DVD Regions, External Drives and Front Row

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Pundle, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Pundle macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    Hi everyone,
    I'm not sure if this is the right forum to ask, so please feel free to direct me elsewhere.

    I've done a fair bit of looking through forums and although the general topic comes up all the time my question has not really been satisfactorily answered.

    I know that there is no way to make the drives in Macs (in particular MacBooks) region free. Having DVDs from multiple regions and living in Australia where region-locked players violate our Trade Practices Act, this upsets me.

    A possible way around this is for my Mac to use an external DVD drive that can be region-unlocked. However this prompts the question of whether the region change count is only on the firmware of the drive, or is it in the actual software?

    Now most posters recommend using VLC media player as it supposedly ignores regions. However, I really like Front Row and I really want to play my DVDs through that, rather than VLC.

    So my question is:
    Can Front Row play several regions of DVDs through an unlocked external DVD drive in much the same way as it would work with the internal DVD drive?

    I am willing to try some minor hacks to initially get things working, but in the end I just want to insert whatever DVD I want into a DVD drive and watch it effortlessly in Front Row.

    Thanks for reading :)
  2. davwin macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2008
    As far as I know Front Row simply launches the Apple DVD Player app to play discs and yes, that will support setting independant regions on different drives. So, you can set the internal drive to Region A and the external drive to Region B or whatever. This is via software though - Meaning that you would have the same "5 region changes" Apple allows on the new drive just like the standard drive has. This would be perfectly acceptable if you only need 2 regions but, if you need to support a 3rd region then this will not fix the problem.

    As you already mentioned (and was recommended to you) the VLC software will play most DVD's without problems and will ignore region specification so it removes the problem altogether; which is probably you're best overall solution. As you specified though: you'd rather use FR so thats o.k. and will still work assuming you only need to support 2 regions.
  3. Pundle thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    Thanks! I already have a DVD drive kicking around from my old PC, I've just been deciding whether to get an enclosure for it. I only have DVDs from 2 regions so it will probably suit me.
  4. davwin macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2008
    Glad to hear it - I went a similiar route with an internal BD/DVD drive that I use for other region playback and to play BD's of course. I mounted it in an external enclosure and have been using it via USB with no issues. Most playback in my case is through Plex though :)
  5. TheZA macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    Another possible solution

    Another possible solution is to simply get an external hard drive onto which you can rip the DVDs, and then use DVDPlayer to play the ripped file. You can insert any region of DVD into your drive as long as it isn't set so that DVD Player automatically launches when you insert a DVD. You can change that in preferences. Then you can rip it using Mac The Ripper or RipIt preserving all the functionality of the original DVD. You can watch the ripped video_ts file with DVD Player, VLC, etc., and later, if you wanted and with the use of a couple of additional software tools, you could burn a new, region-free disk.

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