Turn your DVD Player into a Multi-Region DVD Player

Note that all the information displayed here is readily available from different sources elsewhere on the Internet. Anything you do with it is at your own risk. No one else is responsible for the results of your own actions.

When you want to play foreign DVDs on your own DVD player, you generally need to overcome 2 technical obstacles:

  • 1) DVD Region
    These are basically barriers put in place by film distributors that allow them to control the release, release dates and contents of DVDs in various parts of the world. For instance region 1 is roughly the USA and Canada, while region 2 is most of Europe. Regions have nothing to do with the actual format and encoding of the DVD contents.
  • 2) Video Formatting
    The movies that are stored on a DVD are encoded in a certain format. Most countries in the world use the PAL video system, whereas most of North and South America use NTSC. In its simplest form, NTSC DVD uses 29.97 frames per second and has a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels, while PAL DVD uses 25 frames per second and has a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels. These video standards have nothing to do with region codes.

As a general rule, when you buy a DVD player at your local electronics store, you can assume that it has been constructed to play DVDs with the video standard that is used in your country (for instance NTSC) and that it would accept only those DVDs that are either marked with the region code for your country (for instance 1), or those DVDs that are marked with region code 0 (“worldwide”) or ALL.

As it turns out, it seems that most DVD players sold in Europe are capable of playing both PAL and NTSC formats (multi-system), but only region 2 DVDs. So in those cases, all you need to do is to make your DVD player multi-region or region-free so that it can also play, say DVDs sold in the US (NTSC, region 1). However, in North America it seems somewhat the opposite where all players support NTSC, but only a few brands also support PAL. So in those cases, even if you were to make your DVD player multi-region or region-free, it still wouldn’t be able to play a DVD sold in Europe (region 2) because it’s in PAL format.

In order to keep production costs low, quite a few cheap(er) DVD players on the North American market, which are generally lesser known brands that are mass produced in China, have been built so that they are capable of playing both NTSC and PAL formats. Those players are then “programmed” or locked-in to a certain region where they will be sold. This is cheaper than producing a series of players for just the NTSC markets and another series for just the PAL markets. Compare this to some bigger brand names that can afford to produce DVD players for just the video standard in its intended market, for instance many of Sony‘s NTSC players don’t support PAL without requiring any hardware modifications.

LG and Phillips are some of the bigger brands that seem to produce a lot of models of DVD players that can play both NTSC and PAL formats (multi-system). Also Oppo Digital is known for its DVD and Blu-Ray players that can play different video standards. Sony’s players are probably the hardest to convert into multi-system multi-region players.

There are a few different ways how you can play DVDs from foreign countries on your DVD player.

  • 1) Buy a multi-region multi-system DVD player
    There are companies that sell DVD and Blu-Ray players, including big brand names, that have been modified to play DVDs and/or Blu-Ray disks from all around the world. Some of those companies are:
    http://www.110220volts.com/
    http://www.220-electronics.com/
  • 2) Use your computer to rip, convert and burn the DVD
    There are a number of programs out there that allow you to copy a DVD to your computer and then convert it to a format that your DVD player can understand. Many of those programs you have to pay for, such as AnyDVD, but there are also some free ones that work well.

    You can use a free program such as DVD Region+CSS Free, or DVD Decrypter to copy a DVD to your computer. You can google for the latter, or see if you can find it at http://www.dvddecrypter.org.uk/. These programs are capable of removing the region-code that is stored on the DVD, making your copy region-free.

    If your DVD player is multi-system (plays NTSC and PAL) then all you need to do it burn your copy back to a new DVD. If needed, you may have to shrink your copy first with DVD Shrink in order to make it fit on the blank DVD disk.

    After you have copied the original DVD to your computer, and you still require conversion to another video format, say from PAL to NTSC, you can try the AVStoDVD DVD authoring software. With this program you can import the VOB files from your ripped DVD into your AVStoDVD project. In the program’s preferences you can choose the target video standard, for instance NTSC. AVStoDVD will automatically take care of any video conversion when you create the new DVD ISO file or DVD file structure.

    Instead of importing the individual VOB files from your ripped DVD into your AVStoDVD project, you can concatenate those VOB files together into one large VOB file and then import that one instead. To do this you can use the COPY command in the command prompt. Say you have the following VOB files: VTS_01_1.VOB, VTS_01_2.VOB, VTS_01_3.VOB, VTS_01_4.VOB. To put them together into one file, use the copy command like this:

    COPY /B VTS_01_1.VOB + VTS_01_2.VOB + VTS_01_3.VOB MYMOVIE.VOB

    The biggest drawback of this conversion method is that you’ll lose the menus that are on the DVD and you’ll have to create new ones with the authoring software. However, if you only care about the actual movie, and you don’t watch a lot of foreign DVDs, then this method may be your best option.

  • 3) Make your multi-system DVD player region-free
    • 1) Depending on your brand and model of DVD player, and assuming it’s already a multi-system player (plays both NTSC and PAL), you may be able to turn it into a region-free player. The easiest case is where you can simply enter a sequence of certain keys on the remote control that comes with your DVD player. Usually the key sequence brings you to a secret menu where you can change the region the player should allow. Mostly there will be an option to allow all regions. There are quite a number of cheap(er) brands where this method of region unlocking works.

      Some online sources for region-free or multi-region hacks are:
      http://www.videohelp.com/
      http://www.dvddemystifiziert.de/
      http://www.multi-region.net/
      http://www.dvd365.net/
      http://www.ecoustics.com/
      http://www.avforums.com/

    • 2) Another method involves using either a special programmable universal remote control, such as a One-for-All or a Phillips Pronto, a PDA, or a laptop with an IR (InfraRed) port, which allows you to send a specific series of infrared signals to the DVD player. Those signals are not available from the regular buttons on your DVD remote, but similar to the above situation, allows you to reprogram your DVD player to accept different or all region codes. Many Sony players can be made region-free using this method.

      The reason the above mentioned universal remotes are “special” is because you can assign specific infrared signals to each key individually, unlike regular universal remotes where all keys will get preassigned signals depending on the brand and model of DVD player you program into the remote, usually with a 3 or 4 digit code. You can also use a PDA or a laptop with IR port and some special software to transmit the required signals to the DVD player.

      Alternatively, you can “rent” special remotes for the specific purpose of making your DVD player region-free, for instance from http://www.multiregionupgrades.com/, but you have to read the information carefully, as this method may work, for instance, for a specific model of DVD player in Europe, but not for the same model in the US.

    • 3) The electronics of your DVD player can be physically modified in order to turn it into a multi-system (if not already) and multi-region device. Usually this requires soldering of a special chip onto the circuit board. There are places where you can have it done, or you can purchase a do-it-yourself mod kit online. Be aware you can easily ruin your DVD player if you have no experience with soldering.
    • 4) In a few rare cases, installing an older firmware version, or a firmware of a different country allows you to change which regions your DVD player can play.

Disclaimer: responsibility for the use of any and all information contained in this article is strictly and solely that of the user. If you break anything, such as your DVD Player, because of the actions taken based on the information from this article, you are responsible for it.

33 thoughts on “Turn your DVD Player into a Multi-Region DVD Player

  1. Your references are all to changing the DVD player. My DVD manual says it will play PAL dvds if the tv is compatible with it. Since my tv is NTSC they won’t play.
    Are your suggestions above all designed to allow the DVD player to convert PAL (etc) to NTSC tvs?
    thanks.

    • Although many DVD players can play both PAL and NTSC format discs, you may still have to hack your player to remove the region protection. You’re right that your TV will need to be able to support the different video formats as well. I assume that these days most, if not all, modern TVs should be able to play all DVD video formats. However, if your TV doesn’t support it, then using a computer to copy and convert your PAL discs to NTSC may be your only option. As an alternative, you can buy video converters (example here: http://www.220-electronics.com/pal-ntsc-tv-video-converter.html), which sit between the DVD player and the TV and convert the video signals.

  2. I have a DVD player : Höher H018 and it seems that step after step doesn’t work from the web site VideoHelp. What should I do ?

    Power on.
    Open tray.
    Push the info on remote once (with supplied remote). You will see numbers.
    Press 9 for multi-region. Keep trying until you see the number 9 appear in upper left corner.
    Power off.
    Power on.

    • i tried this with my Samsung blue ray player and it did not bring up any numbers when I pressed the info button. Does this mean this unit will not work that way? I am in the use.

      • Every brand and every model has different key-combinations in order to make it region-free. You will have to search for your specific brand and model. Also, not every model can be made region-free (or no known codes can be found). Also note that even if you can make your Blu Ray player play DVDs from other regions, it doesn’t mean that it can also play BD disks from other zones. BDs have zones that are different from DVD regions.

  3. Hi,

    I want to unlock my dvd player to play multi-region. I’ve have searched endlessly for the model I have and have not found 1 match.

    The make and model is: Samsung, blu-ray, BD-C800A. I only purchased this player 3.5 years ago. I don’t believe it’s that old so I’m surprised I can’t find unlocking options for this model.

    I really hope you can help because I have no other options.

    Thank you
    MK

    • Hi,

      Did you try to look up similar models to see if there’s anything that may work? For instance I see similar steps for the BD-C6900 and the BD-C5500. Maybe other BD-C* models may have similar steps.

      Good luck.

  4. hi mr.koen,
    i just read your article and its very helpful to conversion of bd/dvd players region code, video standard.
    i have SONY BDP-S590 3D BD Player with wi-fi in Minnesota, USA. now i am living in india. can i request you how i will change the region as region free and how i able to play .VOB file on it?
    can i await for your reply please.

  5. Turn on, when “no disc appears”, open tray, with remote press “Stop”, then press “Enter” for 5 seconds, a hidden menu “Region Code” appears, select 0 with arrows, then click “Pause” and you have done the DVD multi-region.

  6. LG DP132 How to Multi-Region DVD
    Turn on, when “no disc appears”, open tray, with remote press “Stop”, then press “Enter” for 5 seconds, a hidden menu “Region Code” appears, select 0 with arrows, then click “Pause” and you have done the DVD multi-region.

  7. I have done exactly as the last person commented. This does not work on the LG DP132. When I do this, nothing happens. Tray stays open and same LG screen is up.

    • Hi Nick. I’m not sure you still need this information, but in case you still need it, I write how I did it. Didn’t you press “Stop” too long? Or, pressed “Stop” and “Enter” at the same time? After you see “no disc appears”, you press the eject button and open the tray. After the tray is fully open, press “Stop” once, then press “Enter” until the Region Code Management screen comes up. I hope this helps. Good luck.

  8. I ordered a movie from a different region by mistake. My DVD player I have is a “Craig” How do I unlock the player to be region free?

  9. Hi, I have a Philips DVP 3355v/F7. I bought movies that are region 2. My DVD player is 1. I looked on the web, I looked at videohelp.com and everyone I could find. No luck)-: I was going to hook computer to the tv. I don’t have enter net to the computer. The universal remote sounds like it is worth a try. Do you know of a code to change my DVD player? Thanks for the information. ✌️

  10. I would like to buy a education dvd which is region 1 from Amazon. I would like to use it through the internal cd/dvd player in my personal computer in Singapore (region 3). Can it be used? If not, how to overcome it?

    • Theoretically yes it should be possible. I have been able to view region 2 DVDs on my “region 1” computer DVD player. However, I wouldn’t recommend using players such as Windows Media Player. Take a look at VLC Media Player: http://www.videolan.org/. Most computer DVD players allow you to switch its default region code up to a certain number of times, usually 5. I would not recommend doing this unless you add a second DVD player and use one for region 1 and the other for region 3.

    • Your mileage to success on this particular model may vary. Many people seem to have trouble making that model region free, unless already purchased region-free (modified). I see lots of suggestions on using a 3rd party remote control to reprogram the player but haven’t noticed anyone confirming it actually works.

      One person mentioned he received a firmware hack in order to make his player region free: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/375398-Sony-BDP-S6500-hack

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