best site for international Twilight Time purchases?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by AnthonyClarke, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Jari K

    Jari K Producer

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    "Region free" and copy protection are two different things. Do not mix them up.Region codes basically comes from the studios/licensors (though e.g. WB is not using them in Blu-rays) who want to control the markets. There's nothing "illegal" on having region free players.
     
  2. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    It's true that region coding and DRM are notionally separate, but often a region free mod will have to modify or defeat copy protection measures in order to work. For example, the current glitch I'm having with my professional region free mod-chipped player is that some discs throw up a 'Copyright violation' message. The discs themselves are 100% legitimate (bought from Amazon), but obviously the mod chip is in some way interacting incorrectly with protection measures, when in theory they should be entirely separate.So it's understandable why some people think region free mods are illegal, and furthermore, I'm sure some mods may actually be illegal if tested in court.
     
  3. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    No tinkering for me.
    I've always imported my region A (1) players direct from the USA.

    In all these years, starting with Laserdiscs, I've never had any problems whatsoever.
    As for price, my new Sony player bought from B&W in New York will cost me pretty much the same as the JB price on the same model here.
    (landed AUD $159 versus AUD $147 same model from JB Australia- and that's before you pay for the mod)
    To each his own, I guess.

    Doug.
     
  4. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    No "tinkering" from me either, the mod chip just hasn't been installed properly. The company that sold it to me has already admitted it is a fault. It can happen on any modded unit. Very annoying as I paid top dollar, but anyway the point was simply that there must be some relationship between copy protection and region free mods, at least in some cases, otherwise I would never see that copyright violation message.

    As to the player you're getting Doug, I assume you're referring to the Sony BDP-S5100, which is a good player, but mine was way more pricey given it's Panasonic's top of the range (and unavailable in Australia) BDT500P. Panasonic is basically bailing out of its TV and player business from the looks of it, and their latest players are ad-ridden (yes, advertising in the actual player menus and at startup), feature-stripped and generally cheap quality affairs, so I wanted to get my hands on their top full-featured player before they're gone, as I prefer Pana players and know what all their settings do.

    In any case it sounds like you got a good deal, but again, once the unit is modded you're completely reliant on the company that modded it for repairs/replacement, as manufacturer's warranty is null and void. That means any problems require shipping it back to the US at your own cost. That's why I paid more for a locally modded unit, especially as I wanted to make sure it was correctly (and legally) modified for Australia's electricity supply (240V) from the original US (110V) standard.

    Of course this whole discussion simply demonstrates the pointless annoyance that region coding imposes on consumers. It's good to see that most studios don't region lock their releases, but unfortunately, aside from Twilight Time, specialist companies like Olive, Masters of Cinema, and Criterion have gone in the opposite direction and region lock their releases. I understand it may make it easier to get cheaper licensing deals for particular regions, but ultimately it just fragments the market, causes frustration and those who care enough just bypass it with a modded unit anyway. There's really no place for region coding in a global marketplace.
     
  5. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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    Criterion for whatever reason have a flat region A policy that is understandably frustrating. But several representatives from Masters of Cinema, Arrow and the BFI have all said that they will release region free if they are allowed to. When these labels licence from a major studio, it's written into the contracts that they must lock. And even when it's from a minor distributor/rights holder, sometimes other labels in different regions will insist on locking for everyone.

    I recall just such a situation when MoC and Kino released Metropolis. MoC were going ahead with a region free release (as is their policy, as the rightsholder didn't mind), when Kino complained about wanting their releases to be locked B and A respectively (no doubt fearing competition from MoC's superior edition). MoC acquiesced presumably because they knew Kino could complain to the rightsholder and force them anyway.

    In the end, MoC locked their release to region B (depriving US buyers of a better disc) and Kino "accidentally" left theirs region free!
     
  6. Jari K

    Jari K Producer

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    The more releases outside the "mainstream studios", the more "locked" titles.
     
  7. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    Not sure if I explained things properly.
    I buy my players to match the region. I personally don't believe in any kind of Mods.
    All my players stay as they are out of the box, untouched, with Warranties fully in place.
    I use 110v transformers for my US purchased Laserdisc & exclusively region A Blu-ray players.

    As around 90% of my Blu-ray discs are either region B or region free, I made sure that my locally bought region 'B' Australian player, which obviously gets most of the action, is a top quality performer. (there's no way known I'd let anybody, professional or not, play around or alter it)

    The new US bought Sony BDP-S5100 region 'A' 3D capable player ( purchased with a handy Sony $50 rebate) is used just as a secondary machine, updating my previous Sony region A non 3D player.
    I only use it to play the few region 'A' locked titles in my collection.

    Actually the main reason I bothered updating was because I will be purchasing "Dragonfly Squadron" in 3D and there is a strong chance it might be region 'A' locked. (So far all of my existing 100 plus 3D titles are region B or region free)

    I can quite understand others going for Mods, but I feel a lot happier knowing that my players haven't been altered or tinkered with.
    It's just a personal thing. :)

    Doug.
     
  8. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Deleted incorrect info
     
  9. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Ok Doug I understand what you mean now. I went down the other path as I want a single player for everything, rather than separate players for each region.
     
  10. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    Yes, I went down the other path as well, with a modded Oppo .. but I can understand Doug's desire to stay square.
    I guess people outside of Australia can't understand how it's out of bounds for retailers here to openly promote/sell region-free players but them's the breaks .. I don't know how Kogan has got away with their open marketing for so long but I notice they don't promote the region-free aspect of their otherwise mediocre players. The idiocy is astonishing .. when major retailers have to tell you to go away and look elsewhere for region-free playback, while it's open-slather on Ebay!
     
  11. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Anthony, as I noted in my post on the previous page (with a quoted source), it's actually not illegal to sell region free modded players in Australia. I assume retailers don't sell them because few manufacturers release region free players, so they need to be modded by a third party, and hence there are potential warranty issues that the retailer probably wants to avoid. Apparently there are some unmodded region free players there are/were being sold by Australian retailers, such as the Toshiba BDX3200KY according to this thread. I also assume that manufacturers avoid making their players region free to keep the content providers happy (and of course some are content providers themselves, like Sony), otherwise as I understand it there's no legal reason why a manufacturer can't just make their players region free. It must be part of an implicit or explicit agreement between the manufacturers and studios.
     
  12. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    In my search to find a decent, reasonably priced 3D region 'A' player in the USA, I noticed that several of the leading branded Blu-Ray players are now listed as playing ALL BLU-RAY REGIONS (out of the Box)

    Is that true?
    Certainly, if true (and it looked that way) then that is a huge step forward, as it will finally allow region 'A' folk to buy their discs from anywhere on the globe.

    The service from B&H in New York was exceptional and my new player arrived in just 5 days and it works a treat, although at the moment I'm struggling to get it connected to the internet. :wacko:

    Doug.
     
  13. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    Do you notice, Persian Immortal, that the press report you quoted from early 2012 about there being no legislative restriction on sale of region-free machines only specifically mentions DVD players and not Blu ray players? My understanding is that there are still shackles imposed upon open sale of region-free Blu ray players which are treated separately under the Free Trade Agreement .. and certainly manufacturers and major retailers believe this to be so. In fact, Toshiba told me that they had to stop advertising their most popular region-free model as being so because of industry pressure to desist.
    Oh what a battlefield this is for consumers like us!
     
  14. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    The portion I quoted from the article specifically mentions DVD and Blu-ray players. That is, the journalist making the inquiry to the Attorney General's office asked about the legality of region free playback for both types of players, and was told both were legal. Logically, there's also no real difference between a DVD player and a Blu-ray player in terms of general intellectual property issues.I can accept however that what you say about industry pressure would be true. As I said in my previous post, I imagine the entire reason for the lack of Region Free players at retail stems from internal industry agreements.Doug, do you have any link showing players from major manufacturers being sold region free out of the box in the US? It's my understanding that to date, the big name players are all still region locked.
     
  15. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    You'll find a couple of multi region blu-ray players from Sony also ICOM and Samsung.
    Let me know if I am misreading the specs. They seem to be OK.
    Go to
    www.bhphotovideo.com
    and click on Blu-ray players in Home Entertainment.
    The players mentioned start at the lower part of the page.

    It's worth buying from B&H if only to get their free huge phone book size 450 page printed catalogue twice a year.

    Doug.
     
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  16. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    You're right, there appear to be some players from the major manufacturers which are region free for both DVD and Blu-ray out of the box. I always knew the more obscure manufacturers had some region free units, but not the majors.

    For example, the B&H listing for Samsung's BD-F5700E notes multi-region capability, and I crossed-checked it with Amazon's listing to make sure it wasn't just an exclusive to B&H, or a third-party modified player, and it's not. Panasonic also has one player listed as region free for both DVD and Blu-ray, the DMP-BD79GAK. So does Sony, just the BDP-S1100E. Shame they're not 3D capable nor fully-featured in other respects.

    How odd. Makes things all that much more confusing, doesn't it? Why do these major manufacturers have typically only the one player in their range which is region free capable? It looks like the players are specifically designed for worldwide sale, because they're usually also PAL+NTSC capable and multi-voltage capable too.

    Talk about mixed messages!
     
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  17. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    I think that all of the multi-region players on BH are modded or grey-market units from a third party supplier. They all have "E" as a suffix and cost a lot more than the regular non-E version. Going to Sony's site does not turn up a model BDP-S1100E, just an 1100. That linked Amazon listing for the Samsung is from Global Electronics, not Amazon directly. There are a number of sellers with the E models,, all double the price.
     
  18. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    Thanks Peter, looks like you're right. I did some more Googling on those model numbers from Pana, Samsung and Sony, and only B&H, one or two Amazon marketplace listings, and lots of ebay sellers and the like list them. No official listing at any other major retailers or on the manufacturer sites themselves.Doing some more reading confirms that the legality of circumventing region coding is a gray area. Electronic Frontiers Australia notes in this January 2013 article that according to precedent, modded Blu-ray and DVD players are probably not illegal. It just looks as though nobody from either side is willing to go to court to test this out. I suspect it's the same reason why region free BD and DVD players are being openly sold in the US and other countries as well, since the TPM clause of the DMCA applies to most countries.
     
  19. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    In Europe it's always been illegal under the EU Copyright Directive to manufacture region free DVD or Blu-ray players. Although hacked or grey region free players can be found from specialist dealers and the internet, the major manufacturers, Sony, Panasonic etc do not make such players. Under pressure from American film studios, I imagine other countries must have similar legislation.
     
  20. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Wow I never knew that. I used to buy all my multi-region DVD players from Richer Sounds, who'd openly advertise them as multi-region. It's probably one of those laws that's never really enforced. I'm glad I decided not to go multi-region with Blu-ray. Most region A locked titles eventually get a B release, & with German & French releases, I'm sure we do better with catalogue releases in Europe than they do in America!
     

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