Toshiba HD-DVD players - Will we ever see multiregion SD?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray & DVD Players & Recorders' started by CarlB, Apr 20, 2007.

  1. CarlB

    CarlB
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    I was hoping to retire my Denon 3800 DVD player after years of loyal service, and I thought the upscaling abilities of the XE1 would be perfect for the job.

    It most certainly is up to the task, R2 SD discs look greaton the XE1! Sure, the lipsync problem is there and often seems worse than ever on SD, but I can happily use my digital coax and audio delay, something I can't do with the analogue input. All good news, except for the fact that over 800 of my 850 SD-DVD collection is Region 1.

    Now, I have another couple of cheap Toshiba 'supermarket' players in bedrooms, and both were easily modified to multiregion playback with a simple handset code, and have worked flawlessly with everything I throw at them. I remembered an AV Forum podcast of way back (Podcast #14) that included an interview with Toshiba about their upcoming HD-DVD players, but I had not heard the podcast, so decided to give it a listen yesterday.

    During the interview, at no point does the Toshiba employee mention any possibility of region-free SD playback on the new HD decks. In fact, at one point in the interview he says he must stress that region coding for SD is enabled, in line with the DVD forum. Now, of course he had to say that. Toshiba cannot market a machine as multiregion in violation of the DVD Forum rules, but I just thought it was odd that he re-emphasised this point on a couple of occasions. I then read the forum thread about the podcast, and it was only Phil (Hinton) that ever mentioned the machines would presumably be easily hackable, as per other Toshiba machines in the past. Phil does not (and probably cannot) expand upon whether this was speculation or comments made off the record, and I wouldn't expect him to do so, but we are now on the second generation of HD-DVD players and there has never been any mention of a working region hack for the Toshiba decks.

    Will we ever see a handset hack or will it be a hardware mod? Is it down to the fact that the constant firmware updates will keep rendering any hack impotent?

    Personally, I waited a long time for this machine and have never been so disappointed with a CE device. I bought this specific machine for its analogue output, and yet I can't get it to function adequately in my system. I bought it as a previous customer expecting to be able to play all my DVD discs, and I can't, which is something I can easily achieve on a £30 supermarket player. I bought it to support the UK operation which is now deathly silent on all issues and has not responded to my service call or emails.

    If I had a multiregion handset hack I would frankly be quite a bit happier as I would have a great upscaling DVD player in my possession, and feel that I had bought something worthwhile. I know Toshiba cannot be blamed for selling the machine in alignment with DVD Forum rules, but I just think considering all the reported issues with this new technology they really need to start thinking about appeasing some customers if they want to get anywhere at all with this.
     
  2. zeropoint

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    Is it too late to take it back for a refund? It can't play the bulk of your collection. Easier said than done, but I have to say that people shouldn't buy stuff unless it satisfies their requirements. This might send a message to Toshiba that customers want specific features, such as playing existing formats and variants, and aren't prepared to compromise excessively. I think quite a few people are holding back on buying until multiregion is offered, not to mention those who are waiting until a dominant HD format emerges. You have to resist the temptation to join the fray too early, or risk your fingers being singed. Region coding was and is a flawed and ineffective attempt to control consumers purchasing, and most other manufacturers provide unofficial hacks; easily discovered hacks; or assist in others uncovering hacks, so Toshiba can do this too. Maybe they don't want to jeopardize the legitimacy of the new format, but then they may hinder sales as a result. Maybe you could import one from Australia where, I believe, they hold the reasonable view that region restrictions are illegal, so players must be sold multiregion capable?
     
  3. AgentCool

    AgentCool
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    The other night I thought my E1 had somehow become multi-region as, on a whim, I decided to try the 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest' Region 4 DVD. It worked, then I tried another - 'Cars' - and that also worked. However, it turns out that they must also be encoded in Region 2 (though it isn't marked on the packaging or disc) because another R4 disc, 'X-Men: The Last Stand' would not play.

    Though I doubt many - if any - R1 discs will actually have dual/no coding it's worth trying an odd one to find out. I've also found that the R3 'House of Flying Daggers' will also play on the E1.

    Of course, having a few working isn't the same as 100% compatibility so my message to Toshiba is "hurry up and give us our multi-region!"
     
  4. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    The are a reasonable number of R2/R4 discs that work and also many R3 sourced discs that have not been region coded also work. There are quite a number of these but they are basically r0 discs from a r3 country.

    On the issue of multiregion I brought this up in nov / dec about how and if they would do this. There was little interest at the time which surprized me as I thought it would be key. I am not surprized by this and it might be a while before we have a multiregion player I think, think Chinese HD DVD later this year ;)
     
  5. rooster-x

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    We have a multiregion Toshiba SD-220 player, but it was hardware modded. There was someone trying to do this a couple of months ago to an E1, but he hasn't posted lately so I guess they havn't suceeded yet. My oppinion is that it will be a hardware mod rather than a software one.
     
  6. CarlB

    CarlB
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    Yeay I went for the UK machine for the warranty, as I knew it was early tech and likely to have problems. A hardware mod would obviously render that warranty void, so render some of my reasoning for the UK model void too. It's too late for a refund, but I do know someone who'd be interested to buy it for around the price of an imported XA2, which gives me an option to play most of my R1 stuff. The advantage of the XE1 was PAL & NTSC though, so I'd still need to keep my 3800 for the PAL discs I have.

    It just looked like a very neat one box solution for a while...
     
  7. Bogi

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    Well,

    Actually this single lack of feature is what's keeping me from buying the XE1, I also have several friends that won't buy it because of this single omission.

    I recently bought a cheapo Philips 5960 with support for all regions, HDMI, component, DivX support (works with Xvid packed bit streams), upscaling to 720, 1080i, and USB support for external flash memories or HDD, for less than 70£...

    Plays anything I throw at it, except, of course, HD resolution stuff...

    However, I'd happily buy an XE1 if it could be SD region hacked as I have loads of other region DVD disks. But I'm waiting this one out for two things:

    1. region free hack for SD DVDs
    2. 1080p/24 throughput support, which reportedly should be here in June/July

    Until those two issues are solved and checked I'm reluctant to spend that much on a unit I can't use for all my at least legally bought SD DVD's, regardless of region. Something I can do on a cheapo Philips for less than 70£.. albeit, not with the same quality, of course, but content rules, not just looks...

    :D
     
  8. MJeeves

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    The XE1 DOES output at 1080p already.
     
  9. Bogi

    Bogi
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    What I was referring to is taking the HD DVD stream at 1080p/24 and sending it without conversion straight out. I should've used "throughput" instead.

    Cheers :)
     
  10. Jaap74

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    Here's an email I sent to Toshiba in February :

    "Can you also tell me is there likely to be a Firmware update or hack that will allow it to be Multi Region for Standard Definition DVD's ?

    Thanks

    --------------------------------------------------------------------


    Many thanks for your enquiry, in response to your query we don't have any details on that just yet but as time goes on there will be one available

    Kind regards"



    And so far nothing !! Perhaps he was just telling me what what I wanted to hear ?
     
  11. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Even if we get 24p, will it be 'direct' off the decoder or from the reon?
     
  12. malkit

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    The SD 220 you mention has been replaced several times over with newer models. All of Tosh's recent players have been handset hackable .Also due to the very nature of the machine I'd be amazed if it wasn't a firmware update or handset hack.
    I just don't think that Tosh, who need to court some of the DRM obsessed blu ray exclusive studios if they are going to win the "war" can afford to leek a hack at this moment in time.
     
  13. city fan

    city fan
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    Or perhaps when he was saying "there will be one available" he was referring to an update! The update being there will be no hack available :rolleyes:
     
  14. CarlB

    CarlB
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    The hack is only for SD as HD-DVD is already region-free, unlike Blu-Ray. Considering this, I don't see an SD multiregion hack having much bearing on the future direction of the (currently) Blu-Ray exclusive studios.
     
  15. medicmanonet

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    Hi all,

    there is a way to circumvent the SD region coding.

    What you would have to do is copy your R1 disk via a PC and make the copy region free.

    I do not in anyway support / condone / pirating scum. :suicide:

    However if you have already purchased the DVD and are 'backing' it up to protect it from damage, why not make it region free. Personnaly if you already own it .. you own it. Bring back the days of LP's and cassettes Obviously this is a very expensive option if you dont already have a pc with dvd writer. But it is a way to resolve the issue until Toshiba get their act together and give the consumer what they want. A product which is backwards compatible with peoples collections. This issue is surely stopping a lot of people purchasing this affordable step into HD DVD.

    For me I only have about 3 region 1 disks (holidays in USA) so it wont be the end of the world for them not to play. It gives me a reason to purchase some HD disks:D
     
  16. CarlB

    CarlB
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    Yeah, but I don't have hundreds of dual-layer blank DVDs lying around...
     
  17. Barzo

    Barzo
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    Alternatively, Toshiba could see sense and allow a SD handset hack!:D

    This is really annoying, and, though I was very impressed by a demo of the EX1, I will not buy it (or any other dedicated hi-def player) until SD is multiregion. If Tosh are not bothered about DVD, why include DVD upscaling of SD sources? Mad!
     
  18. TrevorS

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    What manufacturer builds and sells region free DVD players? I'm aware of "region free suppliers" that modify equipment to become region free, but not equipment originating that way.

    I wouldn't expect Toshiba to deliver a feature that the DVD Forum doesn't permit!
     
  19. TrevorS

    TrevorS
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    Are you sure the 1080p24 update would deliver native rather than inverse-telecine?
     
  20. Barzo

    Barzo
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    Erm - not quite sure how to put this, but they have been delivering region free DVD players for a number of years (Toshiba), which the DVD Forum did not permit. Now, they are not region free at point of sale, but they can be modified by a handset hack. This is lacking from the HD players, and it is a real shame. It might be back to the bad old days of hardware hacks to disable region coding, as when DVD was in its infancy. Whatever happens, it is not a complete, one box replacement for many potential upgraders who have a multi-region DVD collection, and that seems mad imho, given that the sort of people who will be early adopters of the format are likley to be the very people with a much loved DVD collection.
     
  21. TrevorS

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    I'm aware a number of manufacturers had been doing so in the past, LG, Samsung, Phillips, but understood that practice had been discontinued as of a year or so ago due to potential legal complications. So you say some are still making it available via handset hacks even today, eh? Well, blow me down with a feather. :) (Pretty sure LG doesn't support this anymore.)
     
  22. Barzo

    Barzo
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    The threat, I think, was for players that removed HDCP (e.g. Samsung) from component outputs as well as making players multi-region. This allowed upscaling over component. Lots of DVD players are still sold mult-region.
     
  23. TrevorS

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    THAT sounds very familiar -- I may have been confusing the two issues to some degree. Thanks for straightening me out! :)
     
  24. malkit

    malkit
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    The xe1/e1 WILL NOT require a hardware mod for multi region sd playback.
    I am 99.9999999999% sure of this.:D
    They are basically computers with all the necessary hardware already all they need is the software to allow it!
     
  25. mseabroo

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    Why not, they delivered just these features in their standard DVD models, allowing region coding to be bypassed via the remote control, so why not whith HD-DVD, where the new attraction is not coded in any case

    I'm with several others, ready to buy but wont buy while there is no Mutil Region solution for SD disks
     
  26. malkit

    malkit
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    Apart from in Australia it is actually illegal for electronics company's to sell "out of the box" multiregion players.
    That is why we have to go through the ridiculous charade of the company's leaking (or in Toshiba's case not leaking)handset or firmware hacks through dealers or over the internet.
    The fact that hd dvd is already region free just makes this look even more silly.
     
  27. Barzo

    Barzo
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    Indeed!:devil: Surely Toshiba must realise that this is harming take up on their current models?
     
  28. malkit

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    Maybe, maybe not.
    I just think they are trying desperately hard to "look" serious about drm to currently blu ray exclusive movie studios.Especially after AACS was hacked through the hd dvd platform within a matter of weeks.
    A multiregion hack WILL come sooner or later if this is from Tosh or elswhere who knows.
    I would have thought this could be a goldmine for an independent hacker to modify the Tosh firmware and sell on the web.Having been reading some of the frankly baffling threads on the doom9 forum recently I doubt this would be much of a challenge to some of those guys.
     
  29. CarlB

    CarlB
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    What does DRM copy protection have to do with multiregion capability on SD discs? HD-DVD is already multiregion, so that will have no bearing upon the direction of the Blu-Ray studios.

    If anything, the lack of multiregion SD playback encourages people to hack and copy their R1 SD discs as was mentioned in a recent post.
     
  30. malkit

    malkit
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    It doesn't have anything to do with it directly.
    As I said in my post I believe Tosh are trying to give the impression of being tough on drm matters.I was not claiming this to be fact it is just my opinion of why there is still no hack.
    BTW Region coding is drm.
     

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