Many users view their computers as much as an entertainment device as it a communication and productivity tool.
With every regular laptop and desktop computer now shipping with a built-in DVD drive it makes it easy to pop in a disc and enjoy a movie when the opportunity arises.
But the problem we find is that the DVD drives on PCs and Macs bought in Australia are locked to Region 4 which also covers Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and New Zealand.
The US and Canada are Region 1. Europe and Japan are Region 2 while Region 3 is South East Asia. Region 5 is Eastern Europe, India, Africa with Region 6 reserved for China.
So what happens if we have a movie from outside our region? The PC will either reject it or give users the option of changing the region code a limited number of times after which the region stays locked to the last one played.
There are several reasons why viewers opt for DVDs from different regions. These include buying titles before it s released in Australia, buying hard-to-find titles, finding different versions of certain films or simply because they are cheaper.
The reasons region codes were included on DVDs was to keep releases confined to the countries they were bought from and to protect theatrical release variations around the world.
Today major films are released worldwide with a day or two of each other to prevent piracy so the region codes are often redundant.
Starting with the PC the user needs to download a free utility called Remote Selector. This add-on connects to the computer’s DVD drive and allows region free playback.
Users can navigate the discs menu and contents as they would a regular DVD without having to alter the region code or upgrading the firmware of the DVD drive.
Mac users can achieve the same result by downloading the VLC media player – an open source multimedia platform.
Users should alter the preferences of the Mac’s DVD player by going into the system preferences and choosing “ignore” as the action for when a video DVD is inserted.
Without making this change and the computer will automatically start playing the disc in the chosen region code and ask to change it if the disc doesn’t match.