From Consumer Electronics Daily: "The hack, from Dutch-based Stegen Electronics, so far is limited to Pioneer and Sony players, we found. But Stegen also has work in progress on Samsung's popular and low-priced BD-P1400 and Panasonic's new DMP-BD30, it said. The online retailer claims street cred dating to the first hacks of DVD regional coding. "Hundreds of hours of development have gone into the modifications for the Sony line of Blu-ray players," Stegen's website boasts. "We have modified thousands of DVD players since 1997, so you can be assured it is 100% working." The modifications or "mods" to make DVD players read discs from all regions came in response to frustration among European and Asian consumers about titles not available in their regions for months after their release in N. American Region 1. The first player-mods were hard-wired changes to player circuit boards -- as our predecessor publication Television Digest was the first to try. Software-based mods came soon after, usually implemented by entering codes through players' remote controls. For years, so-called "multi-region" players have been commonplace and widely available in regions outside N. America -- and openly sold with impunity despite their tenuous legal status. Stegen's Blu-ray mod -- the first to emerge -- also is hard-wired. The company offers 89-euro kits with boards that require "advanced soldering skills." For 150 euros, it will take players from existing Blu-ray customers and modify them. And Stegen sells new modified players. Models available for modification or first-time sale include Pioneer's BDP-LX70A and U.S.-equivalent Pioneer Elite BDP-95FD. Those high-end players sell for 1,599 euros at Stegen. More affordable are Sony's entry-level BDP-S300 at 599 euros, and Sony's step-up BDP-S500 for 899 euros. The BDA had no comment, but it's fairly obvious the mods would violate hardware warranties. More important, the mods raise an issue about whether the players maintain their ability to receive firmware updates, which happen often with Blu-ray players. Stegen claims its hardwired mods don't jeopardize future-proofing in Blu-ray players. "Even with the modification installed, the players remain fully upgradable with the latest firmware updates," the company said."