WHAT DVD 2001

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DR DVD – MAY

 

WIDE OF THE MARK

I have a 28-inch Toshiba widescreen TV and a Sony DVD player, which provide an excellent picture. However, I have measured the display ratios of the image and although the numerous anamorphic discs I have state the aspect ratio to be 2.35:1, I have measured this and it is exactly 2.15:1. This is noticeable sometimes when action is at the sides of the screen. I have explored all the menus on the TV and cannot correct this.
Matt Dunbar


A

So precise, I'd hate to be a pub landlord around your way… But seriously, many factors determine the aspect ratio of a movie when it is shown on DVD, starting with the original print and the company or facilities house that carries out the transfer to DVD. They can change the shape and picture area of movie at will, and sometimes they forget to tell the packaging company. However, a more likely explanation is that your TV's height and width settings are slightly off-bonk, or at the limits of the factory tolerances. If you think that the image is being overscanned – i.e. the edges of the picture are disappearing off the side of the screen, then it's worth having it checked.

 

BLOCKED SYNC

I bought a Grundig GDV 211 DVD player in January and have noticed that on some of my DVDs the actors voice is ahead of their lip movement in other words it is like watching a badly dubbed film or a spaghetti western (No offence to Clint Eastwood or his fans). As a new user of the DVD phenomenon I am hoping that you might be able to help me with this puzzling issue, as it is so frustrating and not knowing what the problem is?

Lisa Mckane

 

A

It shouldn't happen but then again a lot of things about DVD shouldn't happen, but they do. Lip synch problems used to be quite common and one brand in particular, Pioneer, appeared to suffer more than most, though it turned out that it was mostly to do with the discs, rather than the players. It seems to be happening less these days and I am not aware of any sync problems with Grundig machines (we usually hear about dodgy players very quickly) moreover the fact that it only happens on some discs leads me to suppose that it is a software issue once again. Unfortunately it's one of those problems that only seem to get worse once you've noticed it and affected discs sometimes play perfectly well on other makes of player. The only thing I can suggest is take the discs back and complain in the hope that that pressings from another batch are okay.

 

 

CODE OF PRACTICE

I was worried to read the letter in issue 22 about RCE (Regional Code enhancement). I have a Sony DVP-S325 it is also a multi-region player. Is it possible to get it converted to a Region 1 only player, and if so, how, bearing in mind I have had the player for a year? If I did convert, would it be absolutely certain that the discs would play? If the worst comes to the worst, I may get an American DVD player, would it play on the TVs over here and would I need a special plug? One final question, are the American companies who we buy these discs off on the internet going to warn us if the discs we are going to purchase is RCE coded or not?
N. Bolton

 

A

It may be possible to convert your player to Region 1 only playback – this is something you will have to discuss with the company that sold it to you or carried out the conversion  -- but then how would you watch your R2 discs? Whether or not the machine would then play RCE encoded discs is open to question, in theory it should since RCE coding only affects players with automatic region selection, or set to All-Region playback, but it's not something I could say for certain. The simplest solution is to get a UK player than can be switched to a particular region. Importing a US player is a very bad idea unless you can ensure that it has a universal power supply (very few models have) or you can get hold of a 240 to 110 volt AC step-down transformer, and you are certain that your TV is capable of replaying raw NTSC video. On the question of buying over the Internet, the companies have no obligation to flag up RCE coding on the discs they sell, but hopefully some will as it would be useful service for their European customers. 

 

PLAYSTATION TWEAK

Is there a code, which enables you to play region 1 DVD's on a region 2 Playstation 2?

Ben & Lisa

A

There has been much discussion on this topic and the simple answer seems to be maybe, possibly…The thing is there are several versions of PS2 firmware doing the rounds, some early ones of Japanese 'grey' imports can be readily 'hacked', others cannot, and even within a particular version there seems to variations. Anyhow, here's the two most common cracks. Try this: plug in a first generation Playstation control pad (one without analogue joysticks) and press 'Up' as the disc is inserted. Or, load a DVD and at the intro screen select the CD icon then press and hold 'square' then 'circle', keep them pressed and a DVD menu should appear, then select the Play of Movie Star icons. If they don't work I can only suggest that you get a proper DVD player, which you should do in any case since it is not something I think the PS2 does very well.

 

 

POP THE QUESTION

I have a Lecson DVD player connected directly to a Philips widescreen
television, which powers two 8-ohm speakers. On many DVD's -- some more pronounced than others -- I suffer from clicks and pops, such as you may experience via a vinyl LP. These are not heard on normal TV transmissions. The DVD player is in close proximity to a video and an ONDigital receiver.
Is this normal or do I have a problem?
Nick Green

 

A

Well, obviously it's not normal or DVD wouldn't have got off the ground if the soundtracks continually popped and clicked, in fact one of the great strengths of DVD is that sound quality is (usually) excellent. Proximity to other devices is a slim possibility so move them apart and see if that makes any difference, and while you are at it, try it with the VCR and ONDigital box unplugged. I doubt that it will do much good, though, so you are going to have to do a bit of old fashioned detective work to find out where the noises are coming from. Samples of the Lecson player I've tried sounded okay, but you can find out if that's the source with a simple process of elimination by plugging the audio output into your hi-fi system and see if that makes a difference. If the pops and clicks are still there it's the player and you should have it seen to, if it's the TV then have that looked at.

 

 

VISION IMPOSSIBLE

I have recently been given a Sony DVP-S325 player and I am experiencing

a few problems and was wondering if you could advise? My son who has upgraded to an all-region player gave the machine to me. I set the machine up quickly as I had no instruction book to my television. However it wasn't tuned in properly but it did start to play DVDs. Mission Impossible 2 picture was good and so was sound. When I tried later to watch it wouldn't work. So it was then put through my VCR and turned to AV and it worked! However the picture had what I thought was interference and it went black with five little white boxes across the screen and this happened quite a lot through the film. Also while watching the Green Mile picture kept going from brightness to darkness through the film! Can you advise me the correct way to set up the DVD player. Is it through the Television or the VCR?

 

I have been watching DVD's bought from the likes of Virgin etc! Is it possible to change so that it will accept all regions with out having to have the machine chipped as I don't know of anyone in Northern Ireland who does this and it would mean having to send it over to England to have it done?

Tom Millar, Glengormley
 

A

The flaky picture and wonky brightness is the work of the DVD player's Macrovision circuitry. It's there to stop you or anyone else making high quality copies of DVDs on your VCR. Macrovision is part of the DVD specification and it messes around with bits of the video signal, not enough to upset a TV, but enough to give a VCR a dose of electronic heebie-jeebies. The solution is not to route your DVD player through a VCR but connect it directly to the TV's AV input.

 

The Sony DVP-S325 has an uncrackable regional coding system and the only way to enable all or any region playback is to have it modified or 'chipped'. If you can't find anyone who does it locally, you know someone who is handy with a soldering iron, and you don't mind accepting the risk then DIY kits are available from the likes of Techtronics (see www.techtronics.com). 

 

VIDEO VIRGIN

I need your advice on the purchase of my first DVD player. My main requirement is good picture quality (the best if possible), I'm not that interested in having surround sound as it is not practical in my home environment to fit all the necessary speakers. My TV is a Metz Artos, which has RGB via SCART. My local hi fi store recommended the Pioneer DVD 535 would this be a good choice?
J. Truelove, Essex

 

A

I must admit I'm not overly familiar with Metz TVs but what little I have discovered about the Artos points to it being a very decent 16:9 set, and capable of partnering a good DVD player. The trouble is I don't know how much you want to spend and what features are important to you. Surround sound is not an issue since all DVD players have digital and analogue outputs that can be connected directly to surround sound decoders. Mid-range and top-end players with built-in Dolby Digital and dts decoders can command a small premium but in my opinion the best place for surround sound is in the amplifier (or TV) as it gives you more freedom to choose and they are easier to connect, but I digress. The Pioneer 535 is a good machine but only you can decide if it's the right one for you; I would see what a few more dealers have to offer in terms of advice and equipment, before you make up your mind.

 

SOUNDS BETTER?

I have recently purchased a Panasonic widescreen TV and RV60 DVD player. The sound and picture quality are superb but I was thinking about possibly buying some accessories to make the sound performance even better. I am a newcomer to this sort of thing so I wondered if you could give me some guidance about possible purchases,

Andrew Tretton

 

A

The next rung on the sound quality ladder is digital surround sound and for that you need an amplifier/decoder and a set of speakers arranged around the viewing position. Depending on your budget you could get a complete package system – prices start at around £300 but think in terms of £500 to do the job properly -- or a component setup, where you choose the amp and speakers, and the sky's the limit. In both cases make sure your chosen system includes a meaty 'sub-woofer' speaker, to handle the big bass sounds, especially if you enjoy action blockbuster movies. Have a look at the Buyer's Guide sections in our sister magazine Home Entertainment for more detailed advice and recommendations.

 

CODE CORNER

Is there a code available to make the Toshiba 2109 region free or does it
needs to be chipped? Also the sound keeps going off and I get an annoying buzzing sound while watching films, is this a common problem with this machine if so is there any way to rectify the problem?  
P. Kooner

 

A

Chipping only on this model, I'm afraid. I don't like the sound of the buzzing noise and it doesn't seem to be an inherent problem with that model. Determine if it's the player or the sound system by hooking it up to another amp and have the errant device attended to.

 

Q

Could you tell me if any region Hack codes exist for the Sony DVP-S536?
I am fairly new to DVD and don't want my warranty invalidated by having the internals butchered.
The Cableguy

 

And

 

I have the Sony DVP 5325 Region 2 and would like to know if there are any hacks for it so I can play Region 1 DVD's or do I have to get it chipped?

Mark Witherspoon

 

A

Sorry both, it's a chip job or nothing on these players.

 

Q

Do you know of any region hacks for the Phillips 751?

Howard John

 

The new 750 hack, which is supposedly good for most Philips players should work and I have it on good authority that the best way to do it is with a OneForAll 4 or 6 universal remote handset. Use setup code 0539 on the handset then press the Magic button. Key in 0, 8, 5 and the front panel should show a row of dashes. Using the DVD remote key in the following: 222 222 005 255 then press Play and the front panel should now show 'No Disc'. Switch the player off, wait ten seconds then switch it back on again.

 

Q

Is there a remote control hack for the Aiwa XD-DV170? 
Doug Morgan

 

Not that I'm aware of. There is one for its stablemate, the DV370, which might have the same firmware, but I haven't tried it. For the record you switch the player on, with no disc loaded, press Pause/Step then 3, 1, 4, 5, 9, the word 'Code' appears in the display, enter the required region number then Pause/Step, switch off then back on. 

 

 

 

---end---

 

Ó R. Maybury 2001, 0603

 

 

 


 

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