Please Read this thread at least once
Patching your drive with a region free firmware is only half the trick to be completely region free.
For there exists other region counters WITHIN the software (OS, players...) that need to be bypassed.
There are actually up to 3 region protections on a system:
- 1 in the DVD drive
- 1 in the Operating System (windows) - More info on Windows region management.
- 1 in the software player (eg. WinDVD, PowerDVD...)
When you flash your drive with a region free firmware (RPC-1), you remove the region counter from the drive itself completely, but with this counter gone, the software counters kick in to replace the one from the DVD drive. This means that you still have these other 2 to defeat!!!.
An alternate region free solution that is available for some drives is known as an "Autoreset" firmware: Instead of removing the counter from the drive completely, the counter simply resets itself to an unlocked state when the computer is restarted. This way, the drive appears as region protected (RPC-2) but the counter can be changed indefinitely. Creating autoreset patches is slightly more difficult for the patcher, but makes the life of the user easier because DVD Genie and Region Killer are not required as they are for RPC-1 firmwares.
On the other hand, it's easy for software manufacturers to detect autoreset firmwares, and if they decide to do so, you will still need a software patch in the long run. This is why RPC-1 firmwares are seen by most as the long term solution.
So, unless a program like DISCInfo or Drive Region Info (see the Utilities section on the Homepage) tells you that your drive is still protected or you used an autoreset firmware, your drive IS region free, and any region counters that you still see come from software region settings.
To bypass that, you need to use programs such as AnyDVD, DVD Genie, DVD Region Free+CSS or DVD Region Killer. You can also use VideoLAN to playback DVD's since it does not enforce region protection.
author - Nil (updated December 2006)