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Watching German DVDs in the US

  Tags: DVD | German
 Language Learning Forum : Music, Movies, TV & Radio Post Reply
Senior Member
United States
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Studies: German, French

 Message 1 of 5
06 January 2015 at 4:56pm | IP Logged 
I know that Germany (or any other country for that matter) uses a different DVD format than the US. What would be my options for watching them in the US? Can computers (with DVD drives) handle these?
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United Kingdom
rdearman.orgRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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 Message 2 of 5
06 January 2015 at 5:12pm | IP Logged 
This is a particular problem for standalone DVD players because you have the region set when you buy it. Your options are:

1) If you cannot "unlock" your existing DVD player, the most obvious and straightforward way to overcome DVD region codes is to purchase a DVD player from the same part of the world as the DVDs that you want to watch. You'll have to buy a DVD player for the German market, and a power adapter to play in the USA.
2) Windows machines can switch regions 5 times before getting your DVD locked. There is some third-party software you can get that gets around this 5 switches only issue.
3) Install Linux on your computer, region codes are not a problem for Linux users. The Linux platform has a number of multimedia players that can play DVDs, including "xine", "kaffeine", etc. These software packages have the capability of "pretending" that the DVD has whatever region code the DVD drive requires.
4) Write your senator and complain about the stupid DRM laws.

Option 3 is probably the easiest.
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 Message 3 of 5
06 January 2015 at 5:25pm | IP Logged 
In addition to rdearman's excellent advice. I would add that on a windows machine you can install the VLC Media Player which doesn't care an iota about regions and won't lock your player to a certain region.

You can buy a "region free" dvd player, like this one on ebay for around $40, making sure it has US 110 volts and a US plug- NTSC/PAL compatible.

When rdearman was talking about "unlocking" your player. It may be possible to search online for an unlock code for your particular player. It involves entering in numbers and a combination of other keys with your remote. It may, or may not work.

My advice, download VLC for your computer and/or fork out the $40 for a region free player.

EDIT: After reading Michel1020's post, VLC may or may not work on your machine. It works well on mine.

Edited by iguanamon on 06 January 2015 at 5:55pm

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 Message 4 of 5
06 January 2015 at 5:46pm | IP Logged 
Source :

VLC wrote:
Does VLC support DVDs from all regions?

This mostly depends on your DVD drive. Testing it is usually the quickest way to find out. The problem is that a lot of newer drives are RPC2 drives these days. Some of these drives don't allow raw access to the drive untill the drive firmware has done a regioncheck. VLC uses libdvdcss and it needs raw access to the DVD drive to crack the encryption key. So with those drives it is impossible to circumvent the region protection. (This goes for all software. You will need to flash your drives firmware, but sometimes there is no alternate firmware available for your drive). On other RPC2 drives that do allow raw access, it might take VLC a long time to crack the key. So just pop the disc in your drive and try it out, while you get a coffee. RPC1 drives should 'always' work regardless of the regioncode.

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United States
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 Message 5 of 5
07 January 2015 at 1:38am | IP Logged 
So the region code is more about licensing than format? I thought they wouldn't play because they were encoded differently or something, not because of some laws, that's just stupid. It does make me more confident that I can figure my way around it though.

I use VLC, though I've never tried it for this purpose. I also don't mind dishing out a few bucks if need be. Thanks guys!

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