So by far the most popular post on this blog over the last 2 years was my post on region free DVD on my MacBook Pro. In total it has been viewed 109,000 times and has 182 comments which is impressive considering that the blog as a whole has only had 314,000 hits!
What is ridiculous about the situation is that we are in the same position today as we were two years ago so I thought I would post a summary on where things are right now from the comments on that post and my experiences with my Mac’s.
MacBook Pro (Manufactured Feb 2006)
This is my original machine that the post was made about and so naturally it has the same old problems as before and nothing really works for off-region discs. The region is set to R2 and that is all it will play, R1 discs will not play in DVD player or VLC and Handbrake can not rip them.
Mac Mini (Manufactured Jan 2008)
This is pretty much a brand new machine and it has exactly the same problem as the MacBook Pro from 2 years ago. I set the firmware region to R2 when I bought it and that is all it will deal with. No exceptions.
Aluminium iMac (Manufactured Mid 2007)
This is where the story gets a little more positive! I have the firmware region set to R2 and so obviously it plays R2 discs through DVD player without any issues. R1 discs fail in DVD player but play just fine in VLC. I am also able to rip any region of DVD using the latest handbrake. I am going to put this down to the iMac using an “OPTIARC DVD RW AD-5630A” drive over the “MATSHITACD-RW CW-8124” in the Mac Mini and MacBook Pro.
There is talk in the comments of the previous post of a solution to this being to never set the region code of the drive, apparently this allows VLC to play off-region discs. Unfortunately as all of my drives have a region set in firmware I am unable to test this. However it is unclear from the comments if this actually applies to the Mac Mini and MacBook machines as the only confirmation of it working comes from an iMac which as we can see from my tests above is not plagued by these problems due to the Optiarc drive.
If anyone can confirm that this method works on the Matshita drives in the MacBook or Mac Mini, please let us know in the comments.