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$58 DVD player at Radio Shack with Region-Free hack...plus $10 mail-in rebate!


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#1 of 178 David Lambert

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Posted June 11 2003 - 12:42 PM

Thanks to "Icon769" at another forum, I went to Radio Shack today and checked out this puppy:

Posted Image

It's the Cyberhome CH-DVD 300/S player, regularly $69.99. It's currently on sale for $58.00, plus there is a $10 mail-in rebate if you're not too lazy to send off for it.

There is a soft hack to make it Region-Free!
Quote:
turn on unit, make sure no disc is in tray, push menu 1, 9, then a screen comes up. Third line from bottom is region #. enter # of what region you want to play, or just push 0 for all region.
Two notes about this: it seems that you have to re-enter the code for each power-up, and you must push the menu-1-9 sequence pretty quickly after power-up, while it is still checking to see if the disc is present.


This sucker is less than 9"x9" square and less than 2" high! It does Progressive Scan, and PAL-to-NTSC conversion. I'm told that "it stretches the widescreen pal, but full screen Pal is all right". For this price, I'll check it out (fully returnable in 30 days if in like-new condition and you have your receipt). I've ordered an R2 copy of The Last Unicorn from Germany (anamorphic widescreen and English 5.1 track, whereas the U.K. version is fullscreen only) to test this out.

Only downsides I've seen so far are a lack of optical audio digital connection (coaxial connection is present though), and lack of auto-switching between aspect modes. Maybe I just have to get the hang of the latter, I dunno.

Dolby and DTS are built-in, off course. Plays all the formats including VCD, MP3's, etc. Yada yada yada...check the link above for full specs.

My local Radio Shack had plenty of them...it's got a shelf talker advertising it!

11/11/04 Edit: This item is now $43.86 at Wal-Mart! But hurry...they were selling fast! I just picked up an extra one to give as a gift this season. I've now used it with 4 titles and am very happy with it. By-the-way, you do NOT have to re-input the code for every power-up; it remembers that it's region-free once you set it up that way.
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#2 of 178 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted June 11 2003 - 12:59 PM

I just wonder if this is as good as the 37.00 cyberhome 402 model i got a while back at radioshack, that 1 does pal conversion also, and the picture quality is pretty decent.
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#3 of 178 Steve_Ch

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Posted June 11 2003 - 03:14 PM

I think the CH 402 is a little bit more "mature", as it has been out for a while and has been hacked (and proven) every which way. There's been quite a length discussion on the 300 (whether the region hack works, correct,... whether it can be macrovison hacked,..) over at nerds-out.com, I don't think the verdict is quite final yet.
My favorite is still the CH500, which has both region and MV hack, coax and optical out, PAL-NTSC,.... It was $60, and I got a customer return for $38, extremely happy (I have two of these babies, plus the old workhorse Tosh).
On the cheap front, saw a KLH (I think) over at BB, $39.99, very small form factor, chances are, it's totally hackable (check vcdhelp.com).

#4 of 178 Steven Good

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Posted June 12 2003 - 04:47 PM

The one great thing I like about this Cyberhome CD-DVD 300 is that you can burn RAW MPEG1 or MPEG2 files on a CD-R or CD-RW and it will play them. You don't have to author them into VCD's or SVCD's!!!

I'm using it as a 2nd player to play tailers, and my custom home-made intro trivia files, etc. With Prog. Scan and my component switching in my receiver, its easy to switch from the preview disc to the feature presentation!

My wife will never understand this HT addiction...
Roger Ebert--"This is one more pathetic example of the dumbing of America--to show the films in the wrong aspect ratio to placate the stupid, instead of in the right aspect ratio to reward the knowledgeable."

#5 of 178 Tommy G

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Posted June 13 2003 - 05:30 AM

Dave, please give us a review after you view "The Last Unicorn". I've been tossing around getting a region free player so that I can buy "The Goodies" dvds on R2. If it puts out a good picture, it would be a no-brainer for me.
Please release The Goodies on Region 1 DVD
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#6 of 178 Peter McM

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Posted June 13 2003 - 09:25 AM

Tommy:

Posted Image "The Goodies" exist on DVD R2? Is it the complete series? How do I get these gems?

This will definitely mean a region-free player for me! Posted Image
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#7 of 178 Adrian_S

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Posted June 13 2003 - 02:30 PM

This is a no brainer by for me... This would be my first region free dvd player. Wish me luck!
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#8 of 178 Gary_E

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Posted June 14 2003 - 07:47 AM

This is one cool, little machine, no bigger than a cigar box!. I've fed it CD_R/RW and DVD-R/RWs loaded with MP3s, MPEG1s, MPEG2s and JPGs and it has played everything.

The on-screen display, listing the files on a data disc, is nothing fancy but a very clean and efficient interface.

It fooled me when I inserted a CD-R loaded with .wmv files. The player read the disc, generated the on screen display but would not play the files.

The remote is poor for my tastes since it is very small. I've tried to locate the device codes for my Radio Shack 1994 but have not as of yet found any. CyberHome's website states that it does not support universal codes. Some of the functions (setup - display - audio - etc.) could not be taught to the RS remote but all the FUNCTION controls (play - pause - menu navigation - etc.)work fine.

If you like 'TOYS' you'll like this puppy.
Thanks for the heads-up Dave.

Regards,
-Gary

#9 of 178 TonyD

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Posted June 14 2003 - 01:24 PM

has anyone been able to compare it to the old apex secret menu player?

i have that one but would consider picking this up due to it being newer and not knowing how much longer my apex will last.
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#10 of 178 rutger_s

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Posted June 14 2003 - 03:43 PM

I just got one today. A very excellent low-budget player.

It does PAL to NTSC conversion with no distortion and it does decode DTS soundtracks out of the box.

The region modification only has to be done once and you place the player in standby mode to keep it.

Tried out Battle Royale, Driven, and Angel Eyes...all three are R3 HK releases. I selected the DTS soundtracks and the player outputted the sound perfectly through the TV speakers.

I then tried several R1 discs with DTS audio and again perfect audio. Die Another Day and Minority Report sounded great.

I finally played Suriyothai and the player properly converted it for viewing on my NTSC TV. The only problem was I could not select the DTS track without the DVD pausing abruptly every so often. With the 5.1 or 2.0 surround soundtracks, the film played flawlessly.

If you want a good multi-region player without the high cost. Get this one as soon as possible.

#11 of 178 Steven Good

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Posted June 14 2003 - 06:17 PM

I have read reports at other sites that it does not output anamorphic progressive PAL correctly. It vertically stretches the image.

Can anyone confirm this? If your R2 PAL stuff is TV shows and other 4:3 content, or non-anamorphic letterboxed discs, this wouldn't be a problem, I suppose....
Roger Ebert--"This is one more pathetic example of the dumbing of America--to show the films in the wrong aspect ratio to placate the stupid, instead of in the right aspect ratio to reward the knowledgeable."

#12 of 178 Jesse Skeen

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Posted June 14 2003 - 10:58 PM

I have a cheapo Koss player (not region-hackable) that plays PAL discs, but not only does it not properly squeeze the 1 anamorphic title I have back to proper dimensions on a 4x3 TV, but it displays a strange frame-rate for anything shot on video. Is this player any better? I've heard most players that convert look like that, so maybe I'm better off getting a real PAL-NTSC converter for my Pioneer which outputs a real PAL signal.
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#13 of 178 Christopher D

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Posted June 15 2003 - 09:47 AM

I haven't been able to find any of these in stores around me, so caved in and ordered it online as a backup to my current region-free player. (It costs about $10 extra online by the time you pay shipping; also I had a $3 in-store coupon from the baseball All-Star ballot I had hoped to use.)

At $48 with the rebate, this is a no-brainer investment in case of a hardware breakdown for of all of the non R1 titles I own.

#14 of 178 Holadem

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Posted June 15 2003 - 01:37 PM

Yowza! I have been wanting a region free player for a long time. Now do I have to hurry? Is this going away soon or something?

--
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#15 of 178 James_A

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Posted June 15 2003 - 02:32 PM

Hehe... I got mine the other day from RS (it helps that I am frequently at one for employment reasons...). In anycase, it's a neat little machine, and seems to be decent for the price. It has slightly better picture quality than my Apex (the infamous first one with the region free mode AD-600?). The new cyberhome one also has a slightly better remote than the Apex (not that the cyberhome is great... but better). All in all... sounds good and looks good on a Wega 27 tv. I don't have any regionfree DVD's yet so I can't test that part. As far as my store goes, we have two or three of them left. That price should be good through the end of the month, and I have no idea if repelishment will occure.

Hope that helps..

Jim

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#16 of 178 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted June 15 2003 - 02:51 PM

Does anyone know if this dvd player has better picture quality than cyberhome 402 model ?
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#17 of 178 MarkA

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Posted June 15 2003 - 04:09 PM

I bought it today and was able to do the region free setting with no problem.
However, according to the Radio Shack site it also plays DVD+RWs and all I got was a file menu (I tried several discs) and they would not play.
Perhaps Radio Shack is wrong about it accepting DVD+R/DVD+RW discs and it only accepts DVD-R discs?
Anyone else have the "+" discs to test?
Thanks

#18 of 178 Dean Kousoulas

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Posted June 15 2003 - 06:18 PM

I think I will give this bad boy a shot. There's a number of region 2 DVD's I wanna give a spin.

Thanks for the head's up,
Dean
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#19 of 178 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted June 16 2003 - 04:18 AM

I got it, only 1 problem , no matter what i do i cant get the battery compartment to open,let alone move slightly, how did you guys do it , help !!!!!Posted Image
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#20 of 178 MarkA

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Posted June 16 2003 - 06:58 AM

Tony-
Push the little tab on the battery compartment toward the big tab (use your fingernail?) and then it will pull out from remote.