All-Region DVD and Blu-ray Player Advice

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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kinjitsu
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 1:39 pm
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#76 Post by kinjitsu » Fri Mar 09, 2007 10:29 pm

You are welcome. You might consider reading this review before making your decision.

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david hare
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#77 Post by david hare » Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:03 pm

Gringo I think among others has the Oppo and was very happy with it. If youre still in analogue land the S-video should be suitable for tube TV.

Otherwise - when or if you ever buy an HD monitor with HDMI - it sounds very well specced and a great partner for SD upscaling in all region PAL and NTSC to complement any future HD DVD or BD purchase (with their region locked SD playback.)

K what's the upscaling like? If you've seen the Toshiba HD players their upscaling to me beats more expensive machines like the Denon 2910. Is the Oppo anywhere in this class?

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Kirkinson
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 5:34 am
Location: Portland, OR

#78 Post by Kirkinson » Sat Mar 10, 2007 6:32 am

John Cope wrote:I was looking at a Pioneer DV490V pretty seriously until I saw this...

That analysis scared me off as my primary interest is in a solid PAL conversion. Hard to know what to make of it though if you haven't experienced any problems, Kirkinson. Please share your thoughts on this.
Hmm, very interesting. I certainly haven't noticed any of those problems. Since both of the sets I regularly use with my Pioneer are tube TVs, it's quite likely I've never noticed the "picture shift" because overscan simply eliminates it. As to the other issues, I've never noticed anything like them, but I'll take some time tomorrow to do a few tests. I'll certainly be dismayed if I find them present -- I like to think (now perhaps too immodestly) that I'm good at spotting things like combing artefacts when they crop up. Is it possible that I don't see the motion problems because I don't have a high-end setup? Even if that can be explained away, I'm still at a loss to explain why I've never noticed anything like that layer changing problem. But tomorrow I'll make sure I test out a couple DVDs that I know to have very noticeable layer changes.

I'll see what's what and get back to you ASAP. Now I'm very curious myself.

unclehulot
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#79 Post by unclehulot » Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:20 am

I've had quite a few region-free players over the years, but the Oppo (970 is what I have), coupled with a LCD (or other digital) set that accepts an unconverted PAL signal is by far the best solution for me so far. In my experience there's always been a bit of jerkiness to put up with, no matter what setup (Apex, Malata, Cyberhome, Toshiba 3900, Denon 2910) if one converts to an NTSC display. On the Oppo (perhaps other players do this?), you go to settings and tell the Oppo you are using a PAL display, and voila, motion is completely natural. You can set it to "auto" for display, but I think it looks better on native NTSC material to change it to NTSC, then PAL for PAL, etc, a minor pain, but I'm ok with that.

I'd be curious to see the 981 in action, but the upconverting seems pretty damned good on this, definitely better than I was getting with it set NOT to upconvert. The audio quality on this player is also a bonus, way above what one would expect for $150.

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Kirkinson
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#80 Post by Kirkinson » Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:57 am

Reporting back on the Pioneer:

I could find no indication of ANY problem with layer changes, so I don't know what to say about the audio dropout reported at DVD Times. I don't doubt that they checked everything thoroughly -- all I can say is that it doesn't happen on my player. As for the picture shift, it may be there, but I have no way of eliminating overscan to check for it.

However, the other major problem turned out to be true. When I put my face so close to the screen that I could make out individual pixels, then I did indeed notice combing artefacts on PAL discs. But when I returned to sitting at a normal distance from the screen, I could not detect this problem even after I knew it was happening. Therefore it seems plausible to presume that with a better TV set the combing artefacts could indeed be more readily noticeable, and I'm sure that if I could see them while watching a DVD normally it would be quite distracting.

So the bottom line is that if you're still in an "analogue ghetto" the Pioneer might be okay, but not if there's something better in your price range (and it sounds like there is). For my part, I'm still perfectly content with this model, as it'll be a long time before I can afford to upgrade my equipment. I'll stop recommending it to other people, though. Thank you for leading me to this information, John.

patrick
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:15 pm
Location: Philadelphia

#81 Post by patrick » Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:49 pm

I have a new 642 on the way, it's supposed to be the old mode so hopefully it works out for me. Lately I've been running two players and switching between them depending on what it was I was playing (one for regular stuff, one for non-R1 stuff) because my Philips 1040 is very finicky and is constantly giving me problems and my old RCA can't play DVD-Rs or DVDs from outside the US. I've gotten over 5 years out of the RCA, so I can't complain, but last weekend it started not releasing the discs and scratching them all to hell, so it had to be retired (after I went out to Wal-Mart at midnight to get a Torx bit for my drill so I could get the cover off of the player).

I hope the 642 works well for me, I've heard nothing but good things about it (other than the regular complaint that Philips have limited lifespans).

paa400
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:22 pm

#82 Post by paa400 » Tue May 08, 2007 1:49 am

I've had the Malata 393a for almost 2 years-and today the audio was working but not the picture and tried the usual things like holding the stop button down for 5-8 seconds which worked in the past but not today. Its funny to think my 16 year old pioneer laserdisc player still works great-and Ive had a region 1 panasonic crap out on me. I guess I could make my computer into a region free player. As far as a region free player goes, too many choices and Im not an electronics person. It would be nice to find a player that lasts at least 5 years.

Ted Todorov
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:00 pm

#83 Post by Ted Todorov » Thu May 10, 2007 8:33 am

I am test driving a new Samsung 1080P (40" LCD) LN-T4065, and I'm encountering massive HDMI problems with my Macs connected via DVI to HDMI, which will cause me to send this back if Samsung doesn't have a firmware fix Real Soon Now.

But what I really want to ask about here is playing PAL DVDs on a US 1080P (60Hz) set. It works with my Mac Mini using the Apple DVD Player or VLC, but I was hoping to use my upscaling (region free) DVD player (Denon DVD-2910), which I have connected via a HDMI to HDMI cable. It impressively upscales NTSC DVDs to either 1080i or 720P (1080i looks better), but trying to play a PAL DVD at any resolution produces a "Format Not Supported" message, which is presumably coming from the Samsung. (The Denon definitely plays PAL DVDs -- I have been using it to watch them on my multi-standard Sony tube for years). My best guess is that the Denon is upscaling PAL to 1080i at 50Hz and that chokes the Samsung. Are there players that upscale PAL to 1080i/p at 60Hz? Are there 1080P TVs that handle 25fps/50Hz material? Will the new 120Hz sets be better at this? What about European 1080P sets -- presumably they support 50/60Hz -- are they available in the US?

Any and all advice greatly appreciated! Apologies to DVDBeaver readers who are seeing this post twice.

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s.j. bagley
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#84 Post by s.j. bagley » Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am

Does anyone know of a good HD-DVD player that also functions as an all-region DVD player with decent upscaling?

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subliminac
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 1:21 am
Location: Columbus, OH

#85 Post by subliminac » Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:41 pm

There's no such beast as of now. You may want to look into the Oppo line of upscaling players. I've had one for two years now and am very happy with it.

academyleader
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 6:49 pm

#86 Post by academyleader » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:18 pm

My OPPO 981 upscales perfectly DVDs from any region to 1080p for playing via HDMI through my 1080p Samsung 4665.

unclehulot
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#87 Post by unclehulot » Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:56 am

academyleader wrote:My OPPO 981 upscales perfectly DVDs from any region to 1080p for playing via HDMI through my 1080p Samsung 4665.
Recommendation seconded! Oppo seems to have created players that effortlessly do many different things under one roof, that used to take me about 3 players to get right: plays any region, converts PAL to NTSC (and NTSC to PAL), and, even better, outputs native PAL or NTSC signals (displaying native PAL on my LCD is the best option for playing PAL discs in the US) , plays all burned media without hiccups, plays DIVX encoded AVI files. And the audio quality is WAY better than other all-region capable players I've owned (SACD and DVD audio playback is a bonus, as well). One little thing I like is the well set-up incremental zoom (not continuous like the old Malatas, but well chosen settings) that allows non-anamorphic letterboxed titles to be zoomed to fill a 16:9 screen in about 2 seconds flat (and with very good quality via upscaling). About the only failing marks I give is for a slow-to-respond remote that must be squarely aimed at the player.

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s.j. bagley
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#88 Post by s.j. bagley » Sat Aug 25, 2007 10:19 am

Sounds like that's the one for me, then (especially with the SACD capability)

unclehulot
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#89 Post by unclehulot » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:07 pm

Looks like Oppo just released a new player which seems to replace/update the 970 (it upconverts to full 1080p), and would seem to be the choice for those without HDMI inputs (the 981 has a more advanced processing chip, but doesn't have component outputs).

The nice thing about this new player, is that it will output the SACD DSD (rather than PCM) stream over HDMI outputs. Generally, one has only gotten this through analog audio outs, due to Sony's restrictions.

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chaddoli
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#90 Post by chaddoli » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:32 pm

Why is this almost $100 cheaper?

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tavernier
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 7:18 pm

#91 Post by tavernier » Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:58 pm

Don't complain: just buy it.

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arsonfilms
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#92 Post by arsonfilms » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:29 pm

Well, my current DVD player is on its last legs, and I'm starting to look into possible replacements. Oppo seems to be the way to go, but it seems I have a bit of a unique dilemma: My TV is still a standard def tube.

I'd like to get a player with upscaling capability so that when I do finally upgrade the TV I'll have the ideal system, but I'm concerned that this may present compatibility issues on my current set. Is it worth it to upgrade the player now before the TV, or should I just hold out until I can do both?

Cinesimilitude
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am

#93 Post by Cinesimilitude » Sat Aug 25, 2007 9:54 pm

I have a 43" rear projection Samsung TV, and I'm considering getting an Oppo upconvert player as well. does the 981 upconvert well to 1080i through component? I only ask because my tv only supports 480i, 480p, and 1080i, no 720p.

EDIT: I just looked at their comparison chart, looks like its the DV-980H for me. I think this might be just what I need to keep me from buying into more HD and just waiting for the format war to end.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

Region Coding Enhancement (RCE)

#94 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:28 pm

Region Coding Enhancement (RCE)

So my girlfriend works at a co with a peripheral involvement with a film that they are going to be giving out on dvd to corporate clients as an Xmas gift. The film is God Grew Tired Of Us. It's from SOny, it's the R1 release of the pic listed on the Amazon link embedded in the title here.

It's got that disclaimer thingy:
Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
PLEASE NOTE: Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click here.
They are looking to send it out to clients-friends in UK, France, Germany, Austria, Japan. My suspicion gleaned from international dvd chit chat is that generally other regions are not landlocked like the US-ntsc users are. But I'm not precisely clear what that disclaimer on the amazon page which I repro'd here means. Has anyone had any experience with this disc specifically, or does anyone know enough to say whether or not R2 and R4 (that's Japan, right?) will have problems spinning this disc? Should they comfortably go ahead assuming that this disc should play fine for international clients? Or should they at least buy pal for pal users, and the R1 for americans?

Fast answer needed-- thanks.

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MichaelB
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#95 Post by MichaelB » Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:47 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:Has anyone had any experience with this disc specifically, or does anyone know enough to say whether or not R2 and R4 (that's Japan, right?) will have problems spinning this disc? Should they comfortably go ahead assuming that this disc should play fine for international clients? Or should they at least buy pal for pal users, and the R1 for americans?

Fast answer needed-- thanks.
Amazon always write something like that to cover themselves - but in practice, the overwhelming majority of Europeans can handle NTSC with no problems, as demonstrated by the fact that several distributors, including MoC, the BFI and umpteen classical music labels have deliberately released NTSC discs into notionally PAL markets. And of course if they play it on a PC or laptop it'll be absolutely fine, as they make no distinction between NTSC and PAL.

In eight years, I've come across just one person who genuinely couldn't play NTSC, and that turned out to be because he had an ancient television: once he'd upgraded, the same DVD player was absolutely fine with it.

That said, it's harder to guarantee that a European user will be region-free - a great many are (certainly proportionally more than Americans), but plenty aren't. And of course this applies as much to PC/laptop users as well.

So I wouldn't worry about PAL-NTSC issues, but region coding might be a problem.

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HerrSchreck
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#96 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:19 pm

The region thing is definitely a concern.. wondering if it's negligible enough whereby problems would be limited enough in non-r1 recipients to where sending out all R1's is the way to go, or should they try to acquire R2's for non R1 recipients? (I'm not even sure if non r1 even exists for this title).

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Scharphedin2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
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#97 Post by Scharphedin2 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:03 pm

Schreck, unless these are reasonably sophisticated DVD users, I think you can safely assume that they will not have region-free equipment (although most labtops allow a certain amount of region switches).

In my experience, in a work place with some 50-60 people, I know (almost) for a fact that only one colleague is able to play non-R2 discs, and that only because he owns some kind of videogame that is capable of R1 playback. On three different occasions I have offered people to borrow a R1 disc from me (not thinking about it), and in each case these people came back and explained that it would not play on their players.

Going region-free is still (as far as I am aware) a very pro-active decision that a consumer needs to make, and I am personally only aware of one store in Copenhagen that offers "region-free" players for sale. There are probably others, but one needs to track them down, and certainly standard hi-fi chains do not offer region-free players for sale.

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MichaelB
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#98 Post by MichaelB » Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:07 pm

Scharphedin2 wrote:Going region-free is still (as far as I am aware) a very pro-active decision that a consumer needs to make, and I am personally only aware of one store in Copenhagen that offers "region-free" players for sale. There are probably others, but one needs to track them down, and certainly standard hi-fi chains do not offer region-free players for sale.
That's less true in Britain, where so many players are region-free that many people end up being able to play anything by default. My parents almost certainly don't even know that there are differing DVD regions and video standards, and they turned out to be fully multiregion when I checked out their setup.

But I agree with you that you shouldn't take it for granted.

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HerrSchreck
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#99 Post by HerrSchreck » Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:52 pm

Yes I'm actually surprised to find that it is still an issue of substance beyond the states. I'm technically a "region 4" viewer since my player is an australian pioneer straight out of the box with no modifications/hacks. It says right on it "pal/ntsc progressive" but nothing about "allregion" per se. And I've never had a problem with any R1 discs, not to mention anything from 2-4 pal.

Originally I did think that pal regions were just as landlocked as R1, but forums like this taught me that this wasn't the case. Finding out the opposite is still true in Scandinavia (per Scharf), and that the freedoms afforded by my r4 player are not complete across pal-zones, causes me to modify (again) my understanding.

So now we're thoroughly not sure..

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colinr0380
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#100 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:17 pm

HerrSchreck wrote:It's got that disclaimer thingy:
Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
PLEASE NOTE: Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click here.
They are looking to send it out to clients-friends in UK, France, Germany, Austria, Japan. My suspicion gleaned from international dvd chit chat is that generally other regions are not landlocked like the US-ntsc users are. But I'm not precisely clear what that disclaimer on the amazon page which I repro'd here means.
RCE does not have anything to do with NTSC/PAL, it is another layer of region coding that some studios, such as Sony, subscribed to to make it more difficult for non-region 1 DVD players to play region 1 discs.

This is a bit vague and not a very technical description but RCE affects players that are set to region 0 or all region. From what I can remember a RCE disc asks the player whether it can play discs from that region , the same as with any region coded DVD. Normally when the player says it can play a disc from that region that is that - if it can the disc plays. However an RCE disc adds an extra question - can this player play discs from other regions as well as region 1 discs? If the player says it can (because it has been made region free) then the disc does not play.

However I don't think RCE was very successful as it didn't take into account that there are also DVD players that can switch regions depending on what disc they are playing - so they switch to region 1, region 2, region 3, region 4 etc to play the disc rather than just being set to region 0.

For example in my case my earliest DVD player I got in 2000 was a relatively cheap store bought one which I found a handset hack for that allowed me to make it region free, which allowed me to play DVDs from UK shops and imported discs such as Criterions. When this added RCE came in it prevented that DVD player from playing RCE encoded discs (I remember it would not play the Region 1 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within disc. The Amazon page for that disc also has the same disclaimer).

When I came to upgrade a few years later I decided to go for a player from a company that specialised in supplying 'chipped' multi-region players, which did not have any trouble playing RCE'd region 1 discs because of the way it was able to change from region to region according to whatever disc was playing at the time, so for all the disc knew it was playing on a dedicated region 1 player, not a 'region free' machine.

I have not been keeping up with RCE discs so I do not know whether they still get produced, or whether things have moved on enough for it not to be an issue any more. I remember it being a big issue around 2001-2 time and the Amazon disclaimer sounds similar to disclaimers that I read from companies that I imported from at that time. (It seemed that a lot of places hadn't done their research and were as confused as the general public about which companies had started adding RCE to their discs and which had not - I remember getting RCE disclaimers with the invoice from the company I ordered Criterion's BRD trilogy from despite Criterion never getting involved with RCE!)

So unfortunately there is no easy answer - it all depends on the vagaries of the individual DVD player itself and how they go about playing discs from different regions as to whether they have trouble or not.

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