Hi. I've been trying the Multi-Region Hack posted by 'bobbyb124' on July 13th 2011, which is to be found in several places on the web, so I'm assuming it's a good one.
2 Remotes are needed. The S68 Remote, and a URC programmed to the S68, and having a separate 'PAUSE button, [ which the S68 Remote does not have.]
I've been using a LOGITECH HARMONY 515, programmed successfully to the S68, and which can control the DVD Player perfectly.
It is stated in the 'Hack Notes' that a 'No Go' message will appear on-screen after each button press, [ which it does], but I'm trying to find out what is supposed to happen after the PAUSE button on the URC is pressed ? In my case the open/close tray [ which has to be opened after 'Power On',] closes. And when I enter the final '0', and 'ON is supposed to appear in the DVD display, nothing happens.
Any help from anyone who has used this hack, or knows more about it than I do, would be greatly appreciated..
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I hope someone can help you, but do keep the following in mind.
1) We've had people post hacks and leave out critical bits of information in them, without which the hacks won't work. I have no idea, but perhaps this is the case here.
2) Sometimes the hack doesn't work anymore because the manufacturer changed the hardware and/or firmware since the hack worked and the new hardware and/or firmware breaks the hack.
P.S. We've heard that supposedly Aussie and Kiwi customers can contact the manufacturer's office in their country and get help with unlocking players because of some kind of law your countries have about making unlocking legal. Perhaps if nobody else has any suggestions you can try contacting Panasonic's office (if they have one) in New Zealand.
Hi jman98. Thanks for your posts.
I actually logged in this time to answer my own question, and you are perfectly correct !!.
The Hack is corrrect too, but the problem is that the single aspect of it that has to be input by the 'second' remote that I mentioned, apparently does have to be another Panasonic remote. Not a programmed URC.....although, having said that, it appears that some URC's may work, as they don't all use the same codes !! But the one I was trying with, [ the LOGITECH HARMONY 515] clearly isn't one of those.
As to your second point, you are 100% spot on.
I called PANASONIC in AUCKLAND, and they not only gave me all the above information as to why I couldn't get the hack to work, but gave me a list of engineers throughout the country, covering every region, who would unlock the DVD Player to make it region-free, at no charge to me, as Panasonic apparently pay for it.
So I have an appointment with a local guy not far away at 10.00a.m. tomorrow morning who will be able to enter the 'missing PAUSE' CODE from his Panasonic 'service' remote, and all will be good !!
I'm not totally sure why they're doing this, but this machine was originally, [ and still is,I think] advertised on AMAZON.COM as being MULTI-REGION' so whether that has anything to do wit it or not, I'm not sure.
But if any'LEGALITIES' ARE IN QUESTION, i WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT THE WHOLE BUSINESS OF CREATING 'REGIONS' is what would be at fault. I know it was done, and operated for several years now, but that doesn't make it right. And if anyone could be bothered, [ or had the money !! ] to take these mammoth corporations to court over it, if they could afford a half decent lawyer, I'm sure the case would be extremely interesting !!.
We all know why it was done, and with SONY, [ of whom I'm usually a large supporter, by the way,mainly because of their huge R&D department !] being so hot on DRM and also owning some Hollywood Studios themselves, it's pretty obvious why it exists. But that doesn't make it right. Or LEGAL.
Anyway.....I'm just a 'user', and it looks as though things will have turned out well for me [ for once !!].
But thanks for your input. And you are right !!
Cheers for now.
One more point.
I think it does have something to do with the Law here, [ NZ ] and in Australia.
But it's not so much as making Unlocking 'LEGAL', as making 'LOCKING' 'ILLEGAL'.
Which I happen to think is right !!
But then, I would, wouldn't I ?!!!
Region codes exist because in the old days, say 8+ years ago, Hollywood had this system where movies were released in the USA first then they tickled over to Europe and maybe 1 year later (NOT exaggerating at all about this) they would make it to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and other places in Asia. What eventually happened is that films were being ripped from DVDs and made available on the internet before they even played in theaters in some parts of the world! But region codes existed to try to stop that very thing from happening. Remember, at the time that DVD was created, the encryption was considered "unbreakable" and it was only when a code version of a commercial DVD software player got released into the wild accidentally (well, we assume it was an accident, but who knows?) that the decryption keys became known and DVD could be decrypted. Hollywood had no choice but to move to a model where release dates are either the same or very close to each other around the world, but region coding has persisted. It also exists in part to deliberately try to prevent people outside of the USA and Canada from buying and playing region 1 DVDs as these are often licensed to companies that do a crappy job of putting them out (ie. no extras, low quality encodes, etc.) in other regions and if it was easy to play region 1 DVDs, nobody would buy the crappy local copy of some Hollywood movie because a lot of people would rather pay extra to get the better quality import. Also, keep in mind too that the USA (I am American so i can say this) has been a pretty highly xenophobic society for some time and there's a real feeling among most Americans that if a movie isn't made here, then it's just weird and only weirdos would want to see it, so there's no reason to unlock DVD players just so a handful of weirdos can see depraved foreign films that probably suck anyway because they're not in English. Hell, even British films are a hard sell here. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which by American standards is considered a hugely successful British film in the US market made about $46 million USD here. That wouldn't even come close to paying the expenses of a lot of Hollywood movies and that's how much a "big hit" foreign film made here.
As far as legality goes, remember that Hollywood is in the USA and has a big chunk of the movie market all over the world, except for some places in Asia that actually have a well supported film industry of their own. In the USA region coding and various restrictions are quite legal indeed and we actually have laws (sad but true) that make it so.
Last edited by jman98; 4th Mar 2013 at 07:28. Reason: typo
Thanks for that extremely interesting and informative post. I really do appreciate the reasons why the Regional Coding system was brought in, although I do think it is [ was ?] a misguided attempt to 'hold back progress.'
Do [ did ] any 'sub-regions' exist in the US ?
After all, it's a large country with many states. Surely they must have suffered similar distribution problems in the 'old days' ? Or not ? Either way, Hollywood seems to have embraced the DVD era quite readily, with huge markets for Rentals, Sales, and re-distribution of old, old movies, not to mention the changed projection technology in theatres, which I suppose has enabled the mass simultaneous release of movies quite easily.
I do appreciate the attempt to 'protect' their products, especially in the 'early days', and presumably it was a solution concocted between the Hardware manufacturers, [ mainly Japan and China], and the software [Movies], mainly the US, for the English speaking parts of the world in any case. But personally I feel it a misguided attempt at a solution. Far more sensible [ IMHO] to have put all the money and energy into making it impossible to COPY DVD's, which I think would have got to the root of not only this problem, but many others.
I also appreciate that many Americans don't really see too far beyond their own borders, [ except for keeping the armies occupied !] but surely an alternative solution would have been to control the import and export of DVD's through Customs etc, as there must be a huge industry in wholesaling these discs. And I feel that to control the supply, allied with better 'Copy Control' would, [ and still may be] the way forward.
The way things are, it is the poor old customer who is being penalised. I have 3 DVD players, and a large number of DVD's, [all bought and paid for] that I still can't play !! Which is irksome, to say the least. Also, many DVD's do NOT have the Region clearly labelled, if at all. Which makes it all a bit of a lottery. Hence my quest for the 'Multi-Region' player.....which I hope I will have, courtesy of Panasonic, by the end of the day !!
I guess the Internet has changed the world in which we live in so, so many ways. Not all of them good ! But on balance, the easily access to information, history, events, news etc must be for the good. It's certainly made the world a much 'smaller' place.
I'll keep you posted !!
Cheers for now.
Yep. All done!!
I now have an ALL-REGION DVD player, which took about 20 seconds to convert.
Even better, I know how to do it ! I may go into business !!
Cheers for now.
There are no "sub-regions" within the USA. In my entire life movies have always opened on the same day everywhere in the US, whether the town is small or large.
The DVD control thing is not a customs issue because the internet can't be stopped. The only way to go back to the old days of control where films played up to a year later in some countries is impossible to go back to because that would mean that home video releases couldn't be put out in the USA/Canada until the film had played everywhere. Coming out a year later on DVD/BD is not very good from a business standpoint. Yet if the USA/Canada got the DVD/BD and the film hadn't played overseas, it would just get ripped and uploaded to the internet and people in countries who hadn't had the film released there would just download it. That is exactly what made Hollywood abandon the staggered release system they had been using. Also, delays in home video releases led to camcorder bootlegging copies being available on the internet because customers were tired of waiting so long for the home release. The genie is out of the bottle.
There's not really better "copy control" either except for Cinavia, but that's a whole other story and off topic for this thread.
I am baffled that you somehow have a large number of DVDs that you don't know what region they came from, but I'll take your word for it. I buy more DVDs outside of region 1 than most Americans do and I've never had a problem where I don't know where something came from. Note that restricting DVDs to specific regions is actually optional and Hollywood doesn't have to do it. The DVD spec does not require restriction. It's even legal/valid to make DVDs that can play in all regions and I've seen this done sometimes on DVDs sold in other parts of the world. I've seen some DVDs sold in the USA from Hollywood studios that are coded for 1 or 2 more regions besides region 1, but this is not common although it does sometimes happen.
I'm amazed to hear that in the US, even 'back in the day' all movies opened simultaneously in all towns, be they large or small. So when there could possibly have been 10 to 20 reels to a movie, that must have meant thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of reels for any one movie being printed from the get-go, and then distributed throughout the country.
I would have thought they'd print maybe enough to cover 25% of the venues, and then pass them around. And if a movie played a week or 2 or 3 later in the smaller towns, so be it. But you are living there, so are obviously correct. No wonder the big Movie printing labs have felt the pinch, now that the new technology has evolved. Although I expect most of them will have seen it coming, and invested in the new DLP methods anyway.
With regard to your being 'baffled' by DVD's being not labelled as to which region they are, I'm sure it would take more than that to baffle you !! In the US, as you said, the vast majority of movies will be 'Made in Hollywood', and anyone viewing 'foreign flms, is regarded as a trifle 'weird'. [Is 'Les Mis' regarded as a foreign film ? English director, Australian stars ? But I gather it's done very well.]
And I do understand what you are saying. But in a small country like New Zealand, [which does have a small film industry of it's own.....but mainly 'quality rather than quantity'], the vast majority of movies on sale are probably USA or UK made. But they may be sourced from absolutely anywhere. And I suspect it costs the Retailers less to buy a DVD from Spain [e.g.] even though it is an American made film, but released on DVD in many countries , with the useful option of having alternate sound tracks.
So a large DVD retailing store here will have movies from practically all regions. Even though they may be US made. And the regions they are released for are not, in most cases printed on the 'box', or even on the discs themselves. Which they certainly should be.
And that was my point. That I have, on occasions, bought discs that I only found were unplayable on any of my players when I tried to play them. This is not a large number. Maybe only 3 or 4. I hope I didn't imply a 'large number'. But any number is too many when you've paid for something you can't play.
It's like.........well.......the metaphors are endless, so I won't bother !!
And to be quite honest, as an old Radio, Film and TV writer myself, I'm mildly surprised that Movies, as a form of Entertainment, are still around. But it is a pretty 'mindless' form of relaxation from the stress of modern day living, and no doubt suits the majority of people.
I think we all thought that with the advent of high quality TV, [ that's resolution, not content !! ] they would suffer hugely. But they seem to be hanging on, and even growing in popularity. To paraphrase the Olympic Motto, " Higher, Wider, Louder" seems to be the way forward many producers have adopted.
That and the burgeoning DVD markets.
But this is where we came in folks !!
I don't agree with jman98's assertion, if he means that movies have always opened in theaters everywhere in the US on the same day. When movies were only available on film, smaller theaters and smaller towns definitely had to wait their turn. I'm old enough to remember waiting weeks for movies to show up in the local first-run theater although theaters in the city were already showing them.
Even in recent years a few movies are released earlier to a few large cities (NY, LA, San Francisco, Chicago) before a wider release occurs. Sometimes this is to allow them the opportunity qualify for Oscar nomination or consideration for other awards.
DVD and Blu-Ray movies always become available from major retailers on the same day everywhere in the US, although some retailers accept pre-orders and mail the discs on the official release date.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 6th Mar 2013 at 16:26.
I'm willing to admit that I may be wrong. However, I can only share my experience. I lived in a town of 50,000 people or so when I was a kid and all the big releases came to our town the same day they did everywhere else. I don't particularly remember waiting, at least not for any kind of major release, but I'm willing to concede the argument.
The special releases to a small number of cities for Oscar nominations is a special case. Surely we're not going to split hairs here over that? Yes, if you want to be argumentative about that, this is still done for award reasons or quite simply some extremely limited distribution releases may not ever play anywhere in the USA except Los Angeles and New York.
Keep in mind too that SLOPPY was asking about a situation where some film would open in, say, Los Angeles and the studio deliberately held it back from the rest of the country and maybe it crawled over to Texas 3 months later and then 3 months after that Miami got it. It's different if a small cinema simply doesn't have enough screens to show a film first run or they had to wait for larger cinemas to get it first. This is not some evil plan by Hollywood execs where they chuckle that Texas ALWAYS gets their films X months later than everyone else, which I think is what SLOPPY is asking about. I've never heard about that kind of thing, but if people want to go back further than I can (you get past the 1970s and I really can't speak from personal experience), they can do so.
My querying of Jman98's assertion that all movies opened on the same day in every town was purely based on economic grounds, rather than any Machiavellian plot by studio bosses. And if they didn't make 100% print stock to cover every theater in the country, [ which does seem unlikely,] then it stands to reason that the top theaters in the largest towns are going to get 'first dibs' on the releases. Then the secondary theaters, then the third tier, and so on. So although they weren't called 'Regions', it's not unfair to draw some sort of parallel between that system, and the now world-wide 'Regional' distribution methods.
And this is all about 'Distribution', and the economics thereof. Nothing to do with 'Movie Making'. Everything to do with 'Money-Making', or 'Maximising Profits'.
'Monetising', I think they call it today !! [ There's always a 'buzz-word' for everything !!]
The advent of DVD/BLU-RAY/AND THE NEXT has been a huge benefit to the Movie Distribution machine, now that they have finally bitten the bullet and supported the Theater Owners in subsidising the new Projection systems. So the whole technological development has been a Two-edged sword for them. Pluses and minuses.
But the real arguments for the Regional system of DVD distribution no longer exist.
And, yes, I accept that there will always be crap copies of a movie available for download on the Internet, or copied by the local wide boy, but the majority of those bear no relationship to a night out watching a Top Movie at a good Theater. Or even a good copy of a purchased 'Home DVD', played on top class equipment.
Funnily enough, I can remember having a similar argument/discussion with a friend back in the days of Audio Cassettes, [remember those ? ] over copying.
She was taking the viewpoint that it was depriving the Industry of income, and the Artists of royalties etc. I was propounding the view that it was mainly teenagers and people who couldn't afford to buy a 'proper' copy that were engaging in this activity, and that if and when they could afford to buy their own 'proper' cassettes, they probably would do, if their interest in music had been encouraged by getting into it 'on the cheap' as it were.
I still feel the same argument applies today, over the DVD copying, and dubious downloading. Most of them are dreadful. I remember back in the 80's, I think it was, being invited to a neighbour's house to watch an illegal copy of ET. It was terrible. [ The copy, not the Movie.] It put me right off what used to be called 'Pirated' media for life !!
Sorry. Written too much again !!
I can remember back into the 1960's, wanting to see a few Disney films showing in the city, but having to wait for them to come to the local movie theater. Back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s there were rarely enough copies for every theater that wanted to show a movie to begin showing it on the same day, and the film reels traveled from place to place.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 6th Mar 2013 at 18:28.
I feel that the method of distribution entailing the passing of multiple reels from town to town was still in practice more recently than people think.
Certainly here in New Zealand it was still going on up to two or three years ago, and probably still is at some of the tiny places. Although I do believe that some resorted to hooking up pretty standard DVD players, and boosting the output onto a ‘big screen’.!!
Needless to say, the results were pretty horrific, and would only be ‘put up with’ in the smaller ‘bush’, or ‘outback’ towns, or whatever you want to call them.
'Priority Town' distribution [ for want of a better term ] was also taking place in the UK up to fairly recently. I know that, because I went back there for a ‘home’ visit to see my brother etc, and that was only 5 years ago.
As a boy, [ I’m talking 40’s and 50’s now,] the Cinema was probably the main form of a ‘night out’, with even smallish towns having 4 , 5 or even 6 Movie Theaters, often doubling up as ‘Live Theaters’ until the demise of Vaudeville, or Variety as it came to be known. Usurped, for the most part by TV, but also by other forms of personalized activity opportunities.
Anyway, during my early years our dining room table was a heavy solid iron affair, with wire mesh sides, that we all had to scramble into whenever the Air-raid warning siren sounded. Which was just about every night. All except Grandma, a large lady. She continued to sit by the fire. The reason for this was that she crawled in the first time, but couldn’t get out again, and had to be rescued by the Fire Brigade, much to our embarrassment. But she was a kindly soul, who often took us kids to the Movies 2 or 3 times a week.
In those days the showings were ‘continuous, with the Movie Theaters opening at perhaps 10.00 a.m, and closing around midnight. You could go in the morning, and stay till the end if you wanted !! There was a’Main Movie’, a ‘Second Feature’, which was a low budget offering, often in black and white, and with no major stars, plus a newsreel, a ‘Look at Life’ short, and maybe a few minutes of cartoons. Often a 4 hour program. With intervals for Ice cream sales etc.
All of this was a long time ago. But goes to show that the world, and life in it, changes all the time. Constantly, incessantly, irrefutably, and hopefully progressively. I’m quite sure that Movie Distribution methods will be no different.
And in 20 or 30 years time, I have no doubt people will be looking back and trying to remember what DVD REGIONS were.
Or maybe even what ‘3D Movies’ were !! I saw my first 3D movie in the UK in 1949, through a pair of cardboard framed glasses, with one red plastic lens, and the other side green !!
64 years later we now have smart plastic frames !!
Who said progress was fast ??
You have confirmed that you have had your Panasonic S-68 converted to Multi Region & now know how to do it Can you share?
It was a while ago now, and I'd forgotten, but did find my notes ! Here they are :-
This hack requires the S68 remote plus a universal remote configured for the S68 with a separate 'Pause' button (or another Panasonic DVD remote with a separate 'Pause' button may work). However, I used my TV remote (Samsung) which has pause button and this seemed to do the trick fine.
Neither the 'Play/Pause' nor 'Frame' buttons on the S68 remote work for this hack.
1. Power on.
2. Open tray.
3. Using the S68 remote press Audio, 1, 9, 8, 2, Subtitle
(it is not required but, if the TV is on, it will display the 'no go' icon after each key press - ignore it).
4. Using the other remote press Pause.
5. Using the S68 remote press 0.
The DVD front panel should now show the text "on".
If so, the DVD is region-free.
Hope it helps.
GOOD LUCK. HAPPY XMAS !!