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I have recently purchased a Hitachi DV-P505E DVD player (which has now been converted to multi-region replay) and a Toshiba 32W8DB television. I have them connected via a SCART lead. I have the television input as AV, however Toshiba recommended S-Video instead, but when I tried this I didn't think the picture was as good. Can you please tell me the best configuration? Also I am thinking of going down the Dolby Digital route, can you please recommend an amplifier and speaker set (I believe that my player has a decoder)
Rob Brown, via email


That's odd! The only explanation I have is that you are already using the best possible connection method, namely RGB, which the TV and DVD player may have been set to, without you realising. If so then you may well notice a small reduction in picture quality when using an S-Video feed since an RGB connection will normally give the cleanest, sharpest colours and the lowest noise levels. However, if the DVD to TV connection is by composite video I am surprised that you think S-Video is inferior, usually the picture is a gnats crisper, especially in areas of fine detail, which often suffers from the characteristic 'herringbone' pattern effect.


The fact that your DVD player has built-in Dolby Digital and dts decoders is much less of an advantage these days. The cost of the processing microchips has fallen dramatically in the past year or two and it adds little to the price of an AV amplifier. In fact there are advantages in not using your player's built-in decoders, the most obvious one being simplified connections. To connect the DVD player's on-board decoder to an AV amp requires six phono-to-phono cables, compared with just one 'coaxial' or 'optical' bitstream cable when using the decoders in an AV amplifier. I'm afraid I can't make any recommendations, not knowing how much you have to spend, room size, speaker preferences, sonic sensibilities, proximity of neighbours etc., but I can tell you that prices for half decent models start at around 250



In issue 24, you commented on a letter from Nick Bolton regarding the new RCE coding, and the lack of information on websites relating to this nasty
trend. Well, whilst looking for a copy of Charlie's Angels I turned to
www.play247.com a site that not only supplies Region 1 & 2 discs, it also
gives all prices in sterling and free delivery in Europe. But, and a big but, in bold letters, the first thing I read when trying to order the disc was a warning about RCE and how this disc was unlikely to play in multi-region players, thus stopping me from wasting my money and making me wait until the UK release.
Ross Jackson, via email


Thanks for that tip, and thanks too to a couple of other readers who suggested this site. I see that Play247 is based in Jersey, which explains why they are so UK friendly, and probably the reason they can get away with selling R1 titles. The prices seem fair, as you say shipping to the UK is free and being so close they should deliver quite quickly. The site also has a list of forthcoming releases, which R1 fans will find useful. I would be interested to know how they rate for service, if anyone has used them please let us know.



Can you help?  I recently bought a Cyberhome AD-N212 budget DVD player following glowing recommendations in a couple of magazines. The trouble is whenever the machine has been on for any length of time (usually about an hour and a half) it starts playing up - the action starts jumping or else it keeps going over the same 3 seconds of a scene or it gets stuck.  I am assuming that it may be something to do with when the machine gets warm as it is perfect for three quarters of an average film.  Is there anything I can do to remedy the situation or is mine a faulty player that will have to go back?  It is becoming a real pain now, having to watch a film in two shifts (allowing for the machine to be turned off for a period in between). It is not particularly close to the fire, nor is there anything on top of it as it has it's own shelf inside my TV cabinet.
George Simpson, via email


It almost certainly is a thermal problem. Normally DVD players (and most other AV devices work quite happily in a range of temperatures between 0 and 40 degrees centigrade. The first thing to do is check to make sure there's plenty of room around your player for cooling air to circulate and that the ventilation grilles are not obstructed. If the TV cabinet is a fully enclosed type you should think about making some holes in the back. I'm a touch concerned about your comment that it's not 'particularly close to the fire' It shouldn't be anywhere near a source of heat! It might be a good idea to put a thermometer inside the enclosure and take a reading when the machine goes loopy; if it gets anywhere near 40 degrees then you almost certainly have a cooling problem. If on the other hand the ambient temperature is well below 40 when it crashes then it's a job for an engineer and it'll have to go back to the dealer. Thermal problems are usually quite easy to track down (it requires nothing more complicated than a hot air blower usually a hair-dryer --- and a can of 'freezer' aerosol), but how easy or difficult it is to fix will depend on which component is causing the problem. 


I bought a Sharp DV-880W player (Region Free) in Hong Kong a couple of years ago and up to now it has been fantastic. Unfortunately, it has now decided that it wants to be a bit more choosey about what films it feels are
suitable and throws them back out if it doesn't want to watch it. I have
tried everything but it will play a disk one day but not the next and it
doesn't matter what region it is! I contacted Sharp UK but they were about as much help as a chocolate teapot and I am desperate to watch some of the new films that I have bought. Can you advise me of a good repairer or of someone I can contact.
Colin Peters, Essex

To be fair to Sharp UK your DVD player is not its responsibility, we're talking about a non-UK spec machine which you purchased abroad and any highly tenuous warranty claims you might have once had have long since expired. However, I do not think there's anything necessarily wrong with the machine, I can think of two possible causes for this kind of erratic behaviour; either dirty or scratched discs, or dirt or dust on the laser pickup. Check the playing surface of your discs and if necessary give them a clean and treat your player to a run-through with a good quality audio CD cleaner disc. If after a thorough wash and brush up it's still acting up then your best bet for getting it fixed is a Sharp approved service centre as they will be best placed to order any special parts. You can find out where the nearest one to you is by calling the Sharp Information line on: 0800 262958


All hail Jim Ramsay! Congratulations are thoroughly deserved for his Samsung 709/511 multi-region codes via the supplied remote, which you printed in issue 23 (well you did ask for feedback and here it is).  I have tested Platoon on R1 and it worked beautifully, sound, clarity etc., and for some strange reason perhaps the fastest "loading" disc I have ever experienced.  My only qualm was (as with chipped Pioneer 515's apparently) was a tangible blue line in the top-left hand corner of my 28" widescreen T.V (any ideas?). Nevertheless, thank you for saving me 50, which it would have cost to have chipped the machine. If it is of any use to anybody out there I use my 709 with a Yamaha AV-S70 and if you are looking for a neat system that packs a punch I thoroughly recommend it.
Chris Balmer, Bury

I'd just like to say a big thank you to Jim Ramsay who wrote in with details of how to hack the Samsung 709 and 511 using the standard Samsung remote control. I have the 709 and was greatly pleased when the hack did indeed work. This means I can finally get the big movies months before they come out over here.

Thomas Newey, via email


Just a couple of the very appreciative letters we received on this matter, so we can safely assume this hack works. Several readers wrote in asking us to repeat it, happy to oblige. With the disc tray empty reboot the player by holding down Play and Stop for 3 seconds, on the remote press Repeat, 3, 8, 7, 6, 7, the number 2 appears o the screen, press 1 for R1 (or 9 for auto select). Press Open/Close on the machine, press Standby on the remote, and it's done.



I've just got my hands on a copy of X-Men (Region 2). I'm having a lot of problems with it on my Philips DVD-701. It will not go into play mode just stops at chapter 42 and will not enter the deleted scenes into the movie as told in DVD menu, in fact the only way to get the disc to work is by starting at scene one in the menu. I've also got a DVD on my PC and it works great. Is this movie another Gladiator/Toy Story Friday night job or have I just spent 200 quid on a crap DVD player?

Tim D, via email


I have a Wharfedale 750 DVD and I am experiencing some problems when trying to access the Art Gallery in the X-Men Special features section.  When I click on either Character Design, Production Design or Wolverine's Dog Tags, I get the instructions on how to skip between stills, and nothing happens. The DVD seems to just freeze. Is there anything that I can do to rectify this problem or is it another in-compatibility problem with the Wharfedale player.

Simon O'Neil, via email


Normally I'm a bit wary when I see two or more complaints about the same movie within a short space of time, especially when they concern the same player, (though that is obviously not a factor in these cases). I have searched high and low and by all accounts X-Men is okay. According to all the usual informed sources both the R1 and R2 pressings have a reasonably clean bill of health and all the few glitch reports I have seen tend to confirm my suspicions that there are probably a few iffy discs out there to be expected in such a large production run -- but no more than usual and the problems are not player-specific, unless any other readers write in to tell me different of course. The cure? Take them back and have them exchanged.



My Lecson player will not play the third disc in the Ultimate Toy Story box set. I have phoned both the Debenhams helpline and my local Debenhams store to find out when Lecson will be sending out an upgrade. My local store didn't really have a clue what was happening. The general Debenhams helpline had more idea and said they would phone me when Lecson confirmed their plans. This was nearly two weeks ago and I haven't heard any more. Do you have any more info, or any other readers who have similar queries?

Keith Tutt, Southampton

Buena Vista has admitted that there is a problem with disc 3 on some makes of DVD and it says that is working on a solution though it still maintains that hardware manufacturers are also to blame. In other words its the same old story and buying a DVD can still be a hit and miss affair. The company has set up a helpline on  08000 150 601 and you can email them at bvhe.consumer.services@disney.com, presumably they will call you back when they've figured it out




I have just recently bought a JVC XV-523GD DVD player. I had thought (and been told) that the machine I was buying was a multi-region machine.
However, I have now discovered that in fact it is only region 2. Do you know
of any region hacks for this machine to enable it to play region 1 DVDs?
Dave Moyes, via email


Could you tell me if there are any region hacks for the Toshiba SD100E? I really want to start buying some region 1 and 3 DVD's but can't and am hoping you can save me the money of going and having it chipped. 

Rudey Gnu, via email


I have just bought a Panasonic DVD player the SC-HT80 and I was wondering if there are any software codes to unlock it to play discs from any region?

Martin Hickman


No, no and no, sorry. These machines are all R2 only models and can only be unlocked by 'chipping', which will almost certainly invalidate the manufacturer's warranty, but it's not all bad news:


I have recently purchased a DVD player a Tatung TDV 2000 could you
please let me know of any codes so I can play other region disk
Albert Moore, via e-mail


Yes, switch on, open disc tray, press 0, 3, 9, 1 enter, select country, press 9, 2, 1, 0, enter and press Setup.


Could you possibly tell me if there is a multi-region hack code
for the Oritron 600?
Darren Mundy, via email


Another yes all you have to do is press Menu, 1, 6, 7 and exit the menu



I've recently purchased a Lecson DVD 900 and was wondering if you could
tell me the region hack code for this particular model.

R Rake, via email


And yes again: open the disc tray, press 1, 1, 1, 1 followed by your chosen Region number, press Open/Close. For region-free playback press  Open/close, zoom, AB, up, left, down, right Open/Close.




R. Maybury 2001, 0204




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