[Nottingham] (off topic) Mac OSX DVD Region Free

Michael Quaintance penfoldq at penfoldq.co.uk
Sat Mar 5 22:08:17 GMT 2005


I know this isn't exactly Linux or even any free-os based but I was 
asked to post this ;-p

For those who have an Apple desktop/laptop and want to be able to view 
DVDs from various regions, you need to perform two distinct activities:

1) Remove the region locking of the drive.
2) Remove the region locking of the player software.

Step 1 requires modifying the firmware of the drive to change it from 
RPC-2 (region locked) to RPC-1 (region free). This is a dangerous, 
sometimes irreversible operation which is so far outside your warranty 
cover it is not funny. Also, as I am a firmware engineer for a living, 
I know how easily this can go _badly_ wrong; even when it is my own 
code and I have access to lots of debug tools, full documentation and 
schematics etc. You have been warned!

Step 2 involves either patching the Mac OS region (seperate to the 
drive's region) or using one of the free (open source!) alternatives 
such as the VLC ( http://www.videolan.org ).

First you need to determine the status and specific hardware of your 
current DVD drive. Go to http://www.opuscc.com/download/toolkit.shtml 
and download the DVD Info X app. Run this with no disc in the drive and 
it will report the current status of the drive. For me, on a Ti 
PowerBook, this was:

   Vendor: MATSHITA
    Model: CD-RW  CW-8121
Firmware: AA17
           RPC-2 (region locked)
           State is SET
           4 vendor resets left
           4 region changes left
           Region 2

Now go to http://www.opuscc.com/download/powerbook.shtml and look for 
the update for your drive. For me, this was the AX21 version but you 
need to follow your nose.

To actually reprogram the firmware of your drive, you will need to boot 
into OS9 (classic mode is not good enough). I don't have a classic 
partition anymore, so I didn't do this myself. I might do it soon but 
don't hold your breath.

Assuming all went well, your mac will reboot and you will be able to 
rerun DVD Info X to show that the firmware is the new version and is 
now RPC-1 (region free). Now you can proceed to step 2.

Although I still recommend VLC to play DVDs, you can 'fix' DVD Player 
if you wish. Go back to http://www.opuscc.com/download/toolkit.shtml 
and get the Region X app. This allows you to change the region the DVD 
app uses without ticking down its counter of changes. You can even 
change the number of changes left if you want.

As I mentioned before, I have NOT done this myself, upgrading firmware 
is a dangerous game and totally invalidates your warranty. Use at your 
own risk.

On saying that, I did upgrade the firmware of my PC-based DVD-ROM drive 
with no noticeable problems.

Hope this helps someone.



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