Looking for a region-free DVD player... any advice?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Owen Bartley, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Hey everybody, a cousin of mine is a serious film nut, and there are a lot of foreign discs he would really like to get his hands on. Since Christmas is coming up, I was thinking about getting him a region free DVD player, but I really don't know much about them, so I'm looking for advice on a few issues:

    1. I know a lot of common players can be "hacked" with codes. Is this effective?

    2. What would be some good players to look at, and some reputable (probably online) retaillers?

    3. Will any PAL discs even play on normal TVs, or do they still have to be NTSC?

    4. Any other issues I should consider?

    Thanks!
     
  2. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    1. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. You might be able to hack the region code, but will the player convert PAL to NTSC? Many will not.

    2. Most players sold as 'region free' are smaller Chinese brands and names you likely will not be familiar with. If buying a unit like this, make sure they actually SERVICE the warranty locally and don't just exchange the player (often for a completely different brand and model) or other such nonesense. Some brands, like "Westinghouse" are usually brought over from Asia by the container-load and once the container is sold, the model is gone. In these cases, the importer usually does not take future service capability into account at all.

    3. PAL to NTSC conversion is certainly a feature available in some models.

    I sell a few different region-free models and I'm in Mississauga. Email me if I can be of any assistance.
     
  3. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    The Cyberhome 500 can be found for about $60 and can easily be made region free in seconds via the remote control. The unit displays both PAL and NTSC perfectly on NTSC sets.
     
  4. Mike_Richardson

    Mike_Richardson Supporting Actor

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    1. Yes. It can be very easy.

    2. The Cyberhome that Steve mentioned is excellent and is carried by Radio Shack among others. The Norcent that's carried by Amazon is also a good choice. Hunt around for the best price. The Toshiba 3900 has even better picture quality (and is more expensive), but it can't play every European disc like the Cyberhome and Norcent can. Again, it depends on why you're buying it -- if it's just for region free then I'd go with the Cyberhome.

    3. The cyberhome, Toshiba, and many others will do PAL-NTSC conversion spot-on regardless of the TV you're using.

    4. Do buy from a reputable dealer (amazon, etc) where you can easily return it. Sometimes the parts inside these players (Cyberhome, Norcent, etc) aren't top caliber, but that's to be expected for the money you're paying. Just be patient and don't freak if you run into a bad model -- it'll be worth it in the long run!
     
  5. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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    How about either a Liteon LVD 2001 or a Philips DVD 727? Both can easily be turned into region free players with a simple hack with the remote, and can convert PAL to NTSC. But the Liteon has the the most unique feature of being able to scale to 1080i through component cables. Both players are also inexpensive and seem to be very popular on this forum.
     
  6. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    Many of you have failed to notice that Owen is in Canada. Cyberhome is not available at Radio Shack here and Amazon won't ship this type of item to Canada.
     
  7. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Dammit, I was getting ready to do some comparison shopping there until John came back in and burst my bubble. heh.

    Well I guess I'll have to keep looking. John, I'll give you a shout too.

    Actually, it may not be out of the question to pick up an American player, he or I might be going down in the next little while anyway. (since our dollar is catching up to yours it might not be a bad idea to buy there [​IMG] )
     
  8. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    The Philips 727 seems to one of the current popular models. Mine so far has been flawless though admittedly I don't have a large number of non-R1 discs. It's plays everything I've put into it including a bad DVD-R, a couple good DVD-R, at least one DVD+R, DTS, a couple discs with not so light surface scratches. It seems to do a very decent PAL-NTSC conversion and is a progressive model.

    It seems to have a better reliability track record than the really cheap players from Norcent, Cyberhome, lesser Apex players, etc. It should be available from $70-80USD from several online companies (J&R, ??Amazon.ca, Best Buy, Target). It compares nicely with the Toshiba 3900 and is a good bit less than some of the modded players which likely might give you a bit more performance (JVC, Pioneer, etc).
     
  9. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Thanks David, I'm checking into the Phillips as well.

    All I'm really looking for is a decent mid level player, progressive scan is a plus, extra features are nice, but anything above and beyond good quality playback of other region DVDs on a standard NTSC TV is just gravy.
     
  10. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    OK, does anyone know if the Citizen JDVD3841w is or can be made region free? It says it does NTSC/PAL, and I saw one web page that said it was, but I'm pretty skeptical. Anyways, its cheap, like 80 bucks Canadian, and its progressive scan too. Is anyone familiar with this model?
     
  11. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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  12. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Thanks for the update Dave, sorry, this week was busy and I'm way behind on my HTF reading. But please let me know if you figure out how to crack this player.
     
  13. Simon-d

    Simon-d Extra

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    Hello

    The Cyberhome 300 *is* available in Toronto, Radio Shack.
    $69.99 add a 3 year warranty to it for 19.99. An excellent deal to watch those 'other' region discs.

    hackable via the remote.
     
  14. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    The LiteOn 2002 allows either region-free OR it to be set to a specific region via a menu accessable from the remote.
    No rechipping or hacking needed.

    It's a progressive scan unit with no chroma bug.

    It automatically converts PAL to NTSC or NTSC to PAL depending on the set it's plugged in to.

    It uses a standard PC DVD-ROM drive, so if any of the 'mechanicals' fail, it's ~$30 to replace all the moving parts.

    And finally it makes MacroVision 'optional'
     
  15. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Where is a good source to find out the region "hack" procedures?
     
  16. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair Second Unit

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  17. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Thanks!
     
  18. Bill Will

    Bill Will Screenwriter

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    I just picked up a Coby Model DVD203 on a one day sale from 8:00am to 10:00am for $19.99 after a rebate & in the add it stated that it will play MP3's & is NTSC/PAL Compatible. The remote looks exactly like some of the Samsung DVD remotes. Anybody know anything about this "new" model from Coby? It's a nice looking slim design with a mirror front panel finish but I haven't had a chance to play with it yet though.
     
  19. Owen Bartley

    Owen Bartley Second Unit

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    Simon and Thomas, thanks!

    Simon, does that player convert from PAL? If so, I'll head out and pick one up right now.

    Thanks again to everyone who has replied.
     

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