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122 posts

Master Geek


# 177829 15-Aug-2015 15:43
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So my 71yo Mum is terrified of having a credit cards, even a prepaid one, but has tastes that run beyond what she can buy over the counter in the shops in the small town she lives in.

So requests of "can you help me find/buy XYZ..." are relatively common.

The latest object of desire was an entire box set of Inspector Morse DVDs. After determining nothing was available on TradeMe, in the spirit of blind optimism I turned to Fishpond and Mightyape. With the predictable result.

[Side note: These retailers' search algorithms are seriously broken. There's probably some corporate edict that forbids searches - any searches - turning up zero results, so they just populate the results with irrelevant crap if the item is not in the database]

Anyway, I looked on Amazon and sure enough, there they were. But the discs would be Zone 1. On the phone, in words designed for a 71yo technophobe to understand, I explained that I'd found a set but they might not play, and I would need her to do a small test.

I then explained that each DVD has on the back a little icon of a world, about half the size of a postage stamp, with a number printed on it, usually "4" - got her to grab a DVD from her stack and confirm she could see it. "It says 'PAL' underneath too, is that right?"

"Excellent! - Now I want you to find another disc, that instead of a 4 has something else, like '2' or '1' - just to see if it plays"

She finds a Zone 2 disc in her collection. Puts it on. It plays. Excellent. Her disc player is multi-region. Got her to repeat with the other disc player. Same result.

I ordered the discs on her behalf. They arrived quickly, and after sorting out the inevitable "The packaging says $96 so why did you ask me to reimburse you $155?" she put the DVDs into her player expectantly.

Bet you can't guess what happened next. Anyone?

Yep - "Wrong Region".

Rinse and repeat with the other DVD player.

Now we have two options. Either find some way to make both her DVD players accept out-of-zone discs, or else the slow and painful DVDshrink operation removing region coding for each of the 24 discs and writing them out to DVD-R

Cue the 90 km trip up the coast... I can feel it coming...

So how are YOU spending YOUR weekend then?

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  # 1366951 15-Aug-2015 15:43
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Hmmmm. Here we go.




I am the Geekzone Robot and I am here to help. I am from the Internet. I do not interact. Do not expect other replies from me.



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  # 1366959 15-Aug-2015 15:53
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And people wonder why my mother is safely 19,000 kms away....





 
 
 
 


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  # 1366961 15-Aug-2015 15:56
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Don't know if it helps much, or even if its possible, but maybe you could send the US dvd's back from whence they came and get a set from the UK Amazon, where they are apparently only 26.10 pounds at the moment.




rb99


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  # 1366963 15-Aug-2015 15:57
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Is 71 really elderly these days? Sure a lot of people that age wouldn't consider themselves or call themselves elderly.

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  # 1367009 15-Aug-2015 16:32
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It's always been common (and a peeve as you found) for makers to include Region 2/4 on the same discs but only market for the area they are sent and label as such as they were both PAL regions.

Much like how they shifted BDs to being B for us and the UK

The only sure fire way, was to check the online DVD catalogues to find what they were stamped with out of the distributor. But these are far and few between now.

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  # 1367010 15-Aug-2015 16:34
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Zone 1 would be NTSC so maybe the model is locked to PAL regions?

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  # 1367018 15-Aug-2015 16:52
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Thinking outside the box....

perhaps buying a really cheap multizone dvd player - I am sure I have seen DVD players starting from as little as $29.

Or maybe torrent the series down (if you can find a copy) and play from a USB drive, and console yourself that you have actually paid for a legitimate copy on DVD so it is sort of legal(ish).

Or Google how to multi-region your players (if possible). It is often just knowing the sequence of keys to press on the remote - depends on model etc.

Lastly just rip the DVD's you already have and play from a USB drive.

Anyway - just food for thought.

 
 
 
 




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Master Geek


  # 1367020 15-Aug-2015 16:56
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Nice ideas all. My Mum has some portable clamshell-device - Philips I think- that she plays DVDs on.

I have MakeMKV and Handbrake and while this is my usual approach to DVDs at home, it leaves her with a file she can't play on her comfortable familiar device, cue more tech support.

The easiest solution is to get the discs playable on the machine she's comfortable and familiar with - trust me!

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  # 1367026 15-Aug-2015 17:06
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The best way is to explain it in the same archaic language that the recording industry uses:

If you watch videos from a region other than where you reside, you are a smuggler.

If you watch videos where you have a video player that is not enforcing DRM then you are a criminal.

If you change the format of the media then you are a pirate.

Then she will completely understand....


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  # 1367073 15-Aug-2015 18:14
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Ripping the complete Morse from DVD to mp4 with handbrake takes a long long time...

(only Time Life DVD product I ever bought)



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Master Geek


  # 1367106 15-Aug-2015 18:49
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Yeah it'll be DVDshrink at the disc level for each disc, 24 in total I think from memory, that way she's left with physical DVDs that she knows what to do with, rather than computer files that will confound her and she'll end up not watching. Bonus with DVDshrink I'll be able to remove the unskippable and partonizingly long copyright warning too.

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  # 1367118 15-Aug-2015 19:25
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Have you tried Google to see if the device has a multizone mod available?

Remember multizone players are illegal in many countries with NZ being an exception (they will however be illegal again assuming TPPA passes).



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  # 1367233 15-Aug-2015 23:32
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mattwnz: Is 71 really elderly these days? Sure a lot of people that age wouldn't consider themselves or call themselves elderly.


Of course, they may well be confused and thus not to be relied upon in their assessment!





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  # 1367237 15-Aug-2015 23:43
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1. dvdshrink

2. what is the exact model of said dvd player? does she still have the remote controller?




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


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  # 1367244 16-Aug-2015 00:16
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sbiddle: Have you tried Google to see if the device has a multizone mod available?

Remember multizone players are illegal in many countries with NZ being an exception (they will however be illegal again assuming TPPA passes).




Here's hoping it doesn't pass, it just creates monopolies of markets.

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