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When I travel and use my laptop quite often one issue I came across in Windows was having to change the region code for my DVD drive. Apparently you can ...
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  1. #1
    oxf
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    Is there a DVD Drive region issue in Linux?


    When I travel and use my laptop quite often one issue I came across in Windows was having to change the region code for my DVD drive. Apparently you can only change it five time after which it becomes locked. That seems rather a restriction of my rights to use my laptop and legal CD's in more than one continent but I wont get going on that now!

    For now I'm wondering if the same issue exists within Linux? If it does is there any way of getting around it? E.G someone once said they thought that (in windows at least) it was possible to contact the manufacturer of the DVD drive and override the lock after five changes. I dont know if this is true or not. However, I am curious if the same issues and possible solutions exist when using linux?

    For now I've just hit the fifth change and is now locked to region 2, EU, which is where I am right now. Its not an issue today but will eventually need to be changed.
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    Linux Guru Cabhan's Avatar
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    In order to actually play DVDs, you need to be able to get through their CSS encryption scheme. The way that most providers do this is by paying a fee to the DVD Copy Control Association, who gives them the key sets necessary to access the DVD's information.

    In Linux, because most of our software is created by individuals and is available for free, we instead use a library called libdvdcss. Basically, the DVD encryption scheme is flawed, and was cracked. Because of this library, we ignore the encryption.

    One side effect of this is that region restrictions are ignored as well. I have personally played Region 1, 2, and 3 DVDs on my computer without having to worry about the particular region.

    I should mention that libdvdcss has never been challenged in any court, so its legality has never been tested. However, the answer to your question is that regions are ignored under Linux if you use libdvdcss.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    What Cabhan said. Also, AFAIK, when the region code gets locked to the drive, that information is stored in the drive. Which means that if you try to use the drive on Windows you are still stuck playing either CD's from region 2 or that are region-free (region 0). Your drive may or may not work under Linux once it has been "locked" to a region if you try to play a disc from another region, although I'm not sure on this "fact". However, as Cabhan said, Linux won't instigate this action so it effectively behaves as a region-0 (unlocked) player.

    That said, even my home video player is a region unlocked device that can play both NTSC and PAL discs from any region. It's a Panasonic NV-VP60 DVD/VHS player/recorder (records on both VHS and DVD-RAM). I wouldn't trade it for all the BluRay drives in China...
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    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
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    I believe when using libdvdcss you access the drive as a block device and any CSS operations are done in software instead of the firmware, bypassing all of the region issues. A nice benefit for sure.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigtomrodney View Post
    I believe when using libdvdcss you access the drive as a block device and any CSS operations are done in software instead of the firmware, bypassing all of the region issues. A nice benefit for sure.
    Thanks for the clarification BTR. I wasn't sure about that, but it makes sense. In any case, the first thing I do with any purchased DVD is to rip it to an unencumbered ISO and store it on one of my network arrays. Then, if necessary I can burn a copy, or just mount it and view on my system. I usually just copy a couple of iso images to my laptop when I go on a trip, and then mount/view them at my leisure instead of taking the discs with me to be lost or mangled in my luggage.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    oxf
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    OK it seems you are correct, and I jumped the gun a bit. I just found a region 1 DVD that wont play in my DVD player and then tried it in Mplayer and it plays fine

    One minor issue though, there's no audio! There is sound from other DVD's though. I presume this is some sort of codec issue and not a region issue?

    This is in Ubuntu 9.04 BTW.

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    You might need to change the input source in the mixer from line to cd. The mplayer application shouldn't have a problem with the ac3 or mpeg audio used by a DVD. I've also had an occasional audio playback issue with DVDs on my CentOS 5 system, in which case sometimes ejecting and inserting it again might fix it, or rebooting the system will fix it. I hate having to reboot though. Such a pita.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
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    oxf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberman View Post
    You might need to change the input source in the mixer from line to cd. The mplayer application shouldn't have a problem with the ac3 or mpeg audio used by a DVD. I've also had an occasional audio playback issue with DVDs on my CentOS 5 system, in which case sometimes ejecting and inserting it again might fix it, or rebooting the system will fix it. I hate having to reboot though. Such a pita.
    At the risk of being dense where might I change this? I looked in Alsa but couldnt see the option. I wish I had some more region1 DVD's to hand to test this but I dont. Its not a crisis right now but would be good to sort out for the future. The video plays fine, very nicely in fact just no audio, as do all other region 2 DVD's. Maybe I should try it in another player such as VLC which I dont have installed right now.

    BTW I'm using Ubuntu 9.04

    Thanks

  10. #9
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    I run xp and ubuntu 9.04 on my laptop. I'll try out some dvd's later to see if I can duplicate your problem.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  11. #10
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    Linux ignores region coding. VLC also ignores region coding, thanks to libdvdcss. I happily played region 1 and 2 discs on an Asus (Lite-On) DX-8A1P USB drive with my Acer Aspire One. Then I made the mistake of plugging the drive into a windoze XP computer. This locked the drive to region 2.

    My work PC has two drives - one locked to region 1 and the other one locked to region 2, since I have to use windoze XP for work. I dual-booted to Ubuntu and was able to use DVD::RIP to rip a disc I wanted to see on the netbook. I can recommend DVD::RIP. It takes some time to work on a computer with a duo-core processor, but gives perfect results.

    Does anybody know where I can get the software to flash the USB drive? Ideally, I want to convert it to RPC-1 status.

    If not, I will have to sell it and buy a new one.

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