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Season 3 US DVD is region-free?


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Hi there folks. Earlier this year I ordered the R1 season 3 set from Amazon.com as I have a multi-region player (I'm in the UK). My brother-in-law doesn't have multi-region (region 2 only) and didn't know it was a region 1 disc. So imagine how suprised I was to find him watching it on his DVD player after I left it at his place on day!

A few experiments and I discovered that it works on any Region 1 only, 2 only, or multi-region players that I had access to at friends' houses!

Has anyone else in Europe got discs that do this, or is it just me? COuld it be that they forgot to region code it?

I examined the first disks of all B5 titles in my possession with DVD Decrypter. Results are as follows:

<font class="small">Code:</font><hr /><pre>Title Regions Annoyances
In the Beginning R1 1,4 CSS
The Gathering R1 1,4 CSS
Season 1 R1 1,2,3,4 CSS
Season 1 R2 2,4 CSS
Season 2 R2 2,5 CSS
Season 3 R1 1,2,3,4 CSS,RCE</pre><hr />

It appears that one member of DVDCCA has compromised their pet creation, scaling back restrictions on their DVD disks. Very odd -- since nowhere have they admitted the mistakenness (and approaching failiure) of region code.

Perhaps they simply forgot? Perhaps desire for profit overwhelmed their foolishness? After all, exports from R1 must earn them a decent sum, which they might otherwise lose to piracy.

Perhaps they are unofficially admitting defeat? Then again, they are still maintaining strict restrictions on R2 disks, and have added RCE (designed to prevent circumvention, but already defeated to allow Linux playback) to R1 disks.

I cannot draw conclusions. This is too strange. I hence leave it for everyone to challenge/disprove my results, or draw your own conclusions. Independent verification would be appreciated -- just don't lock your DVD player doing it.
I must point out the region coding was only ever ment for new titles and not back catalogue titles. However most studios never really stuck to this. Most R4 titles are also codee to work on R2.

I read an article not long ago at how studios just sometimes don't bother with region coding or even macro vision and this has even been done on bigger titles.
None of the Farscape DVDs that I own have either region coding of CSS encryption protection. I found that kind of odd, but they are put out by a smaller DVD warehouse.


Well, strictly speaking... region code, CSS (content scrambling system) and RCE (region code enhanced) are all methods of copy protection. Much depends on how you copied them, and which tools you employed.

To access files from a region-coded DVD, your drive must be regionfree (or match the region mask on disk). This applies to coputer DVD-ROM drives and stand-alone DVD players alike.

"Babylon 5" disks from Region 1 carry a region mask allowing regions 1,2,3 and 4 -- so this might not be required.

To play files from a CSS-scrambled disk, your player software must support unscrambling. Windows players usually have DVDCCA approval, as do stand-alone boxes (with the possible exception of Linux boxes). Linux players usually crack the CSS key.

All "Babylon 5" disks are scrambled with CSS. Upon simple copying, files would remain scrambled -- unless you employed a DVD ripper / decrypter to unscramble them.

If however you copy video from analog output (cannot understand why anyone would want, but it remains a possibility) then your DVD player's capability to play in the first place... indicates compatibility with above mentioned copy protection schemes.

Since B5 disks have not been contaminated with Macrovision-like copy protection, analog output is not compromised. For me personally, analog output no longer matters, but having a digital backup in future-proof format... does matter.
Well, I played the DVD on a Philips DVD changer, and copied the ep on my Philips SVHS player. Player and DVD are both R1. Since I can't afford the DVDs, but can borrow them from a friend, I am using the DVDs to get good copies to complete the set I taped from SciFi Channel, which had some problems, like Quality of Mercy, and Racing Mars were broadcast in mono! I have been able to defeat Macrovision by passing the DVD signal through my JVC SVHS VCR, and then into the Philips SVHS VCR, and using it to record. The SVHS copies look very nice, but than I don't have a progressive scan TV, which would benefit from DVD.

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