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Friday, 20 February 2015

Can I hack my Sony Bluray player to be region free?



I have a few region free blu rays from UK that will play the movie, but the special features won't work because they're in PAL format. Can I make my Sony Bluray player region free?

Sony BDPS3200 Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi

Sony BDPS3200 Blu-ray Disc Player with Wi-Fi

PersonB
Unlikely. That sounds more like a hardware issue than a region thing.

Some other brands can be modified fairly easily, though I don't know about special features:
http://www.rattle

I just made sure to choose a region-free & multiformat (for DVD) and region-changeable (for Blu-ray) player to begin with. Though I don't have any foreign Blu-rays yet, it does play PAL DVDs just fine.

If you have a Blu-ray drive in a computer, use MakeMKV to rip the extras to mkv files then play them on a media player.

PersonC
TVs manufactured in the USA can't receive PAL signals. The region coding has nothing to do with it. Possibly you may be able to watch the features on a BD-ROM drive if you have one.

PersonD
First off, IIRC the whole reason for "region free" discs is so that you can play them on any disc player. Your player, and your TV or monitor will still need to support whatever the resolution and frame rate that the disc is recorded in though.

It's doubtful that you have Blu-ray discs in PAL, as PAL is an obsolete standard definition analog TV format. If you're sure it's PAL format, it's probably a DVD, not a Blu-ray. DVDs were made to be played primarily on standard definition TV sets. There are some wide screen "extended definition" DVD formats that require special TV sets or monitors. ED wasn't very popular in North America, and was seen more in Europe. So it's possible that you have a PALplus wide screen recording that isn't compatible with North American TV sets. So if it's actually a DVD (especially one for widescreen playback), you may have to work hard to get it to work with your existing TV gear.

If you have a "region free" Blu-ray (or DVD) disc that's from the UK, and it's not playing in the US, chances are that the video uses a 25 or 50 fps frame rate that's incompatible with your Blu-ray player and/or TV set. In that case your best bet will be to use a computer to transcode the video to whatever the native TV format is where you live. You can buy multistandard players and TV sets, but this is costly, and not very practical for the sake of just a few discs.

If you deal with a lot of discs from places with different video standards, and want to hack a "regular" Blu-ray player to ignore region codes, your best bet is to buy the cheapest player that you can find. The "no name" brands are most likely to have alternative firmware available for them. Look for the hacked firmware before you buy! Sony has a vested interest in selling movies, so they're the least likely to provide hacked firmware for their players.

PersonC
US television manufacturers seem to be quite arrogant in the way they only manufacture their displays to receive 24p and 60hz signals. Most other countries have sets which receive both 50hz and 60hz, which actually makes sense.

Blu Rays made for region B territories sometimes have extras in 576i definition, others have the film in 1080i/50hz. In the former instance, usually it's because they've been ported over from a PAL DVD. As for films in 1080i, that's just stupid and results in me tracking down an imported version.

PersonD
US television manufacturers seem to be quite arrogant in the way they only manufacture their displays to receive 24p and 60hz signals.

There haven't been any US television manufacturers for over 30 years! Way back then it wasn't "arrogance", it was the sheer cost of the additional circuitry, not to mention the lack of demand that made multi-standard TV sets not economically viable in North America.


Blu Rays made for region B territories sometimes have extras in 576i definition, others have the film in 1080i/50hz.


That's just a poor quality product. I would return such discs. It's not that hard to upscale to a uniform resolution and frame rate.


As for films in 1080i, that's just stupid and results in me tracking down an imported version.


It may seem "stupid" now, but it was a necessity when 1080p sets were rare and costly. And the deinterlacing algorithms in most contemporary 1080p sets can make 1080i video look great. Much easier to buy a decent TV set than get angry at the disc.

PersonE
I wouldn't risk destroying your blu-ray player to try it. It's less dangerous to the blu-ray player to simply pony up some US dollars to buy the US blu-ray version, or, cheaper still, buy the US DVD versions of those movies, which will most likely have the same special features, albeit not in high-def, assuming those special features are even in high-def on the blu-ray.

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