Make Your DVD Player Region-Free in Seconds

By Paul Michael on 14 April 2007 322 comments

As a Brit, I often want DVDs that I just can't find in the U.S. It's usually U.K. comedy shows, most of which don't take off over here for some reason. And DVD regions used to be a problem for me. But not anymore. (See also: The Best Blu-ray Players)

As I'm sure you know, DVDs are coded to a region of the world. Here's how it breaks down:

REGION 1 — USA, Canada
REGION 2 — Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
REGION 3 — S.Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia
REGION 4 — Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (including Mexico)
REGION 5 — Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
REGION 6 — China
REGION 7 — Reserved for Unspecified Special Use
REGION 8 — Reserved for Cruise Ships, Airlines, etc...
REGION 0, 9, or REGION ALL — Discs are uncoded and can be played worldwide

So, here in the U.S., we're Region 1. In the U.K., discs are Region 2. Region 1 discs won't play in region 2 players, and vice versa. Or so I was told when I first moved here 6 years ago. But that's not true. Region coding can, in most cases, be removed from your DVD player using a simple remote-control code that unlocks the player.

Why do we have region codes?

I'm no expert on this, but I turn to a man who knows more than I do. Robert Silva from About.com had this to say about the subject.

"Movies are released in theaters in different parts of the world at different times throughout the year. That Summer blockbuster in the U.S. may end up being the Christmas blockbuster overseas. If that occurs, the DVD version of the movie may be out in the U.S. while it is still showing in theaters overseas.

In order to preserve the financial integrity of the theatrical distribution of a particular film, it is not possible (under normal conditions) to have a friend in the U.S. send a DVD copy of the film to the country where it is in theatrical release and be able to play the DVD on a player there."

So, in a word, money. However, since the massive surge of the Internet, file sharing and release dates in countries around the world coming closer and closer together, it's fairly ridiculous to have region coding. In fact, many players are now code free. But, if yours isn't (and most aren't) you may be able to unlock it in a matter of seconds...right now.

Enough background...how do I unlock my player?

The site I have used for the last few years is called VideoHelp.com, and they have a section of the site dedicated to DVD hacks. It's a simple search engine. Just take down the name and model number of your DVD player, and if a hack exists (there are thousands out there) then just print out the instructions, take your remote control and program your DVD player. And there you have it. You can now play disks from Japan, England, Australia, anywhere you want!

Here's the best part.

You don't need an expensive player. In fact, the easiest players to unlock are at the cheaper end. I bought a Phillips DVD player (DVP642) for $40 from BestBuy a few years ago, unlocked it in 10 seconds and watched a bunch of British comedy the same day. Yesterday, I upgraded that player to a DVD player with HD capability for the impending HDTV we'll need to buy. I checked out VideoHelp for players on the BestBuy website that had a remote hack available and found this one: a Samsung Progressive-Scan DVD Player with HD Upconversion, Model: DVD-HD860 . It was $89.99 (on sale from $99.99) and then I used the following region hack:

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

That was it. A nice new upconvert DVD player that plays any DVD, and it got a great rating on CNET, too. All for less than $100 including tax. So, if you do have a DVD player that you'd like to convert, you can try it. The site does WARN that any action you take may invalidate the warranty, so try it at your own risk. All I can say is that I've never had a problem. Best of luck.

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Make Your DVD Player Region-Free in Seconds

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Guest's picture
Guest

None of the links work anymore for the hacks.

Guest's picture
Guest

Anyone know how to hack a JVC-DR-MV7 or a

Panasonic DMR-E75V

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Guest Corbin

I have a Sony RDR-VX555 DVD Recorder. How do I make it region free to play dvd''s, if I need to purchase them from over seas, because their are out of print in the US?

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Guest

Hi on my DVD remote I dont have a info button all I have is picture navi, clear, audio, subtitles, time/text, menu, return, display and fast/slow play is it any of these?

And does this hack work on a Sony DVD RMT-D197P. Player?

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for the excellent information! Now I can watch my French movies that I bought and didn't copy. merci beaucoup.

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Sara

I know this post is very old, but if there's someone out here still, could you help me? I live in Spain (Region 2) and I have a LG RHT399H, and I tried searching for the region hack on VideoHelp, but there's no hack avaliable for my DVD player. I can't afford a new player because I have to priorize when it comes to spending money. Does anyone have the same model or know about any other web that can give me the instructions so I can make it region free?

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Guesth

I have a samsung blue ray disc player bd-h5100 and tried all the suggestions and none have worked. Any other ideas

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Guestjulie

The DVDs is accurate but the tv won't sync. Suggestions? I'm using 6 from Kenya.
Thanks for your help?

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Guest

Can someone please help me i have LG dvd player and it wont allow me to watch my movie

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Guest

This is awesome. Just what I was looking for. Worked on my Phillips DVD

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GuestLorrie

Can anyone help me hack a Phillips 3355V not sure if you need the /F that comes after that. Thanks so much for any help.

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Kenneth Smith

Zone Locking Players is a restrictive trade practice, by Electronic Goods Manufacturers, at the behest of Studios ( Of course as Sony owns Paramount) they have a vested interest.

As it is perfectly legal to buy DVDs in Europe, Asia or the US and have them posted to another country, the Manufacturers and colluding with studios, to deny consumers their right to spend their own money on what goods they wish to buy and from where they choose.

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GuestDr.Tapas karmakar

I bought a new sony bdp s5500 blue ray player but unable to use it because of region code restrictions.can anyone please help me to run the player in region free manner?

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Vishal Solanki

I want to make my bluray player to region free Sony BDPS6700 . This only supports region A . Where I want to make it to play multi region . Please help me out

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Debbie

I live in U.S. and I'm trying to play a dvd from Europe
I have a Sony RDR-VX515 and the Videohelp website says that there are 'no region code comments for this player' : (
Can anyone help, or do I have to go out and buy another dvd player?

Guest's picture
Guest

how do you unlock a VIDTEC MDVD 6688 ? I believe it already can convert pal to ntsc, but I can't watch any import DVDs until it is unlocked. will appreciate any help, thank you.

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Guest

I bought Lawrence of Arabia without knowledge it was from UK and not compatible with my DVD player. Purchase will be returned and I learned to check more closely what I buy from now on.

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Guest

It worked on my Samsung SR-150M DVD player which would not play a Region 0 DVD!

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Bob o rino

I have a Sony slv-d380p cannot play any movies from Great Britain any help would be appreciated

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Lee

I cannot make my Sony DVP-970 portable DVD player region-free. All I get is a message: "playback prohibited by area limitations." (I've been buying concert DVD's from the UK and Japan). Please help...

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Jenn

Hi I have a Sony DVD player, DVP-SR210P and my remote does NOT have an info button, is there another button I can press. PLze help!!!!

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Guest

Don't have info button