Hack your DVD firmware

It isn’t illegal to buy and play DVDs in regions other than those for which they were intended – it’s just that the big movie companies would rather you paid £20 for a region 2 DVD in the UK than $20 for the same film on a US region 1 disc. Clever hacks for domestic DVD players are well-known, and region-free players are sold all over the place. But did you know that you can unlock the region code on many DVD-ROM drives and DVD writers by flashing new firmware? You can find a huge list of so-called RPC-1 firmware (RPC-1 indicates region-free) at http://forum.rpc1.org. Often, the new firmware is simply either the Australian or New Zealand version, because these two countries don’t allow RPC-2 (region-coded) drives to be sold because of free-trade laws.

There are of course no guarantees that flashing your drive’s firmware will work, so don’t try it on a brand-new £300 Blu-ray drive unless you’re a fan of techy Russian Roulette.

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