Blu-ray Hi-Def Equipment : Blu-Ray region-free

Blu-Ray region-free

OK, so while I was reticent to adopt Blu-Ray, all interesting special features seem to have been moved there, and I have thought about changing over. However, in doing some searching online, apparently the region-locking issue is significantly more complicated than with normal DVD players. Whereas my wonderful little Phillilps DVP player was a minor expense that I managed to make region-free with a few keystrokes on the remote, evidently region-hacking is a significantly more costly prospect on BR, and apparently, given that BR is updated repeatedly as well as what seem to be features designed by the manufacturers to prevent the consumer from becoming region-free are big stumbling blocks. Some research indicates that I might be well off with Oppo, whom I'm told are the Cadillac of BR players. However, quite apart from the significant expense of the players (The highly-regarded BDP-93 retails, before modding, already puts me back $500!), evidently region hacking is significantly complex, apparently requiring actual hardware modding. This is apparently usually done by an intermediary third party. I'm not particularly comfortable with that, especially since it further raises the price, but I'm unsure as to if I could undertake that extensive endeavor myself without sound damage and voiding the warrantee on a $500 player. There are various features associated with BR players that seem enticing, particularly Netflix streaming, but the region-coding is my prime interest. Exactly what options do I have? It sounds like I'm just SOL if I don't want to spend quite a significant amount of money, but is there any way to ensure a return on the investment? I was not hugely interested in upgrading as my TV and DVD player are still concocted by a coaxial splitter, for the love of Frith, so it seems like any upgrade at this point would he throwing he baby out with the bathwater, but given how fast BR seems to taking over, I though a rundown of how things are and a through understanding of these issues might make my purchase easier, whether I make the choice next week or next year, since both my interest in foreign discs of both SD and HD material, as well as the ones I already own, factor into the decision-making process, for the eventual building of my hopefully not imaginary future home theater system. Fully laid out, how does the whole issue look and what are my best options? Thanks and sorry for annoying everyone.

Re: Blu-Ray region-free

Investigate the cheapest Blu-ray players... because, as with DVD, the sketchier brands are the most likely to be region-free capable. I bought a "Seiki" BD660 from Walmart, and with a few keystrokes on the remote it can be made region-free for DVD, and the BluRay region can be readily changed. It's almost cheap enough that you could buy one for each of the main Blu-ray regions. Watch out for the older revision that ran hotter and had a noisy fan; they shouldn't be on store shelves now, but it's a risk of buying second-hand or from auction sites.

Another option is to get a Blu-ray drive for the computer. Under $100 (and that'll get you a Blu-ray writer(!)). You need a video card (or onboard graphics) with HDMI audio support and acceleration for HD video, or audio will be limited to analog or S/PDIF (PCM stereo and lossy DD & DTS).

Or, forget about playing movies on the computer and just rip the discs to a big USB hard drive (or shared network drive) and watch them with a standalone media player. Software includes AnyDVD HD, MakeMKV, DVDFab. There's umpteen name brand standalone players: WDTV Live may be the most popular; it has optional hacked firmware that adds more features. If you're hesitant or broke, there's under $40 (shipped!) "mini 1080p media players" on eBay; no network support, one USB port & one SD slot, bur very low power and reportedly able to handle most Blu-ray content, and probably a wider range of codecs than the WDtV.

Beware of older generation players that are limited to 720p, or don't even support VC-1 and H.264. If you demand support for DTS-MA and True HD, you'll have to check specs and reviews carefully. Or use the media player selection guide here:

Re: Blu-Ray region-free

Yes, what dangus said---I have a Seiki, and so far it plays everything regardless of region.

Next time you see me, it won't be me