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Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Never confuse movement with action." - Ernest Hemingway


I hate my Matsushita UJ-850S drive. It seems to be one of the few RPC-2 drives which BOTH has no cracked firmware available AND defeats every software tool people throw at it; even the makers of DVD Region+CSS Free, who boast that "it fully supports region-protected (RPC2) DVD drives, and does not require any firmware modifications. It will even work if you have used up your region counter and can no longer change the DVD drive's region", note that "DVD-RAM, Matshita XX-8xxx, SW-9xxx series DVD drives, and Torisan DRD-Uxxx series DVD drives are not supported now, and there is no plan to support them".

[Addendum: The AnyDVD people say:

"AnyDVD works with Matsushita (Panasonic) drives, as long as:

1.) The drive is set to a specific region code. If your drive isn't, set your preferred region.
2.) CSS protected discs match this region

AnyDVD does not allow you with Matsushita (Panasonic) drives to watch or copy a CSS protected disc, which has a different region then the drive, unless you have a patched firmware. (AnyDVD allows this with every other drive)

The reason is rather simple:

MMC standard requires, that a drive should not reveal a title key on a region mismatched CSS protected disc. (It should return "Illegal request - region code does not match"). Some drives are even less restrictive and even give you the title key on region mismatch.
But AnyDVD can usually reveal the title key with a brute force attack, as long as the drive allows you to read the scrambled sectors.
Matsushita (Panasonic) drives do not! You CANNOT read the scrambled data, if the region code doesn't match.
No other drive behaves this way, only Matsushita (Panasonic) drives do, as the standard does not require a drive to not reveal the protected data on region mismatch, but Matsushita (Panasonic) drives are more restrictive as they need to be.

There is nothing AnyDVD, DVDDecrypter, or any other software can do about this. Sorry.

Solution: Set the drive to a region, and only use matching discs. AnyDVD will remove CSS/Macrovision/Adverts/User prohibitions/forced subtitles/FBI warnings/... no problem.

It cannot bypass region codes with Matsushita (Panasonic) drives."]

Luckily, Media Player Classic works (somehow - from what I read it was hardware-locked), though according to the people on The Firmare Page forums using this or VLC tool doesn't always work.

[Addendum: I found a DVD both MPC and VLC won't open, shocking all the VLC afficionados. Hah.]

Not a few people have suggested that I just download movies instead. Which, of course, is what region coding (and similar silly measures to increase supernormal profits) does - makes people download and buy pirated DVDs instead of original ones.


On a side note, getting DVDs off eBay is much cheaper than buying them here - even including shipping. The only place I've seen cheaper DVDs in Singapore is at Seah Im hawker centre (S$6 each), and then they're all crappy titles (whose names elude me at the moment).
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