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Why buy region free DVD player if you're in region 1? (Software related) (1 Viewer)

Brett G

Stunt Coordinator
Apr 11, 1999
I figured this should be in the software forum since I am really asking what software is available outside region 1 that is not available in region 1.
I am contemplating buying a cheap region free player (like the Malata), but I haven't really found any software I want that is not available to me already in region 1. So, for all you who live in region 1 and have a region free player, can you tell me what you use it for? I know Anime and HK martial arts movies seem to be most people's reason. I'm not a big enough fan of either to justify a player just for them. Maybe a region free player won't really benefit me?
Thanks for any input,
Link Removed
My DVD's


Senior HTF Member
Feb 20, 2001
Livonia, MI USA
Real Name
Kenneth McAlinden
This would almost work better as a thread in the "Polls" or "Regional DVD" forums soliciting non-R1 recommendations. From a R1 perspective, though, it's things like the moronic censorship of Eyes Wide Shut that move me personally towards considering a non-R1 or R0 player.
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

Julie K

Dec 1, 2000
I bought a region free player because I wanted to see titles like:
Dellamorte Dellamore
Braindead (completely uncut version)
The Convent (although that will be out on R1 soon)
Back From the Dead
plus many other horror films that are either unavailable in the US or are cut (like Evil Ed).
"Some people think I'm over-prepared, paranoid...maybe even a little crazy. But they never met any pre-Cambrian life forms, did they?"

Joseph DeMartino

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1997
Real Name
Joseph DeMartino
R2 and R4 releases sometimes come with features not available on the R1 version, or are released sooner for one reason or anohter. (I think A&E has just finished releasing The Prisoner for instance, having trickled out their rather odd 2-disc, 3-episode "sets" over a ridiculous amount of time. I bought the 5-disc complete release from the U.K. well over a year ago.)
Not only are films like Eyes Wide Shut available in uncut versions in other regions, but some discs have extra content like commentary tracks or deleted scenes, and a number of movies released in letterboxed only in the States got anamorphic transfers in other regions.
By the way, where did you find a Malata "cheap"? I have a friend who is in the market for her first player, and is thinking that region-free, PAL-capable might be a good idea. But the Malata's I've seen are $500 and up - plus shipping - easily twice what perfectly good region 1-only player can be had for.

James Nguyen

Second Unit
Jul 30, 2001
Are we all talking the same form of currency here? :)
US Dollars? HK Dollars? Canadian Dollars? Korean Won?

Mark Zimmer

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1997
Well, here are some of my reasons:
1. South Park, by the season, instead of the Best Of crap that Warner sees fit to dole out in R1. The Prisoner in R2 is not only released much cheaper, but doesn't suffer from the audio distortion that the A&E version has.
2. Foreign films not available in US--La Reine Margot (not on DVD in US, and the VHS is heavily cut), Ring and Ring 2 (not available in US due to Spielberg suppressing them), the restored version of Metropolis, etc.
3. Eyes Wide Shut. Nuff said.
4. Music not available in US-Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells II & III was the trigger for me to get the Apex, but there are lots of others.
5. As I just found out this morning in another thread, nice editions of the sound Laurel & Hardy films have been released in Germany, and probably won't ever be in the US.
So for me, there are lots of reasons. The Apex works just fine for me, and you can modify the $100 version you get at WalMart with a $15 chip (see the nerd-out.com site) to make it region-free and RCE-free. Makes sense to me, if you can't afford a Malata.
"This movie has warped my fragile little mind."

Gareth Flynn

Stunt Coordinator
Oct 15, 2000
Here's a few examples from my own collection and wants list where you might see the value in a region-free player:
"The 6th Day" with Full Rate DTS and all the extras that were cancelled for the R1: Japanese R2
"Alien" Boxset with the extra Alien Legacy disc: UK R2.
"American Psycho" with Deleted Scenes: UK R2
"Being John Malkovich" with Full Rate DTS and a collector's book that has to be seen to be believed: Japanese R2
"Breaking The Waves" uncensored and anamorphic: French R2
"The Cell" 2-disc set with Full Rate DTS: Japanese R2
"Chicken Run" with Full Rate DTS: UK R2 (not sure if the R1 is full rate or not?)
"Das Boot" on a single side: UK R2
"Deep Impact" with an anamorphic transfer: Australian R4
"The Dish" with a ton of extras: Australian R4
"ER" season boxsets (anamorphic widescreen where applicable): Japanese R2
"Eyes Wide Shut" uncensored: UK R2
"Father Ted" with commentary by the writer: UK R2
"Fifteen Minutes" with DTS track: UK R2
"Frequency" with Full Rate DTS: Japanese R2
"The Game" with an anamorphic transfer: UK R2
"The Gift" with DTS track: Asian R3
"Manic Street Preachers: Leaving The 20th Century" with uncompressed PCM track: Japanese R2
"Natural Born Killers: Director's Cut" with anamorphic transfer: Australian R4
"Raging Bull" 2-disc Special Edition: UK R2
"Reservoir Dogs" with an anamorphic transfer: UK R2
"The Right Stuff" on a single side: UK R2
"Rocky" boxset with all-anamorphic transfers: UK R2
"Scream: Director's Cut": Japanese R2
"The Shawshank Redemption" with Half Rate DTS track: Japanese R2
"The Sixth Sense" with Full Rate DTS track: Japanese R2
"Sleepy Hollow" with Half Rate DTS track: French R2
"The Straight Story" with Full Rate DTS and extras: Japanese R2
"Thirteen Days" with DTS track: Asian R3
"Traffic" with DTS track: Asian R3 or
"Traffic" with Deleted Scenes: UK R2
"The Truman Show" with an anamorphic transfer: UK R2
Get the idea? :)


Second Unit
Dec 7, 1999
(I see this thread heading to the black hole that is the Regional DVD area...
[EDIT: geez, you guys are fast! Thanks for that list Gareth]
Even though you say you are not into HK martial arts films, check out Hong Kong Legends . They are the "Criterion" of Hong Kong films.
If you are into South Park, R2 has box sets of the first 4 seasons (none of the "best-of" crap that AOL-TW is now trying to pull in R1):
South Park - Series 1 (Box Set)
South Park - Series 2 (Box Set)
South Park - Series 3 (Box Set)
South Park - Series 4 (Box Set)
If you like Stargate, an anamorphic special edition of the director's cut is coming to R2 in October.
National Lampoon's Vacation is available in R2 with an anamorphic widescreen transfer (cannot comment on quality as I have not seen it yet): National Lampoon's Vacation (DVD) (Widescreen)
Having a region-free player just opens up your options and allows you to choose the best version of the material you seek on DVD.
.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o 0o.
void *: Finger to spiritual emptiness underlying everything
.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o 0o.

[Edited last by MikeSerrano on September 07, 2001 at 03:55 PM]


Senior HTF Member
May 12, 2000
Real Name
The Prisoner in R2 is not only released much cheaper, but doesn't suffer from the audio distortion that the A&E version has.
The audio distortion has been fixed, BTW.
I have multi-region for two big reasons:
1: Importing anime from Japan, in particular Studio Ghibli films, which Disney is putting in a deep, dark cellar for the time being.
2: Hong Kong Legends, which puts out the only decent releases of some Hong Kong films.
My DVD Collection

Ted Todorov

Senior HTF Member
Aug 17, 2000
And of course if you like some of those funky* foreign films that never get released over here, a region free player is a must.
*Anything that is not easily Miramaxed


Jun 13, 1999
I've always wnated a region-free player..how is that Malata?
I've been wanting a progressive scan player and my receiver is Dolby Digital only. Isit true it has a built in DTS converter?
If all that is true, I might just have to order one to take the place of my living room DVD player. Great price!
Anyone who has that player, I'd love to hear how the quality is.

James Nguyen

Second Unit
Jul 30, 2001
there are a number of threads going on all the time about the Malata in the hardware forums. Try searching the site during off peak hours, you'll find hundreds of posts discussing the player.
In a nutshell, it's not without faults, but its featureset and performance for the dollar are outstanding IMO.
The big plusses:
1) Region Free
2) Impeccable PAL and NTSC conversion both ways
3) Progressive playback
4) Excellent Interlaced playback
5) Independent scaling of the X Y axis
and a slew of other things that don't come to mind right now, those are the big selling points for my own personal priorities.
the big complaints
1) the remote is spartan
2) DTS issues...there's sporadic DTS dropouts on some titles. I'm not sure if a definitive pattern has been found on the cause. MOST of these are fixed with the magic combination of audio settings
3) figuring out wich video and audio settings to use in different contexts is sometimes tricky since the onscreen menus are worded quite awkwardly
4) Although build quality isn't too much in question, several units have arrived DOA....most concur that this is due to the way that the most prominent dealer of the Malata, AVDeals, has been shipping them
5) Some artifacting in PAL playback on NTSC units, but again, almost fully resolved if you know the "magic" video settings
All in all for the price an excellent player. You're not going to find comparable PAL playback on NTSC for this cheap anywhere.


Stunt Coordinator
Aug 28, 2000
For true anime fans, don't forget all of Studio Ghibli's titles available with English subtitles in Region 2!


Stunt Coordinator
Jun 30, 1997
I've recently purchased Jim Jarmusch's "Down By Law" and "Night On Earth" from Amazon's Japanese site. (I doubt I'll see these titles any time soon in Region 1)
(Unfortunately there are no English subtitles on "Night On Earth" which kind of spoils the movie unless you're a multi-lingual.)
(And translating the Amazon web site from Japanese to English was kind of a challenge. But in a fun way, of course.)

Jason Quillen

Supporting Actor
Nov 1, 2000
Lets not forget - You can get Buffy (and Angel soon) in all other regions, cause whatever is really holding up the sets here isnt holding them up over seas. I have R2 Buffy Season 1 and 2 on DVD, with Angel Season 1 and Buffy Season 3 both on order right now.

John DeLuca

Stunt Coordinator
Nov 22, 1998
After seeing Gareth's list, which is excellent by the way, I've come to the conclusion that DTS is much more popular in R2 :) I can't wait for the German version of the Fifth Element in DTS-ES.
I like to have the choice of which Region DVD I want to buy. I've had the R4 Terminator SE 2 disc version for a few months now and it's still not released here. I was able to buy the movie Snatch from Amazon UK while it was still in the movies here in the US. It just opens a whole new world for DVD's. Mike mentioned the Hong Kong Legends DVD's which are phenomenal and alot of the R2 Japanese Anime is much better than what we get in R1.
Word of warning though. If you enter the world of multi-region DVD, be prepared to start spending alot more money on DVD's. It becomes quite addictive.


May 13, 2001
Speaking from the mainland of Europe I have to say R1 is still king 95% of the times so I can't really see the need to make a region free dvd player a priority when you live in the USA/Canada. My collection is about 50/50 as far as R1/R2 titles but my favourite/best discs are R1 (mostly because so much is simply unavailable in R2).
Still there are always reasons even for those lucky movie lovers in R1 to go for dvd releases in other regions. Collecting dvd's can seem to make the remaining 2% (see above) feel like a gaping hole in your soul :)
While I concur with some of the titles mentioned above here are some other titles that are anamorphic in region 2 and dirt cheap (from $15 onwards) too here in The Netherlands 9and often times in the UK too):
Grosse Pointe Blank (anamorphic & DD 5.1)
Rushmore (no extras at all but anamorphic and DD 5.1)
Young Frankenstein (all the R1 extras & anamorphic)
Lost Highway (anamorphic & DD 2.0)
Natural Born Killers (Director's Cut, commentary, deleted scenes, anamorphic and DD 5.1)
Nixon (anamorphic, DD 5.1, original theatrical version)
Annie Hall (anamorphic)
not so cheap (from $20 onwards) but interesting:
The Longest Day (anamorphic + a pretty lame documentary)
Vertigo (anamorphic + all extras from the R1)
Psycho (anamorphic but none of the extras from R1)
Alien Legacy box (the same as the R1 box but with the fifth disc: the box can be found for less than $80)

Anthony Thorne

Supporting Actor
Oct 10, 2000
Some others come to mind:
Region 4 - THE ELEPHANT MAN, in 16x9 widescreen and 5.1 sound, came out a few weeks ago. THE DISH was mentioned, but we also have some Paul Cox titles coming out with commentary shortly (I think INNOCENCE, which Ebert just reviewed, is one), MAD DOG MORGAN with Phillipe Mora commentary + a doco, a great Midnight Oil music DVD with lots of extras, a terrific S.E of Phillip Noyce's NEWSFRONT, and there's apparently a Special Edition of Brian Trenchard Smith's THE MAN FROM HONG KONG coming out in the near future. At least one Melbourne video distributor I know of is working on a DVD line with lots of exclusive special content - expect lots of Aussie and New Zealand films with new commentary tracks and fresh transfers.
Italy (I forget the region here) has MALENA in a cut 10 minutes longer than the Miramax version, plus good discs of Italian movies like NON HO SONNO, ALMOST BLUE and others. There are some amazing Mylene Farmer music video compilations out in France.
Besides the Hong Kong Legends discs in the UK, Takeshi Kitano's BROTHER has just come out there with a lot of extras, including a 1hr doco on Kitano from UK TV. I also understand that it's the uncensored version, minus the EYES WIDE SHUT-style digital alterations and snips imposed on the Stateside theatrical release. SONATINE is also coming out in the UK near Christmas, and the Japanese HANA-BI DVD (with English subs) is reportedly of better quality than the Region 1 disc.
A bunch of Alex De La Iglesia movies are out now on DVD in Spain with English subs. PERDITA DURANGO has also come out in Europe in the longest available version and with a DTS track.
I didn't know of the Studio Ghibli films being out with English subs in Region 2. Can anyone post more about this - i.e are PORCO ROSSO, TOTORO and others really out there with subs? They sound like must haves...


Supporting Actor
Oct 23, 1998
FYI : the Italian DVD of Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena does not have English subtitles --- on the other hand, the same director's full-length The Legend of 1900 is out on a beautiful Italian 2-DVD set with generous extras and an English DD 5.1 soundtrack.
. . .
. . .
[Edited last by Hendrik on September 08, 2001 at 07:26 PM]

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