the same… still wont play alternate region discs :(

  16. Hm, too bad.

    Well, have you tried MacTheRipper? It’s quite fast! HandBrake rocks too…

  17. @Avi:

    Yes, unfortunately MacTheRipper crashes as soon as you click “Go!” to rip the DVD, no error message just the apple “something went wrong” dialog.

    I just tried Handbrake which looks great (although transcoding means a lengthy wait before watching a DVD of course) but unfortunately I get a “No Valid Title Found” error when trying 3 USA DVD’s in my machine.

    I am not destined to watch Region 1 DVD’s on this mac!!!

  18. the problem with the late power-/i- and new macbooks is that they contain recent brands of matsushita (read: panasonic) dvd drives. those have a really nasty “feature” in their firmware that does an additional comparison of the dvd and drive regions. in case they don’t match, you only get errors out instead of data.
    unfortunately, to day, no one has gotten his hands on original firmware to hack and make the drives usable.
    the only solution seems to be pulling out the firmware stored on a drive itself and working with that – but noone has undertaken that task yet.

    my words: shame on you panasonic, shame on you apple, for bothering honest consumers!

  19. > shame on you panasonic, shame on you apple,
    > for bothering honest consumers!

    Absolutely, all this does is stop people from playing honestly purchased discs. Ironically, pirate copies have no such problems playing.

  20. Well, one way to confirm this would be to boot a Mac into Windows XP, open VLC, and try to play an other-region DVD with it. If it doesn’t work, then we’ve confirmed that the optical drive itself really just won’t provide those bits.

  21. Alan Francis

    MacTheRipper only works on a properly region coded drive however. ie If you want to rip, and de-region a R1 disc, you have to do it with an R1 drive.

    I’m in the UK and my PowerBook is R2. I set my Imac to R1 so I could rip the other 50% of my discs on it and wantch them on my PowerBook.

    As someone who regularly gives the CD and DVD industry 200 quid a month, I resent having to jump thrugh so many hoops to watch DVDs and listen to some “piracy proteced” CDs.

  22. Hmm interesting choice…

    Pay 20 quid and buy a legitimate DVD that WON’T PLAY ON MY MAC oooorrrrr pay 2 Quid for pirtae one that does :-(…..

  23. Can somebody tell me why regions were invented in the beggining? Did they think that if I have a region 2 “Batman: that if I move to USA im going to buy another Region 1 “Batman” because of that?????

  24. As far as I know it was to keep the artificial release delays on movie releases.

  25. It really is a pitty.. I use my Powerbook G4 for recording with Logic Pro when im out on trips, and I was getting ready to buy the Macbook Pro when all the third party’s upgraded to Intel, but I see there could be a lot of issues with the new computers… I really thought Steve Jobs should have made this transition much smoother and and easier on the customers… pitty..

  26. The problem exists equally on PC laptops because most manufacturers use these stupid Matshita drives. On Windows AnyDVD works most of the time, but not 100% with these drives. Also on the PC laptops I can just buy any standard size drive and put it into the laptop. With the MacBook I think I am locked into buying from Apple.

    Whoever at Matshita is responsible for this should be dragged into the street and hacked to death with machetes.

    Why continue buying from the music and movie industries? I spent thousands on their products and in return they said F you. So now I buy only independent label music, and copy anything else. Movies I rent, and copy if I decide I want to see it again. I’m tired of the entertainment industries’ childish nonsense.

  27. So far, the only thing that works on my MacBook Pro is Handbrake – it allowed me to rip & encode a region 2 DVD in my American MacBook Pro. I could then watch the resulting .avi file, or .mp4.

    That’s a lengthy process (about 1 hr.) to watch a movie…but…at least there’s ONE option for the MacBook Pro with a MATSHITA UJ-857.

    =======

    My findings:

    FIRST, you MUST disable autoplay for video DVDs in the System Preferences under “CDs & DVDs.” Set it to “Ignore.”

    VLC will play the intros/menus, but then I get a warning that says this DVD player doesn’t match the region code.

    MacTheRipper will rip, but the ripped file is unwatchable…

    DVDBackUp just crashes before ripping.

    MPlayer simply locks my machine every time.

    =======

    The file created with Handbrake will play in VLC. And…since you can specify file-size, you can make a very high-quality file, near DVD quality.

    That’s the best I’ve got so far.

  28. update.

    I was able to play a different Region code 2 DVD on my American MacBook Pro using VLC…so it appears to depend on the disc.

  29. Just wondering how Handbrake can rip and encode if VLC etc. can’t bypass the Matshita protection?

  30. don’t know, but it works. bizarre. it was a Japanese DVD that was supposedly “copy-protected.”

  31. asks for region changing on a zone 2 dvd (i have 4 left) but plays perfectly on VLC.

    this means that VLC is working, right?

  32. i quit Apple’s DVD player before it asks for the region change. but even then, VLC would not play the disc in question. it plays the menu animation stuff, but then i get a special screen that says “This player is incompatible with the region marking of this disc.”

    i now suspect this is disc-specific and possibly un-related to VLC. however, one should keep it in mind before adopting the “VLC will rescue me from all DRM” mindset when buying…

  33. OK, I am disappointed to read that the new MacBook Pro will not let me watch all my DVD’s (I live in Angola, work all up and down the West African coast and am currently sitting next to Lake Albert in Uganda so you can imagine I have quite a variety of regions) but……

    I started with a Commodore 64 and went the windows 3 and onwards to XP route and am finally, utterly, totally and irretrievably p****d off with Windows. Yesteday was the last ‘effing time a machine will tell me, ‘oh, i’m so sorry, I have just suffered an irrecoverable error and I am going to have to shut the programme down, you know, the one with all that data you just pumped in, and, guess what, auto recover won’t work because when I reboot, I won’t start for a while and when I do, it won’t be there and later on you’ll find I have corrupted a few random files as well. Just to tease you a bit. You know you like it really’.

    Well I don’t. I’m not some sleazy politician who likes to spend his lunchtimes getting spanked in Soho.

    Must be a virus. Norton says no. Spyware? Several costly versions of spyware cleaning and I am satisfied can’t be that, Then, the final teaser, better lose a few hours downloading the latest windows and office security patches, after all, I did it a whole seven days ago so my system must be full of holes by now, only to get, ‘windows authentication has detirmined that you may have been the victim of software piracy…..please give us yer credit card details and uncle Bill will try and make it better’. Like ‘ell I will.

    When I saw my colleague’s shiny new MacBook Pro, running MS Office software seamlessly and on our network, without hint of glitch or tremor and soooo fast (my laptop has 2.66Ghz and a gig of ram, it’ll fry an egg quickly but try working on graphics files) I thought that’s it.

    Through the combined wonders of the internet and a charge card, one new MacBook Pro 17* plus all the necessary extras is on its way to me. I’ll spend a hundred or so bucks on an external DVD drive and stick it in the side pocket of the snazzy new MacBag to go with the iPod (in it’s snazzy incase, incase of what I wonder?). Eye wateringly expensive but I’m tired of driving around in a clapped out Ford, I want a Bentley now. I’ve worked for it, I deserve it.

    I understand the frustrations of my esteemed fellow posters who in spite of making a not inconsiderable expense still cannot enjoy that single unit answer to their multi-media and workstation needs but, I assure you, in comparison to the years of torture, frustration and, not so very uncommonly, real grief when I lost something more than important, but dear to me (removable drive *:\ is not formatted, would you like windows to format it now? What? NO! FOR PITY’S SAKE NOOOoooo! IT’S MY BACK UP DRIVE!!!!!! Eject Eject oh please dear Lord let it Eject. And all the while that little drive light flickers and you know you’re stuffed), the fact that the ‘super drive isn’t actually as super as we would like is the merest, trifling inconvenience. For me, a long suffering windows user anyway.

    What I can’t understand is why Apple haven’t told us? By ‘us’ of course, I mean all the other okes who are still struggling. Why don’t Apple get on the telly and show some sweating sod desperately trying to get his PC laptop to boot up and then struggle to get it to behave while he gives his presentation and then lose the contract to some smooth chick with a MacBook running the same presentation software that he was using?

    Just a thought ‘cos Apple just sold a MacBook Pro to me by the purest chance that I would run into someone else who was using one. Next to Lake Albert. In Uganda.

    Now statistically, that’s fairly long odds on which to base a marketing strategy……

  34. Tom Gowans – your post is awesome, and hilarious, and true. I still love my MacBook Pro for all the reasons you listed and more. But, I am a videophile, and will find a workaround…one way or the other.

  35. Great comment, Tom :)

  36. I have the same problems on my MacBook Pro. It’s because of the Matisha drive (this has long been a problem on the windows side). Discs coded for a different region will only not play when the disc also includes BAD SECTORS!

    Now that I’ve figured that out I hope somebody can figure out how to solve the problem.

    … just came back to the U.S. after a vacation in Germany – had problems there with R2 encoded discs on my Macbook… aargh! Dual booting doesn’t work either…

  37. Pingback: Digital Ramble » Blog Archive » untangling regional dvds restrictions

  38. Does anyone know how one can change the region setting on the DVD drive. I can see that mine is set to Region 6 (out of the box, bought in the US…makes not sense…it should be Region 1), but I can’t find where I can change the setting. Unlike Tom’s globetrotting, I’ll be roaming the US at best and I just want to have Region 1. Any info would be greatly appreciated, but specific directions would be helpful..I’ve read tons of posts that mention it, but don’t actually describe how to do it other than scary, warranty nullifying firmware alterations…is that it? Help!

  39. Michael Bramley

    Hi

    I’m wondering if there is actually that much point in getting upset and trying to RPC1 the UJ-857 inside the new Intel Macs when AFAIK, using Windows XP, DVD +CSS Region Free (or DVD Idle Pro) & Cyberlink PowerDVD will do the job much better than any DVD player on Mac OS X. DVD +CSS Region Free makes an RPC2 drive seem like an RPC1 without actually altering the drives firmware.

    I know this is a bit of a pain and it would be cool do do it under OS X but it ain’t gonna happen unless you buy another drive. Though I’m not keen on PC’s, I use XP with Boot Camp on my MacBook Pro for DVD’s & also to play games as Direct X is way in front of Open GL in terms of being an games/3d API.

  40. There has been speculation that one can use Boot Camp to load up Windows XP and then use region-free software like AnyDVD or Region Free DVD on top of that to get through the protection.

    While this works with other drives, I can confirm that I have tried it on my brand-new Macbook Pro (i.e. Matshita UJ857) and it DOES NOT WORK. The error is similar to that of the VLC media player (I also tried using the Windows version, with the same failure). The title screen comes up, but then the video stalls and/or plays completely corrupted. The sound comes on intermittently, and there is no video.

    My guess is that, as another user suggested, the drive does a “double-check” as it is playing the dvd, and this checking prevents the region-free software from functioning appropriately.

    My solution: a $50 external DVD player (running my local Japanese region 2 DVDs). And the joy of not having to boot up Windows.

  41. pizzamousechips

    To Keith:

    IIRC, to change the region of your drive all you have to do is insert a DVD of the desired region. It will then ask you if you want to switch. I came to this page because I have the same problem as everyone else, but since it gives me 4 total tries at region switching, I figured I’d just use it now to watch my precious new DVD. Hopefully by try number 4, I’ll have a good, free solution.

  42. hi,

    this is my big problem. When ig ot my Macbook, i searched and searched to find the right software that plays dvd’s of all regions, and then i foud VLC… after 2 weeks of using VLC, in some strange twisted nature, as i have DVD’S of all regions, my DVD player locked on to region 3, and now i can’t play any thing, not even with freeeking VLC,

    i think tom’s idea is best, just buy an external DVD drive…

  43. how do i copy a dvd(ex:Ice age) into my macbook? im new with computers, can someone help

  44. Erik,

    Just download Handbrake (a free application-google it) and you can rip dvds to good quality AVIs. It takes about 30 mins on my Macbook Pro. ‘Mac the ripper’ also works.

    As for the general topic of this forum, I had no idea when I bought my Macbook that the drive was region locked and only found out to my horror when I inserted a region 1 dvd a few weeks ago. It’s pathetic that users (who buy the products!) have to put up with such pointless corporate regulation. ANYONE who wants to get pirated dvds, software or music, can. FACT. Why don’t they make it easy for us to use technology the way we want to? Maybe then I would pay for it…

    In the UK it is totally legal to buy any region dvd online so why they would want to lock us out is beyond me. Hopefully some bright spark will find a software solution soon as I am not going to flash my drive’s firmware-too risky.

    Having found VLC and then Handbrake I was hopeful that Miyamoto’s technique would work. Unfortunately not. VLC won’t play the disc at all, no error message, nothing. Handbrake just says ‘No valid title found’. I guess it is disc specific, some work, some don’t. dependin on age, region etc.

    Having said that VLC and Handbrake are both great programs. It’s incredibly refreshing to find free software that allows you access to a good range of video and audio codecs and have full control over the specifics of ripping/encoding/playing/streaming. Anyone who’s experienced problems with avis in quicktime and media player or frustration at the restrictions of ipods/itunes will understand.

    I’m (allegedly!) going the way of renting and ripping for the time being until a solution appears…

  45. I found a sure-fire solution to the problem with limited Region Code selections on PowerBook G4s. It may not be the best solution for your needs, but it works for me.

    Briefly, if the DVD I want to watch has a Region Code embedded in it that is not compatible with the code setting of my MATSHITADVD-R UJ-825 drive, I simply make a Region Code-free copy of it first on my Windoze laptop. It’s a pain, I know, but the process gives me a ‘back-up’ that has no Region Code that plays nicely on my PowerBook G4 using DVD Player.

    On the Windoze side, I use 1Click DVD Copy software, a bulletproof $59 program that hasn’t never failed to work. After paying for and downloading the program to a Windoze box, users need to download a small freeware patch from a third party on the ‘net to “enable” 1Click DVD Copy to duplicate and strip out the Region Code of copy-protected DVDs. (This is a one-time process.)

    See: http://www.1clickdvdcopy.com/

    I’m not condoning the creation of pirated DVDs, but until the movie industry and Apple remove this silly restriction on DVD Region Code changes to internal DVD drives on PowerBooks, I will use my solution with a clear conscience.

  46. Geir Helgi Birgisson

    hello.. I’ve got a 17″ PB and I’ve had the same problem for a long time, I hate it!
    I was just wondering, has anyone tried external Firewire DVD drives?

  47. Hi:

    I am not very knowledgeable about computers. I want to download the new version of VLC for the Macbook Pro but when I go to the site it gives me a variety of options of versions to download. Can anyone tell me if I am supposed to download the version for ‘Power PCs’, ‘Intel’ or Firefox/Mozilla/Safari? I assume it is the one for intel.

  48. Very, very disappointing news. I just tried the first DVD on my new MacBook Pro, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought this problem was fixed 5 years or so ago? Haven’t seen a region-locked DVD drive for a looong time.

    I’ve sent a letter to Apple but I’m not sure if they’ll listen. The fact that they’ve included a region-locked drive at all in a newly designer machine is a good sign that someone is pulling their strings here.
    Maybe they play nice so they can add movies to the iTunes shop soon. Whatever.

  49. Im so p+*#@d….same prob as everyone else…live in a diff country and want to watch american dvds….theres got to be some way to fukk these cheeky ba$tard$ over and watch the movies we’ve already fkkn bought w/o jumping thru 2 hours of hoops…im down to my last try before it sticks with me with whatever region im on…i think im gonna go down to the apple store and break something they have on display…that or pick a fight with one of the mac geniuses…i hate windows for all the pain it caused but miss it frequently for the freedom it gave me….

  50. i’m going to be purchasing an intel powermac but not until leopard is released, whenever that may be. I was aiming around sometime after x-mas.

    i own literally over 100 imports (non region 0/1) discs and i am currently using my ibm laptop to view these dvds. I want a mac but if i’m not able to watch imports then i may possibly avoid buying a mac. sad but true.

    also, someone should go more in depth about the “external dvd drive” theory. i don’t mind shelling out $50 for a dvd drive. Are they specific brands I should avoid or what?

    thnx

  51. Hello everyone. I run region one in XP media player (bought the DVD part online) and region 2 in Mac X in my intel MacPro

  52. Christina – that sounds like a great solution. I wonder how it works if, as posted earlier, the firmware of the drive itself seems to be double-checking the region compatibility?

    Has anyone out there replicated these results?

  53. I tried a workaround on an off chance it worked. Go into system prefs. and set your DVD drive to igonre when DVD is inserted, therefore stopping Apple DVD player opening when the disc is inserted (default setting) then inserted my R1 disc in the drive (my drive is set to R2). I then opened MacTheRipper, it scanned the disc without giving me any nonsence message about changing the region code of my drive, set the region code to all and it extracted the DVD. As far as I’m aware this hasn’t changed my drive region setting as there was no warning message or any window asking me if I wanted to change my drive setting. Anybody else had any luck with this? I have tried this on my Powermac G4 but not on my Macbook Pro yet, I can only assume that as it works on my G4 that this should work on my MacBook as I haven’t altered the firmware.

  54. not sure what all the fuss is about.

  55. ive been watching mult region dvd’s on my new intel black macbook since i got it. been using vlc like i did with my g4. I just disable the dvd player from system pref like mentioned earlierer. i have a bunch of region 3 and 4 discs as well as american region 1. don’t know if this prob every has is related to “macbook pro” or not. But i am having a happy time with the latest VLC never one problem opening any disc. EVER!!! Maybe its because i never use apple dvd player except rarely for region 1’s. don’t know.

  56. Meh…this is not working for me. I get no note about region conflicts or anything, but VLC just seems to scan the DVD and then do nothing.

  57. I have the same problem. My MacBook is region 1, but I am studying in the UK. I didn’t even know DVD’s had different regions. Booo. Still no cute application to download to get around all this?

  58. VLC for Mac worked for me on a MacBook on both Region 1 and Region 2 DVDs without any fuss. No ripping required.

  59. I can confirm that the latest nightly VLC build on my R2 MacBook Pro will not play the R1 DVD I have in here.

    The menu comes up fine, but click on the “Play Now”. window closes, a new window comes up and then VLC is left high and dry

  60. Has anyone tried “DVD Idle” on a Boot Camp Mac Book Pro? It is a Win XP application that removes region coding in Win XP media Players and not the drive region. I have a copy for my XP SP1 machine but have not installed bootcamp on my Mac Book Pro yet.

    One other question was how could Handbrake encode from another region if the drive won’t recognise the region in the first place?

    Iggie

  61. hi,
    can i install winxp at apple g4 laptop

  62. tried dvdidle doesen´t work for matshita uj-8xx drives, unfortunable

  63. As an apple tech, I wanted to point out the reason that some people have no problems is that apple uses a 9:1 drive distribution ratio (approximately, of course), between Matshitas and H-L (Hitachi-LG) drives in MacBook Pro’s. Just wanted to point out for the record though that the only defective DVD drives i’ve ever replaced in the MacBook/Pros have been H-Ls. And I have been doing a lot of replacing (of lots of everything).

  64. Has anyone been having problems with the Matshita drive on their MacBook Pro eating discs? 50% of the discs I put in, whether movies or regular files are trapped by the Matshita drive. It will slowly spool up, then do a minor search and then kick the disc out, or worst yet, eat the disc and then I have to take it to Apple to have them remove the disc. I’ve had to do this 5 times so far and it’s a royal pain. To make matters worst, some discs that previously worked, now don’t while other that didn’t will once in a while work.

    A final note, never had any problems on it until I installed boot camp and since then, endless problems.

    I’m in Thailand and any solutions would be highly appreciated.

  65. I did what Kevin suggested back in August. Set System Prefs to ignore me putting in a DVD. Ripped it with MacTheRipper, but got a message at the end about Bad Sectors, and couldn’t watch the movie. I am an American living in Japan, and I would like to copy all my DVDs to region free.

  66. Hello,
    like everyone else, i’ve been also wrestling with this problem of Macbook pro (bought around may/2006) not playing different region dvds. I got an external dvd drive (Iomega) from Fry’s electronics. Someone on these discussion forums described “flashing” the drive, which seems not to work on the internal Macbook pro drive, but on this older Iomega drive it seems to work ok. The only problem is that the Iomega drive is not really portable, it needs an AC adapter and it’s not too small (weighs about 3 pounds). It connects via USB and i can copy the movies i want to watch to my hard-drive prior traveling.

  67. mmmm the same problem here on november the 15th 2006

    have a macbook with matshita uj-857. installed windows xp and dvdidle but the movie just plays all corrupted. at some point it seemed like if it was going to work but neeee.. the same at the end. if anybody finds out about the solution please post it.

    :)

  68. I am NOT going to upgrade to a “pro” untill a solution is found. I travel regularly between Dallas(r1)/Paris(r2) and need the ability to be region free. I’ll keep my PB G4 for a while longer. Sorry Steve, I’ll return when you can build a laptop for the “rest of us”. >:0(

  69. Hey Blue replace your dvd drive sounds like its faulty.

  70. Easiest way to solve the problem… *don’t* set the DVD region.
    Download VLC… play DVD’s through VLC. Worked like a charm for me, everything worked 100% :)

  71. Ben:

    Is this on a MacBook Pro? If so, what MacBook Pro is it?

  72. That’s nonsense, My brand new MBP wouldn’t play any discs at all, either through DVD Player or VLC 0.8.5 until I set the region code on the drive.

  73. and now that i have set the code to region 2, i stll can’t play other region discs through VLC.

  74. Seems like some ppl are having no problems disabling iDVD and using VLC to open other region DVDs while most of us are not able to do that. As for me VLC does not work and I have MacBook recently purhased 1 month ago. MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-857:
    I’ve heard that the other solution is to use Region X which basically allows you to reset the number of times you are able to change regions before it locks out. So you play different regions DVD then change the values back to 4.
    http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/13801
    Has anyone tried this?

  75. Vman: Read the bold text in the program’s description.
    It’s not going to help.

  76. If I were to totally reformat My iMac And reinstall Tiger OSX would this fix or reset my region code? Cos at the moment its locked on region1 and im bloody in Australia!!!

  77. hI ALL i HAVE THE SAME QUESTION. i DON’T KNOW HOW BUT i BURNED MY LAST CHANGE YESTERDAY ON ZONE 1 AND i AM LIVING IN nEW ZEALAND (ZONE 4) i WAS WONDERING IF RE-INSTALLING IT ALL WOULD FIX IT. aPPARENTLY NOT BECAUSE IT IS A HARDWARE PROBLEM.

  78. so just buy a new super drive?? they only like 100bucks!!! damn

  79. > so just buy a new super drive?? they only like 100bucks!!! damn

    Genius! Why didn’t I think of that!!! Just buy a new DVD drive every time you watch 5 movies… Oh, wait… No

  80. Damnit dudes !!!! I tried to figure out the problem on my own for months but it seems useless… I don’t get the point of Region X ? Why would you download a software that can change your region code when you use a “Region-Free Driver”. C’mon Einstein, it’s f**** useless !!!!

    There must be a way to crack this s*** !! I’m in france and over half of my DVD’s are from Canada !!!

    I love my mac, I do, but sometimes I just want to burn it down …

  81. >>Genius! Why didn’t I think of that!!! Just buy a new DVD drive every time you watch 5 movies… Oh, wait… No

    Well My friend if you payed attention to what I said earlier you would notice that i’m only interested in watching region 4, so thanks for your smart arsed comment. Go fuck yourself. :-)

  82. As is if problems with regions wasn´t enough

    N. My Macbook Pro won´t play dvds with scratches (it´s only 6 months old). Pretty anoying, when my girl friends HP plays just about everything. I hate that UJ-857-drive.

    Anybody who have experienced similar problems with that drive?

  83. New DVD Type in Core Duo 2?

    I was running through the ATI-AMD Vista test using XP (okay okay, dont kill me, I just wanted to see how it ran…) on my MacBook Pro Duo Core 2, and I am pretty sure it actually said it was a Hitatchi DVD player.

    So maybe some light in the end of the tunnel for me.

    Will keep you guys posted.

  84. Hi,
    Just found out on my old eMac. i changed the drive in it for a Samsung drive which can handle +DVD to write. However, Region X, which was installed and did worked fine, worked not on this drive.
    After reading this whole lot, I found the latest VLC player. (8.6)
    After installing and set the preferences to -none-, I did not get the annoying thing about region code anymore. (I did not use any of the 5 settings yet)
    Seems this VLC release does the trick fine.

  85. You can tell your brand by running system profiler and checking it. It’s really simple and most are Matsushita. Boo Matsushita. They make it just as hard to make a Home Theater DVD player region free, as well as Denon (whom they own)…

  86. I just got my first mac ever, and I want to know how to take an American (R1?) DVD I own and just put it on my computer so that I can watch it without carrying around the DVD. How do I do this?? Should I go get MacTheRipper? Thanks so so so much!!!!!

  87. Or does Handbrake work better? thanks!

  88. New: if it’s a new Mac, which uses an Intel chip (CPU), then MacTheRipper won’t work for you. I recommend HandBrake, it’s fantastic software. Good luck!

  89. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhg!!!

    ug….its not fair….

    vlc – no
    mplayer – no
    Realplayer- no
    :(

  90. Avi — MacTheRipper works fine on Intel Macs (at least, it does on my MBPro and Mini). But HandBrake is probably the better choice anyway.

  91. Maybe my dvds aren’t copy protected or something, but i have region one and three and can play both of them in vlc with no problems. I have the dvd player set not to open but aside from that, i didn’t do anything. I also can use handbrake to rip anything i have tried. I have the first gen macbook bro with the Matsushita drive. sorry to everyone else though? On another note, my drive often does wierd things and sometimes takes a long time to read the dvd and also messes up burns a lot. So it looks like a terrible drive no matter what

  92. Bonjour Y’all
    Some guy may have found a way around the region lock for the new Macbooks.
    here is the link : http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=40681
    It does require some thinkering
    Best wishes for 2007

  93. Changing the DVD player is a bit drastic, azim.

    BTW: I ran System Profiler, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out whether I had a Matsushita or the other one. Where do I look?

  94. BTW: I ran System Profiler, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out whether I had a Matsushita or the other one. Where do I look?

    chek this program DVD Info X.

    I hate the matSHITa drive! Now I’m stuck in Region 1 forever.

  95. Yes. I use windows on my mac with Bootcamp. And I also use DVDidle Pro. And it works like a charm. I use PowerDVD and VLC player. All work on any region because of DVDidle. But I have no idea what to use for mac osx.

  96. @ azim
    you can actually get an old flashable dvd drive, flash it and put it in an external firewire case – that’s a fairly cheap solution that does not imply opening up the MBP (and void the warranty)

    That’s just what I may do. I have the infamous Matshita 85J on my MBP, have tried all the software I can think of (even Windows VLC with Crossover ;) ), but no luck yet…

    I am hesitant about trying Windows VLC with BootCamp because of the horror stories. I may just get + flash a cheap portable dvd player.

    Bottom line, shame on Apple for forcing this kind of stuff on those who shell out almost 3000 bucks for their products. And on any other person who buys a Mac nowadays.
    It makes you think twice about buying a Mac again…

  97. @ Yohan
    what Mac and what DVD do you have

  98. I have an macbook pro with mishati UJ-857 dvd drive, and no software will make it bypass the region settings. I´m gonna make a last try with Handbrake, though.

    However, the drive also seems to have problems reading slightly scratched discs. Apple Service Center looked at it, and claimed it was totally normal, and that they wouldn´t change the drive. (Bad argument, but they can´t change 4 millions drives)

    However, that seems crazy, since I use it for video editing. My girl friends hp laptop, which is even smaller than mine, plays all dvds, all regions, no matter how scratched they might be.

    Anybody got problems with scratched dvds as well? Or maybe my loocal Apple Service Center are telling me lies?

  99. Doing Just Fine

    Don’t know how many of you this will help, but I found a solution, at least for myself. I just bought my 15″ macbook pro in January (Matshita 857d KCV9), for a three month work trip to japan. The first time I tried putting a DVD in it was today. It was a DVR of some Japanese television. When the “Please choose a region” message popped up I got a little concerned, and went to teh internet for help. After about two hours of searching through threads I saw that someone had used VLC when the message to choose a region was up, so I tried it and it worked. So now, to play a disc, I insert it, start DVD player, wait for the message, then start VLC. VLC then recognizes the drive and plays the disc for me. When I am done, I close VLC, hit cancel on the “Please choose a region message” and go about my business. So as far as I know (which admittedly isn’t that far) I have a region free player.

    I suppose a caveat is I have no idea what will happen if I want to burn a dvd.

  100. matshita857gotohell

    I just can repeat what so many people said, hoping APPLE thinks twice about doing this b***s*** again!

    I have a MacBook and tried everything that was suggested here. For some reasons it seems the japanese are more lucky, but nothing worked for me.

    I travel quite a bit between Europe and the US and honestly buy DVD’s and it’s very hard to believe that this is true. In the beginning even one of the “genius”-guys in the apple store in SF didn’t want to believe me…

    AAAAAARRRGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I hate this drive and Apple for doing this!!!!!

  101. I have a powerbook G4 that is set to region 5 (it was initially set to region 1, but I changed it).

    I cannot play any DVD from any region now using VLC.
    The title of the DVD appears in the controller, seems like it might play for about 1/2 a second and then stops.

    I don’t understand this, and I haven’t found anything after hours of searching.

    Does anyone know what’s going on?

  102. I use a macbook pro and a desktop XP PC. On my PC it took me all of 2 minutes to sort out the problem with a free, tiny program. I wish I could renounce Apple, and all her works and all her pomps, unfortunately I need to work on the laptop.

  103. I’m using a G5 iMac (bought in Japan just before they went Intel) and found that Handbrake (and MediaFork) would not work or recognize the disk, while MacTheRipper does. At least so far it does. We’ll see if it crashes.

  104. Hiya,
    I have same problem as you guys have… dont know how it would help just to add another post.

    I have a MBP (intel core dua) bought 3 months ago with H-L DVD drive.

    In the begining I had set my code to Region2 cos that is what I was going to use and now Iam in India with dvd’s coming from all regions (thanks to globalisation).

    The DVD player asks me to change the region and I have 4 times left but dont want to let it go.

    I have downloaded VLC to escape the region limitation. I have set my DVD/CD preference to ‘ignore’ as mentioned by so many earlier. But my DVD from other regions wont play. cdda: no audio tracks found
    Here is the error it shows on VLC
    (main: no suitable access module for `dvdnav:///dev/rdisk1′)
    Anyone here who knows what all this means on VLC?

    Thanks a lot.
    Cheers!
    I dont want to go the ripping way it takes so much time. I just want to put my disks in and watch the films and enjoy.

  105. sorry the VLC error is like this (cdda: no audio tracks found
    main: no suitable access module for `dvdnav:///dev/rdisk1′) and there is some human error above.
    Cheers.

  106. Antonio Aliberti

    i have been living in sf for 8 months and i was in italy and i changed the region code 5 times. now i am in usa and i can not watch dvds, please what can i do?

  107. — VLC media player MacOS X Intel nightly builds —
    What is the difference between “Branch” and “Trunk”?
    Dont want to go through installing both.

    THX

  108. oh my god!!!!

    I got my Macbookpro a month ago and just staretd researching how to go region free… what a nightmare

    I read all the posts i could find and I dont think there is one solution.
    Too many different variables. Different computers, different drives, even different drive versions (857 / 857d /857j)

    WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE AT APPLE ????

    I guess all we can do is try and try and try different workarounds until we get some kind of satisfaction (or desperation :p )
    Steve listen to us… it is a globalised world we live in… you’re going against it and anyone who has in the past done so, lives to regret it.

    Cheers everybody

  109. OK, I’ve read a good few dozen pages on this now and think I’ve got the hang of the issues. So the summary (for people who haven’t been paying attention) is this:

    1. If you have a G4 or early Intel machine then you can *probably* play DVDs from all regions in VLC by ignoring the prompt to change the region. You would need to have a drive manufacturer by someone other than Matshita or with a Matshita model number lower than 84x [I *think*, it seems the 83x models work with this method]. If you click ‘Cancel’ the disc will be ejected, so just move the dialogue to the side of the screen and ignore. Click ‘Cancel’ when you’re done watching the film. If you are looking to back-up your DVD then the same method should apply.

    2. Some really old G4s (my slowly-dying 667MHz machine for instance) can be patched using XVI’s firmware. XVI has now retired so don’t expect firmware patches for any newer machines any time soon.

    3. How many times do we have to say it: RegionX only works if you already have a firmware-patches DVD drive. So unless you’ve done ‘2’, there’s no point suggesting RegionX as a workaround. The way RegionX is works is this: on my old TiBook I used RegionX to switch the drive region before inserting the disk, that way I could play DVDs back in Apple’s DVD player rather than VLC with the region change dialogue.

    4. The latest round of Matshita drives (for instance, my 857D) will not allow you to work around the region-coding issue using method ‘1’ or ‘2’. The drives use hardware region coding as well as software region coding and compare the two settings. Unless they match you get garbage out. Handbrake will not work. MacTheRipper will not work. Those applications circumvent the CSS encryption scheme, not the hardware region coding.

    5. Some people have suggested booting in to XP as a workaround and using DVDIdle or PowerDVD. My guess is that this only works with the older intel machines with model numbers lower than 84x, since the hardware key will still be set for the 857D. It certainly won’t work from within Parallels since Parallels is still working with the hardware as set up in the Mac OS. The only way that this could work is if Macs and PCs somehow wrote *differently* into the hardware region coding. Which seems unlikely at best.

    6. So the *only* solution at this time for people with 857Ds is to go and buy an external DVD drive. If you have discs from only two regions then it doesn’t much matter what external reader you buy since you’ll play all your region x discs in one drive and all your region y discs in the other. If you have discs from more than two regions then assuming you don’t want to buy three or four drives you should do your research and find a drive that is firmware upgradeable.

    7. The 17″ Core 2 Duo intel laptops can be ‘upgraded’ in a warranty-voiding way to use a Pioneer drive that works with the method outlined in 1 (i.e. you remove the Matshita drive and replace it). The link to the instructions looks worth following.

    8. The 15″ Core 2 Duo intel laptops use a 9mm drive casing that is 3mm thinner than previous laptop DVD drives and Matshita is currently the only manufacturer of drives with this thickness. Until someone else releases a flashable drive with that profile we are stuffed on endless region-switching. End of story.

    I find this profoundly irritating since I travel frequently between the US and the UK and have actually *lived* in both countries and so have extensive DVD collections in both regions. Since I spend most of my time in the UK I’ve had to settle on Region2 and an external Region1 (a LaCie light scribe). It’s even more annoying since I can walk down the street and buy a region free DVD player in most A/V shops. My ugly-as-sin PC is also not too fussed about regions. Only on my freaking expensive Pro is there an issue.

    I certainly hope that Apple will take pity on us and work with Matshita to issue a firmware update down the line — Steve made his no-DRM pitch not too long ago and this is even more trivial than that! However, I’m not holding my breath.

  110. Dear all of you.

    It’s inhuman that I just can’t play ” CANE TOADS ” on my MBP duo which is uni-regional despite its high price ! – Most DVDs only exists for region 1

    Reminds me of the sayings :

    ” american beer is like having sex in a canoe – it’s
    fucking close to water ”

    and :

    ” I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a
    frontal lobotomy ”

    and :

    ” I’d rather have a un-regionalized Mac that can
    play any DVD than this one ! ”

    I’m sad – I’m depressed – I’m blue – I’m down –
    I’m frustrated – I’m P.d of – I’m close to mad/bad – –

    SHAME ON YOU APPLE

    the original Mackintosh ( Charles Rennie : 1868 – 1928 ) was a highly innovative guy who tought the world about the highest functionalism – but THIS is dream-less & incompetent !

    May GOD be with all you other folks

  111. kalfadellis

    the region locking code was just another reason for a lot of people to go and buy pirated DVD. they are cheaper, almost the same quality and sound and most of all, they are region free DVD

    GO BUY PIRATED DVD FELLAS! DUN BUY THE ORIGINAL ONE, COZ IT’S SUCKS – YOU PAY TOP DOLLAR FOR NOTHING

  112. if i have an dvd drive which says its a HL-DT-ST DVDRW GWA4080MA: then is it possible to find a way to watch all regions on my macbookpro?

    Steve jobs is kinds shady in some ways, even on the apple tv i can’t watch a lot of other format files on my tv, mainly designed so you buy more from itunes.. lame

  113. I’m as irritated as anybody, but don’t blame Steve. Apple is the one company which will not build in restrictions unless they are forced.

  114. @eolake: nobody is forcing them to use matshita drives

  115. Thanks JR for suming it all up for me. My lap top has an 857 BAD APPLE in it

  116. I don’t understand why people are getting mad at Apple, it isn’t them who made the regions on the DVD’s. It’s the people who make the DVDs

  117. hahaha
    how naive
    apple LOVES drm and copy protection and region locked dvd’s. They \ make money out of that, through deals and agreements with media companies. That’s how idealistic they are. Period.

  118. Wally Robertson

    No problem encountered. My MBP 17″ is USA bought. I have no region problem using VLC v0.8.4. To be more explicit:
    Inserted Region 2 DVD. Apple DVD player repoprted region change needed.
    Cancelled message, closed Apple DVD player.
    Opened VLC, did File/Open/DVD, selected DVD drive.
    DVD started up immediately with no grief at all.

  119. Wally, having done some extensive reading on the topic, it would be good to know whether you drive is in fact a Matshita UJ-857A or 857D or an LG GWA4080MA or GWA4080MB. Try “About this Mac” & “More info…” from the Apple menu. I suspect your drive is one of the latter two, in which case you are lucky. It appears that the Matshita is currently unbreakable – even when running as a PC – the reason apparently being as follows (see link for original posting):

    “Matshita drives won’t return encrypted disc content unless a key for the disc has been requested successfully. To request the key, the computer has to ask for it in combination with the region code. For the key to be returned, the region code requested has to match the region code of both the disc and the drive.”

    If you take a look at the DVDIdle website (a company offering software that can make any DVD player region-free, for PCs) you will see in their small print that they can’t and don’t plan to break the Matshita XX-8xxx drives, so it is pretty clear that all of us who have bought Apple Macs with these drives are out of luck. I suggest that we all write to Steve Jobs and as many other influential people as we can to complain about this. “Region” restrictions are anti-competitive and downright criminal (and definitely un-American!). I am actually from the UK and have lived in the US and Hong Kong and as a result have DVDs with different regions. Why should I not be allowed to play DVDs that I have bought quite legally! Gripe, gripe, grumble… I think you get my point… Apart from the very ingenious method demonstrated by macnewbie, the only reasonable work-around appears to be to buy a region-free external DVD drive.

    Apparently, if you are stuck at the end of the process of changing region 5 times there is the possibility of doing a “vendor reset”, but you can only do this sort of reset a limited number of times.

    PS I wrote this before reading through all of the comments, so I find that I am actually repeating things that have been said before, but maybe mine can act as a bit of a summary.
    PPS Since it is becoming a summary, then for completeness’ sake I should mention that for Matshita UJ-857A or 857D drives the following will not work according to all that I have read: VLC (under any method of inserting the disc) or other software, and if you have a 15″ MBP, there is at present no installable replacement for the drive … :-(

  120. It felt good reading posts written by people from around the world. I live and work throughout the Asia-Pacific region and there are four regions in this region alone, Australia, South East Asia, China and Japan, ROFL. I just bought a bran-spanking new 15″ Macbook Pro, it’s my first Apple and although I love using it the hardware/software region tech has spoiled the ride considerably. I’ve been through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining (negotiatng a soloution), and now acceptance. When all I really wanted to do was sit down with this superb piece of engineering and enjoy a DVD.

    Perhaps the people at Matshita -mumified inside the vacum of their white coveralls and trapped by their tiny technologies- can no longer leave the atmosphere of their irridescent clean rooms where their product is manufactured and are tunneling their way toward the centre of the earth claiming un-restricted regional territories along their way.

    Rumors of Steve Jobs having shrunk himself into a minature world confirm his positioning of Apple as a sound internationaly-versatile brand, perfect for a globalised lifestyle, actualy refers to a novelty globe the kind sold at stationary stores and kept in the home office. He aplogises to those who thought otherwise and invites us all to join him on this new, smaller version of “Earth” and suggests we bring along both Beta and VHS – his collections of tapes is a little ‘undecided’.

    Media formats across the industry will undergo a complete overhaul in the coming months said to introduce a new system of copy protection. Salable units such as songs from online vendors will be allocated individual e-regional codes. Under the new restrictions media players will be permitted a single e-region, in some cases limiting playback devices like computers, and MP3’s to a single song.

    For those with more serious intentions than this can satisfy I’d like to refer you to JR and Andrew’s posts that as of my writing this summarise the previous 110 articles.

    Region info from http://hometheater.about.com/cs/dvdlaserdisc/a/aaregioncodesa.htm

    REGION 1 — USA, Canada
    REGION 2 — Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
    REGION 3 — S.Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia
    REGION 4 — Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (including Mexico)
    REGION 5 — Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
    REGION 6 — China
    REGION 7 — Reserved for Unspecified Special Use
    REGION 8 — Resevered for Cruise Ships, Airlines, etc…
    REGION 0 or REGION ALL — Discs are uncoded and can be played Worldwide

  121. guys, why don’t you just make an image of your dvd with the disk utility (dvd master, no encryption), rename it to xxx.iso and then play it with VLC?

  122. My god… I’ve spent almost all morning reading these posts, as I’ve first came across the issue today. That’s really sad, no other word for it. I don’t travel a lot, so you guys must suffer much more than me. I live in Brazil and we’re region 4 here.

    I guess blaming apple and steve job ain’t gonna help. Sitting and waiting maybe do the trick, but as the other dude’ve said, do not hold your breath.

    I don’t agree with the “go pirate” solution, but I have to agree that this is the only way to fuck up this stupid industry. Look at all the fuss and hassle we’re supposed to get through in order to use something we’ve paid a lotta money for. Buy an external DVD? Replace the original one and flash it and THEN use another program…? C’mon, that could be done by most of you, I’m sure, but I doubt that the simple user would ever consider opening a MBP and replacing any kind of hardware.

    To me it’s plain simple, someone has got to pay the price for piracy. WE ARE. We buy our moviel legally, we pay the great hollywood studios, government, taxes and this is what we get: THIS FUCKING THING DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU. I bullshit you not when I say it’s working for SOMEONE, and this guy/government/enterprise earn their dollars out of YOUR situation.

    I guess this is a pretty stupid strategy, since we can download dvd quality movies using torrent engines, P2P or just going to that certain spots in the city and get a pirate copy.

    Considering everything, I feel the best choice is just going pirate for those titles that differ from the settings on your Mac. I won’t even trouble myself changing the region. Just leave it there if everything goes bad, if you move out of your country or anything.

    So, there you have it. Go pirate and FUCK the industry.

  123. That’s it. The solution for my MBP:

    Download EVERYTHING!

    So much for anti-piracy with the stupid regions… I have about 200-250 DVDs (all 100% originals), most of them region 1 and 2 because I’m from Europe, but I go to school in North-Am. I also have a few other DVDs from another region that I bought when I went away on holiday.

    Then again, it’s not Apple’s fault, but the retarded movie industry who can’t keep up with globalization nor technological advances.

    Anyone know a good place for a freshman pirate to start out downloading and purchasing real discs?

  124. I have a brand new MBP 15” with a GWA4080MA drive. Same problems with DVD regions like everybodyelse. Just wondering, what about the software “Region X”??? Does it break the code?

  125. violincredible

    I have been a tragic Mac evangelist right through from the Mac Plus to the current sexy gear, enduring the dark days when Steve Jobs was sent to purgatory, and I even forgave them for my disastrous powerbook 5300cs (TWO dead motherboards, they never released the promised CD drive, the screen bevel cracked, appalling battery life…. -well at least mine didn’t EXPLODE!).
    Up until the Intel iMac and MacBook I’ve had no problem getting around these sort of stupid restrictions (3rd party internal drive, firmware flash, PatchBurn etc) but this _really_ matSHITaS me. I strongly believe I have a moral and legal right to enjoy my legally bought DVDs in my legally bought DVD drive. The stupidity and irony of forcing honest people like me to engage in piracy to enjoy content they ALREADY OWN A LEGITMATE COPY OF is breathtaking, and surely dramatically increases not only the market for stolen content, but also a general contempt for the whole sordid, oligarchical industry.
    More importantly (to me) Apple’s image and reputation are pungently soiled by this unnecessary toadying to the bullies. I mean, Jobs and Woz honed their craft by hacking, cracking, phreaking etc and to this day their OS and most Apple apps are quietly left open for us battlers to cut our teeth on. Even iTunes Store’s supposed ‘restrictions’ are easily avoidable by the simple process of burning the tracks to a CD and re-importing them.
    I’m not endorsing wholesale theft here, but it’s always seemed like Apple have left room for intelligent consumers and aspiring developers/innovators to see inside the ‘magic box’ technology and to take responsibility for their own moral choices.
    WTF Apple, get rid of these piece-of-matSHITa drives before us true believers lose all faith in you.

  126. OK…so how funny is this… I have a US MacBook Pro 15″ (purchased in November ’06), and I happen to be in Germany at the moment. I got a DVD for which there is no English version (the German film Vaya Con Dios), and popped it into my MacBook only to find out there’s no region crack for the matsushita drive (oh, joy!) DVD Player said “You need to change your region. You can only do this 4 more times” and I thought “eh, fine, F U too, but whatever” and did it. I also ripped the disc while I had it in after watching the movie (I *am* still allowed to back up my media, right!?) Upon mounting the .cdr image made with OS X’s Disk Utility, DVD Player tells me “You need to change your region. You can only do this *5* more times” — What in the world!? First of all, I set the region when I played the disc, so my system is already set to the region of the disc image. Second, how did the number of times I’m allowed to change my encoding go up!?

    As a side note, VLC does play the ripped image, but I haven’t tried ripping anything with my drive set to a different region than the disc. I figure if I have the disc image, then at some point I’ll find some software that can strip the f***ing region encoding. I’ll probably end up buying an external drive too :(

  127. Hi everyone. I have a dumb question: according to the two insightful posts above (111. JR – April 1, 2007 and 121. Andrew – April 23, 2007; thanks for the clear write-up guys!), there appears to be no way to RPC1 the Matshita UJ-857 drives that come in the latest MacBook Pro 15″ models.

    Here’s my question: what happens if I insert a DVD (from a region that doesn’t match the drive), ignoring for the moment that there is video content on it, and just treat it as data? That is, just mount the disc as a UTF filesystem (I think that’s what is used on DVDs) like I would with a DVD-ROM. Is it the case that these damn drives won’t even read _data_ from a disc if there is a region mismatch? Is it even _meaningful_ to talk about region coding for a data disc?

    After all, CSS is trivially broken by brute force and/or more clever approaches (I think libdvdcss, which is used by VLC, actually does this) — so logically, if I can read the .VOB files, I should be able to watch the content, _provided_ the decryption is done in software (VLC, MPlayer, etc.) and not by the drive.

    Sorry if this is an obvious question, but I’m just trying to understand conceptually exactly how much these Matshita drives suck.

    TIA,

    /HJ

  128. Pingback: Thomas Westin’s blog » Blog Archive » My Mac Design Rant

  129. Hi,
    MATSHITADVD-R UJ-857D
    My macbook is stuck in region 1, if I format my macbook will this reset the region code back to 0, enabling me to change the region 5 more times? Thanks

  130. To El Duce.

    Firmware is stored on a rewritable chip on the DVD drive itself, not the hard drive of your macbook. Formatting the macbook will have no effect on the count number of region changes.
    IIRC, there is a way of reflashing the firmware chip on most drives that resets the counter up to 3 times; in other words up to 15 region changes, and then you are stuck forever with what you have. At the moment, there does not appear to be any way of doing this with the 857D, so up to 5 changes is what you have.

  131. Thank you weckart,

    Does anyone know of an internal DVD player that can be used as a replacement for the current player used in Macbooks “MATSHITADVD-R UJ-857D”. A DVD player that can have the firmware flashed, region set to play all, have the same dimension as Matshitadvd….etc Thanks

  132. Yes it’s the Pioneer DVR-K05
    It’s been done:
    http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=40681&highlight=matshita

  133. Rod Maclean

    JR – you still out there?

    Reference your posting of 1 April …

    … 6. So the *only* solution at this time for people with 857Ds is to go and buy an external DVD drive …

    Fair enough (grrr!) but having done this, what software would I need to play the DVD’s. Surely the Apple software won’t work?

    Thanks,

    R

  134. Note the title of this string posted way back in April 2006: “… all you need is a Windows XP machine” (NOT a Vista machine).

    If you think things could not possibly get any worse, dear Reader you would be sadly mistaken. If you have the stomach for it and are a glutton for punishment, read on …

    I have a shiny new Apple with a Matshita DVD-R UJ-86J drive, purchased earlier this year in Hong Kong, having read nothing of this region-locking malarkey prior to purchase. For reasons that are superfluous to this posting, sadly my drive is currently locked into region 3. Living in HK, I wish to view legally purchased and rented local DVD’s, whilst naturally enough also wishing to view full-price legally-purchased DVD’s from home, i.e. the UK.

    In the absence of a reply from JR and feeling unashamedly bold, I pressed on and bought myself a shiny new DVD player. The following describes my journey to Mordor:

    In view of what has been written above (particularly by JR – see his posting of 1 April) – much of it, at least initially, was expected …

    1. Attempting to play Region 2 (UK) DVD’s in my Apple drive returns a region code error message.

    2. Attempting to play UK DVD’s in my apple drive using VLC returns an error message relating to “input/output error”.

    3. Initially at least, attempting to play UK DVD’s using my exterior drive appears normal until I realize that the first few moments of the video are being continuously repeated (the movie, appropriately enough, was “The Pink Panther” but I am rapidly losing my sense of humor).

    4. Attempting to play UK DVD’s using my external drive and VLC is very choppy and returns the error message “spudec: overflow in SPU next command sequence”.

    Not to worry lads and lassies – press on hey, onwards and upwards …

    In my continuing quest for cutting edge technological computer wizardry, I have installed on my Apple, Parallels software in order to run Vista (you can see it coming, can’t you?! …)

    4. I boot through Parallels into Vista and install the latest version of DVD Region-Free + CSS (for which there is no Mac version). Once again the video plays but once again is very choppy.

    I run an internet scan with the words “vista poor video playback” and am greeted with a phalanx of links, most of them directing me to the dreaded Microsoft support web page. To cut a long story short, the explanation runs something like this: “Your computer is running a version of Windows Vista that does not support the “Windows Vista Aero Theme”.

    Further investigation leads me to something called the “Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor”. Despite the fact that I have Vista installed, I run it anyway and it returns a multitude of colorful error messages, including the somewhat startling fact that: “your current video card will not support the Windows Aero user experience. Contact your computer manufacturer to see if an upgrade is available.”

    But you can’t upgrade an Apple video card can you (and why the hell should I?) so my only option would appear to be to rip DVD’s region-free onto my hard-drive, something that I very specifically do not want to do.

    Unless … does anyone have a map on how to get the hell out of Mordor … ? (I think I’ll watch a few videos while I’m waiting for a reply; after all, it’s such an effortless entertainment medium … :-| )

  135. Pingback: Free MacBook Pro

  136. Try VLC-0.9.0. It works on my MACBook Pro Intel Duo core.
    Here is the link:

    http://nightlies.videolan.org/build/macosx-intel/?C=M;O=D

    04-Jun-2007 01:15 25M

  137. Do not forget to go to Preferences -> CD & DVD – > set it to ignore when insert DVD.

  138. Hi!

    Does anybody know if smaller Macbook (not Pro) has the same issue?

    I’d like to purchase this small beauty but locking my drive to a single region is a bad idea since it will make a lot of my DVDs unwatchable while I’m abroad.

    This is a serious issue for Apple. In my case if I discover that I can’t use it for watching my legally purchased DVDs Apple is losing a sure customer :(

    I should also point that though PCs are inferior to Macs in many respect one thing about them is surely better: you can choose from a wide array of components so if don’t like one DVD drive you can simply buy another :)

  139. Lavoisier thanks for the tip but no success with this latest build of VLC; (yes, video DVD system preferences set to “ignore”).

    Thanks again,

    R

  140. i found another solution here (didn’t try it myself yet):

    http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=32&t=15

  141. Hey!

    I have a new Macbook 15′
    im new to mac k, so bear with me but i live in New Zealand, i can play the real copies (Brought copies) with the dvd player i think im in region 4, but how do you play dvds that are taped from a dvd player???
    Any answers anyone???? Are there any types of dvds that you need to play in macbooks???

    Please help me
    from new 2 apple :)

  142. @ desak

    I have just tried the solution provided at your atomic line and no it does not work.

  143. Dated 26 June 2007

    I have tried the following:
    1. VLC latest version
    2. Handbreak – latest version
    3. MacTheRipper – latest version
    An nothing works at this stage…
    Yes I have set the CD/DVD to Ignore and my drive is set to region 4

    I have a Mac Book Pro

  144. hi everyone…

    i have been reading through this thread for a few minutes now and i getting more pissed off.. i thought that some nerd somewhere would have solved this problem by now. i live in ireland and i am also new to mac and i love it.. apple sell me this 60gb ipod and i want to put my music dvds on it but i cant because of the region codes and the length of time it takes is counted in hours not minutes to transfer to i tunes.. any help would be appreciated!!!

  145. Ok, here’s the deal. There’s a patch for GWA-4080MA drives on rpc1.org. There isn’t for any revision of the UJ-857 drive. Apply at your own risk. Windows is needed, but is that really a problem with Boot Camp to get you started and the pirate bay to get the necessary evil (Windows XP)?

  146. I am the latest sufferer on the regions problem – on my G4 powerbook. Of course, I read the warning, but because I only use the DVD player when travelling, I didn’t pay much heed..until that is I was given my last chance and now the dvd is stuck in the drive. Two questions (i) how do i get it out and (ii) is there a simple solution once I get it out to resume watching dvd’s from different regions.

  147. I have a macbook late 2006 release. If i insert my region 2 disc, dvd player says it is the wrong region. If I set preferences to open vlc on disc insert it will play the region 2 disc ( i am region 4) . If i set VLC to open on disc insert I can then use mac the ripper no problems and toast to to burn it to disc.

  148. I only started using out of region dvds in my player after i installed a firmware update for the dvd drive that apple update came up with and asked me to install. So maybe this firmware i installed allows you to use VLC as the default player and the dvd drive is ok with that. I get the out of region message if I try and use apple dvd player to play the out of region dvd. No message comes up if VLC is the default player. I can watch the dvd using VLC or close VLC and then open Mac the ripper and back up the disc to my hard drive and then burn it to disc using toast. I am in New Zealand (former home of the americas cup COL)

  149. Macbook pro 1,87 UJ-857

    After having tried everything for a year only one program works so far. Handbrake. And it even doesn´t work on all dvd´s.

    I thought.

    Then I tried a new thing with VLC. To open the single video files one by one. Now the opening title doesn´t work and only gives the “standard” distorted picture. But the acutal movie files all worked. I don´t know if it works on all dvd´s but the movie is only 1/2 year old.

  150. however, there is also a chance that it actually has something to do with the dvd-firmware update, released recently?

  151. I have an early 2007 macbook core 2 duo with the GWA 4080MA DVD-station, and i have tried about everything in this thread now:
    1. Setting the dvd setting to ignore, and then trying to open in vlc
    2. Setting the dvd setting to open in vlc
    3. Starting the dvd in vlc while the regionkode window is up

    none of them worked..

    Is there anything i have missed? I’ve tried all these things before and after installing the new firmware update.
    I’m leaving for the states in a week and really need to get this figured out.

  152. just bought macbook pro ,, the latest,,, any cures yet for this region free BS

  153. its driving me crazy ,, suppose i need to buy external HD has anyone any suggetions ,, i am not an expert ,, so need simple solutions ,,, ho ho

  154. I’m the latest sucker in this MacBook Pro con….

    I’m so angry I could happily machete those f**king a**holes who decided to do things this way. Its wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I bought a MBP about 10 days ago and today went to my local library (in Australia) to borrow some dvds. So much for living in one region and playing dvds from that region. Two of the dvds were from region 4, two from region 2 and 1 from region 1!!!! F**king morons.

    Can anyone please tell me if I buy an external dvd drive, will it work??

    I don’t suppose Apple will give me a refund but I am COMPLETELY disillusioned and I don’t even want to buy an ipod anymore.
    Apple has left a bad taste in my mouth.

  155. Hi Daintree

    Don’t let this f@*king ridiculous situation put you off your MacBook Pro, it’s an otherwise great machine.

    In answer to your question, yes, an external drive set to a different region will work fine; this is what I do with my MacBook. I got a £15 external usb DVD drive, plugged it in and it worked perfectly, with both DVD Player and VLC.

    I can’t believe Apple were this stupid. A laptop that can’t play ALL DVDs that it’s fed? Totally idiotic…

  156. Sorry to hear all of this, but I too am the latest innocent victim :( I DIDN’T even know what this stupid region thing was, until it was too late…now I have a ‘supposedly’ great MacBook, with a lame drive! I thought I was pretty mobile with it having lived in many countries, now I gotta buy a trailer to carry another DVD drive just to watch a movie…how dumb!

  157. With all this blatant anti-consumer (particularly in regard to laptops, I mean sheesh) practice going on,
    Is it any wonder bittorrent and axxo in particular are so popular?

    Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum

  158. Pingback: loose ends » Blog Archive » region0

  159. Dear Community,
    I bought my mbp more than a year ago. So I’m reading this threads about a year and I’m more than pissed of this protectionism which supports the just the film industry and the commercial agreement apple made with them.
    Isn’t it a shame that I paied the price of an mbp (It’s called professional, but a normal pc can read materials i’m not able to.) and won’t be able to read legaly bought or rent dvds?
    I have a solution: My G4 is able to rip every dvd I want. I’ts really ennoying but it works. So Apple forces me to do video piracy. When ever I go to my dvd shop I first need to infringe the copy right if I want to watch the film I PAYD FOR.
    I suggest to organise something like petition. Is there any one who’s interested in?

  160. You all have to do a bit more reading – check out http://www.powerbook-fr.com/dossiers/dvd_region_free_en_article30.html for example (though it’s probably a little out of date now) and some of the excellent rpc1 forums (some of them are listed at the top of that page, but I expect most of you will be interested in the table down the bottom of the page).

    A lot of this comes down to waiting for someone to get their hands on the original firmware of your drive, and making a rpc1 firmware you flash your drive with (but educate yourselves on that, as there are all sorts of things you need to do/not do before you flash your drive). I VERY happily flashed my iBook DVD drive years ago, and am about to upgrade to a MBP – if I get an LG superdrive I’ll be real happy (as the rpc1 firmware has been made for these) and if not, I’ll curse a little and wait until someone gets around to making a rpc1 Matsushita version. Very often it’s just a matter of time, and you have to be patient while these brilliant people help you out, or get into coding and learn to do it yourself.

    It seems to me that the problem boils down to more people are working on pc drive firmware than Apple ones. Thus there are more rpc1 options for pc users, and more software workarounds.

    Everybody keep reading, but don’t expect that your drive’s firmware has been rpc1-ed right of this very moment that you’re looking, especially if the computer you’ve bought is new (which means the firmware might not be out there yet to convert).

  161. After almost a year my MATSHITADVD-R UJ-857 superdrive is now region free.
    I have tried it with several DVDs that an hour ago didn’t work because they were from the wrong region (I was set to 4) and now do.

    Seems like the firmware needed was only written in the past month!
    Here’s the link – please read it all carefully before using

    http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?printertopic=1&t=38176&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0

    Basically I had to download the apple firmware update then run it to go from revision HAE4 to HAEA, then run the firmware ben11 has written (on page 2 of the above forum thread) and in those two simple steps I was region free!

    Enjoy!!!

  162. Anyone any news on something similar for Matshita DVD-R UJ-85J (Firmware Revision FCQ5)?

    Thx.

  163. hi
    I delete macbook system on my pc & I install windows xp but i can’t install all drives seam sound & wireless network please you can help me or not

    thank you

  164. As mentioned before the best link is:
    http://www.powerbook-fr.com/dossiers/dvd_region_free_en_article30.html

    — down toward the bottom are the UJ-85X’s, just pick yours and run the installer. It does tend to look like it’s hanging at 60% and 90%, but it worked for me: Region Free! (also be sure to get RegionX, on that site)

  165. It seems that Edward79 and the latter on to something – seems all too good to be true but what we have all been waiting for (and newbies, this is a short-lived agony for you – for some of it has been years!) has finally been delivered by ‘ben11’ – bless his cotton socks

    A useful summary that covers all drives – not just the individual drives mentioned above – and is comprehensible for non techie people (unlike powerbook.fr) can be found here:

    http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=43082

    I’m a bit nervous and haven’t done it yet – but it looks like the headache is over for the matsushita brigade.
    ps anyone know which drives are in the new imac?

  166. following my last post it seems that the rapidshare links on that link demand payment, so it’s best to get the firmware updates from

    http://www.powerbook-fr.com/dossiers/dvd_region_free_en_article30.html

    however the explanation of where we are now is better on

    http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=43082

    hope that helps – maybe the rest of you are not as confused as me!

  167. I can confirm that my MacBook is now indeed REGION FREE!!!

    I can set it to any region I want using Region X, and can play Region 1 and 2 discs with DVD Player or VLC, without switching from region 1.

    I am so beyond pleased!

    Take a look at : –

    http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=43082

    Hopefully your drive will be on the list (mine is a UJ-857D-KBVB).

    Follow the instructions – no you don’t have to pay for anything, just wait the appropriate time between downloading the various files – and bingo, Region Free MacBook.

    I was somewhat nervous about doing the Firmware update, but it all went fine. ben11, whoever you are, we all owe you a big THANK YOU!!!

    Apple, if you are reading these posts, in future just release region free machines, and save us all this unnecessary hassle, and yourselves the bad press.

  168. Well, the drive in my MacBook Pro is LG HL-DT-ST DVDRW GSA-S10N (AP09), which hasn’t had a patch yet.

    All the methods I tried (VLC on Mac, MacTheRipper on Mac, AnyDVD & similar kinds on Win + Boot Camp, DVDFab on Win + Boot Camp) FAILED. Since my drive hasn’t been patched to PRC 1 so I couldn’t use Region X.

    Some methods may work on some models of dvd drives, but they don’t always work. Check your dvd drive model first.

  169. Tried to run the UJ-847E ZA0E update but won’t work in Leopard (OSX 10.5)

    Anyone know of an update for LEOPARD?

    Demosthenese

  170. I too have a MacBook Pro with the LG HL-DT-ST DVDRW GSA-S10N (AP09). I can play region 2 discs using VLC (v 0.8.6c).

    I enjoy the auto start too much to disable it.

    Load the disc, when DVD Player pops the region window, start VLC and load the disc. When it starts playing, cancel the region pop up and DVD Player.

    The odd thing is that the drive will not show up as mounted. You will have to use Disk utility to eject it (it shows as a non-mounted volume).

  171. There is an firmware update for the GSA-S10N drive which turns it into rpc1 (so i heard). the only glitch is that its intended for Dell’s PCs (that are also using that drive ). but i red somewhere that it has also been tried on a macbook pro and worked. in order to install it n a macbook you got to have windows installed and i don’t so… can’t use it.

    if somebodys trying this, please let us know!

  172. Martin47:
    may I ask if you’re using Leopard or Tiger?
    I have Leopard and went through the whole process with dowloading from firmware and region X and al – but it still didn’t work!
    Soooo annoying!

  173. The problem is not the OS or the Player, but the DRIVE. The Matshita DVD-R drive Apple uses in their notebooks are RPC-2 (this basically means they check for the region encoding, have firmware limits, etc…), there are hacked firmware updates out there for the daring that will, if possible for your model of drive, change this to RPC-1 thus removing the offending problem. – http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=43082

    This action, of course, voids the warranty on your drive and the .

    Incidentally, I abhor using the internal DVD drive on my system (except when I’m on the road, of course) due to the expense of repair and replacement. I purchased a cheap (supposedly not-mac-compatible) “Lite-On Ez-Dub” external DVD multi-drive for day-to day use when I’m at home. It works via USB-2, and like most cheap recorders out there, uses a RPC-1 drive. So I just throw a pre-recorded DVD (regardless of region) in the external player and have no problem playing it throught front row/dvd player, VLC or whatever.

    I am using a brand-new 2.6GHz MacBook Pro running 10.5.1 (my first Intel Mac and first time with Leopard as well), and although the DVD Player app screams for me to set my region when I try to play a pre-recorded DVD with it, VLC does not. (I should also mention that I do set all my “CDs & DVDs” prefs to “ignore” so I have these options).

    I always expect problems when updating to a new version of OSX… I hate cats.

  174. Hey guys….
    I have Macbook 2GHz and mine is: MASHITA DVD-R UJ-857D KBV9.. what do you suggest me to download to make my lap region free… let me know with steps, what do I have to do? alright?
    I’m an other unconfortable mac client help me =)
    Would that affect burning cds?

  175. I’m not sure this is foolproof as I have yet to test it extensively… but I wouldn’t doubt that it’s the solution everyone is looking for as sometimes the simplest solutions are hardest to see or find…

    In short, NEVER set the region… instead set vlc as your default player… wallah?

    To be honest, I had never heard anything about this region thing until I installed my first dvd on my new intel macbook pro… when the built in dvd player prompted me to set the region I did some research and found this thread… I then canceled and quit the dvd player BEFORE SETTING ANY REGION and simply went into my system preferences and established vlc as my default player… now, considering the fact that I’ve therefor never set ANY region to my DVD FIRMWARE… and considering the fact that the next time I put the DVD back in it didn’t ask me to set the region and instead just started playing the disk… could this be a simple yet effective workaround? maybe it’s too soon to tell…

    of course, I realize that this strategy wouldn’t be relevant to anyone who has already gone ahead and set there firmware to a specific region as it is not an override of an established region code…. instead its just a way of playing a dvd without ever having established a region code in the first place!

    This seems to me to be the best solution (if it really is one) as once the region is set, using a firmware hack will void the drive’s warranty….

    any thoughts?

  176. It really sucks when you live in a region where they fail to release many good DVDs so you import them from overseas only to find that you can’t watch the buggers due to these silly restrictions.

  177. It is astonishing to me that this problem is still around, this post gets hundreds of hits per day and is the only post I have left comments open on as it still gets several per week.

    Amazing that there is still no reliable fix.

  178. Already tried that “dont set the region” thing…… it doesnt work. As soon as i saw that message about switch regions I quit and looked for a way around it, which is why im here. Even if you dont set an initial region, you will still have this problem.

  179. The method described by dragonfire76 above is the only way around this issue that I know of … at least for me.

    When I purchased my new iMac I didn’t set a DVD region to begin with – after being screwed with my MacBook 2 years earlier.

    The drive is an OPTIARC DVD RW AD-5630A. When I first put a DVD in the drive Apple’s DVD player launched and asked me to set the region code so I quit it, downloaded VLC and I have set that to open each time I put a DVD in the drive … I have been able to watch any region on my iMac via this method. I get no warnings re. setting a drive region – this only happens if I accidentally launch Apple’s DVD player.

    My MacBook is a different story as I set the region 2 years ago when I got it, not realising the new RPC2 drives had the Region coding embedded in the drive’s firmware – ie. it’s not set by the operating system like a RPC1 drive.

    There is no workaround that I know of once RPC2 drives have been set to a Region Code (Unless some bright spark out there can download the firmware off the drive – hack it to make it region free, then upload it to the drive again without toasting it.)

    I’d be interested to know what make and model optical drive people are having this issue with – the drive in my MacBook was a Matshita (seems appropriate given how crap it was!) This was replaced under warranty with an LG I think – I haven’t tried VLC on it since it was swapped, but the region code has been set so I’d anticipate it would be the same old story.

    Movie studios are giving legitimate consumers the finger. The only people who are inconvenienced by region encoding are honest consumers … It makes more sense now to rip discs or buy pirated copies that have been stripped of all region encoding.

    Cheers.

    PS.
    On another note: The RPC2 drives seem pretty unreliable to me – I’ve been able to read data discs in the iMac that the MacBook won’t read and vice versa.

  180. Hi again – just checked my MacBook – the drive is a HL-DT-ST DVDRW GWA 4080M – and the region code has been set …

    DVD player asks me to change the region code as expected when I insert a disc from another region.

    Using VLC I can’t read the disc. (as anticipated)
    Using Mac the Ripper I can’t read the disc.
    Using Cinematize I can’t … you get the idea.

    Recapping …

    Once a RPC2 drive has had its region code set in firmware you are stuffed.

    Apparently our Movie Studio Overlords do not expect that we will need to change the region code more than five times … If we want to do that we must be doing something illegal! (Never mind that I and you have large DVD collections comprised of movies from all over the place.)

    The end of this madness cannot come to soon.

    Cheers.

  181. Pingback: Region Free DVD on Mac’s « My Journey to Macintosh

  182. I have made an updated post so I am going to close comments on this post now, please read the new post and continue the discussion there:

    https://macnewbie.wordpress.com/2008/02/23/region-free-dvd-on-macs/

    Thanks
    Dave