DR DVD SEPTEMBER
AILMENT OF THE MONTH
could clear up my confusion over the special edition of Seven, which your
review states has a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as does the outer
packaging. However, the supplemental booklet states that the film
features both Dolby Digital EX 5.1 and dts ES Discreet 6.1.
In your review you say that, on Disc 2, there are a couple of extra sound
options allowing the viewer to listen to how the titles sound in the above mentioned
audio formats. But -- and here's the rub -- 'you will need a top flight
home cinema system to get any benefit...'.
Why then does my AV set up, a Technics SA-DX 940 Receiver and Panasonic RV20
DVD both of which is dts compatible (but couldn't be described as 'top flight')
happily play the disc in dts audio and manage to sound so much better than the
DD 5.1 soundtrack.
Even more confusing is that the Panasonic's GUI display is telling me that the
DTS audio is not in surround at all but in 2-channel. Can someone please
tell me what is going on?
Nick Green, via
The short answer is that everyone is right, sort of,
and dts Discreet 6.1 is backwards compatible with regular dts decoders. The
long answer is dts Discreet 6.1 is a shiny new audio format and no one is
really sure if it will take off or not and confusion reigns. The basic
difference between standard dts and dts Discrete 6.1 is that there's a sixth
separate centre-rear channel encoded into the digital datastream. A signal or
'flag' tells suitably equipped decoders to extract the sixth channel, normal
5.1 channels decoders simply ignore it.
Now this is not to be confused with dts ES
soundtracks (and the similarly structured Dolby Digital EX), which also has a
sixth centre rear channel, but this is 'matrixed' or embedded in the right and
left rear channels and therefore not separate or 'discrete'.
My fiancé bought a Hitachi 505E for me last Christmas. I have had it set
up to work with
my portable TV via a SCART lead. The problem I have been having is that
whilst a DVD is playing a TV channel icon appears briefly and the sound cuts
out for a moment. This happened every 10 to 15mins. Anyway, I asked
around for advice and even contacted the Hitachi help line. All they could
suggest was the obvious. It was either the DVD SCART socket, the TV SCART
socket or the lead itself. I finally returned to the shop from which it was
bought and they tested it out; it didn't do what I'd said, but turned the TV
screen green. They of course replaced it with another, which was a display
model as apparently Hitachi has discontinued the model. The one I have now
seemed at first to have the problem, but it looks as though it may have
stopped. Can you tell me if this is a common problem in this model or if
anyone else has reported something similar?
Chris Wears, via email
In my experience faults rarely get better or go away,
and the fact that you couldn't reproduce the fault condition when you took the
player back to the shop suggests to me you may be looking in the wrong place. I
think it is far more likely that it has something to do with the TV's front end
(i.e. tuner, input selector etc.), rather than the DVD player. The only way to
see if that is so it so connect your player up to another TV, using the same
lead, and see if anything similar happens. I suspect it won't. Faulty AV/TV
switching is a possibility but the most likely cause is channel breakthrough
and this is quite common on portable TVs, especially in strong signal areas.
Portables tend to have very sensitive tuners and ghost images of TV channels
can appear in the background of the AV channel. If you are using it with an
outside aerial try disconnecting it when using it with the DVD player,
otherwise I fear there's not much you can do about it, apart from moving house,
or buying a new TV.
THE STORY OF 0
'Adventures in the 0-Zone', issue 27, made
reference to NTSC format discs. My system
consists of a Samsung DVD with a JVC TV but it will not play NTSC format DVDs,
which most 0-Zone discs are. Mine are all music titles, from Decca or DG. Is it
possible to adjust my system to play these discs (which all play through my
computer) or do I need to modify my system? If this is a common problem, should not ads
and reviews advise of the NTSC condition, and alert the reader to possible
problems, before purchase?
Peter Bradshaw, via email
Your player almost certainly will replay NTSC format
discs, but it doesn't convert the video output to PAL, so, if as I suspect,
your JVC cannot display an NTSC signal, all you get is an unwatchable mush. If
that is the case there is no easy answer, other than to get a more up to date
TV, which can accept an NTSC input. I agree that disc labels, packaging and
reviews can be more informative but there's already so much to contend with,
including warnings and notices about region codes and RCE coding, copyright,
soundtrack and subtitle languages, aspect ratio, surround sound system, age
rating… where's it all going to stop?
BAND OF HOPE
After buying my DVD playerr I then started thinking
about replacing my old VHS classic films for newly restored DVD versions. One
day I was watching the documentary footage
on Rear Window (Zone 1) DVD and I became puzzled
after seeing a divided screen comparing the 'before and after restoration'
images. The "after" had exactly the same aspect ratio of the pan
& scan version. The widescreen was in fact two black bands placed over the
pan & scan version. Still puzzled I put two versions of Vertigo (VHS and
DVD) running together. In that case, there was a real gain of screen space over
my old P & S version (a real widescreen indeed). Psycho was a real disappointment.
The two versions running together showed again a fake widescreen effect: two
black bands placed over the same P&S image I had on my old VHS tape. Now...
am I wrong or have we've been cheated? Will we ever have this "widescreen
Paulo Leite, Lisbon, Portugal.
I don't think anyone is being deliberately cheated,
but I can see how confusing the situation has become. The problem centres on
the many and various aspect ratios used by the movie industry over the years,
the availability of original prints of sufficient quality for transferring to
DVD and the general move towards widescreen TVs. Facilities companies carrying
out the film to DVD transfers have to manage a difficult balancing act, trying
to fit as much of the movie into the 16:9 TV shape as possible but without
compromising replay on a 4:3 screen. That's assuming they have the original
prints to work with, quite often they don't and have to make do with older pan
and scan transfers, produced for a 4:3 display on VHS tape or laserdisc. It is
possible to get two versions of a movie on one disc but this obviously adds to
the cost of what is now a very price sensitive product. Compromises are always
going to have to be made when transferring movies to video, most of the time they
get it more or less right; occasionally they get it horribly wrong. I don't
know what the answer is but I would welcome any opinions on the matter.
THE BIG FREEZE
I recently purchased a Whigfield VCD from Singapore
(no jokes please, I get enough off my other half). When I play it, about every
5 seconds it stops, the picture freezes and the sound stops. This lasts for
about a second then it returns to the same place. Have I bought a duff disc or
am I missing something?
Lawrence Pont, via email
VCD playback can be quite flaky, in any case it is
not part of the DVD spec and some manufacturers are starting to leave it off.
In fact it's only there for the benefit of the Asian market, where the VCD was
quite successful in the 1990s. A great many VCDs sold in the Far East are
pirate copies or cheaply produced and if I had to point the finger of blame it
would be towards the disc, rather than the player.
Please can you
advise me on the following problem that I have encountered with my Bush DVD
player? I have a Region 1 disc, but it only plays black and white. Are
there any codes to play it in colour or do I need a new TV?
Sharon Murie, via email
Whilst your DVD
deck happily plays R1discs it is almost certainly outputting an NTSC video
signal. Unless your TV can display 'raw' NTSC signals, you either get a mess,
or, as in your case a black and white picture (it appears that your TV can
display partially converted PAL-60 signals). Unfortunately there's nothing you
can do about it, apart from buy a new TV. (That's three this week, I must be on
I have an Alba DVD-103 player and it says on
the box it has multi - region capacity. Does this give me the freedom to order
and play Region 1 DVD's or do I need a Region code to allow this?
Alan Douglas, via email
Samples of the
DVD-103 I've seen were indeed set for multi-region replay, so it will in theory
play Region 1 discs, however you will probably find that discs encoded with RCE
(Region Code Enhancement) data won't play. RCE coding is designed to stop
R1disc playing on multi-region decks, so double check labels and adverts. One
way to defeat RCE is to set the player to Region 1 only playback, however I've
yet to find a handset hack for this machine, if anyone knows of one please let
CRACK CODE CORNER
SAMSUNG DVD 511 & 709
I purchased the Samsung DVD 709 two years ago. At
the time of purchase a friend of mine informed me that there was a way of
making the player playing Region 1 discs. However, I am not sure that such a
method applies to this player. Can you let me know if there is a way of doing
this? If so, will it pose any problems with the machine?
Lee Madeloso, via email
It can be done but as is customary on these
occasions I have to say that we make no claims for these procedures, you try
them entirely at your own risk and if your player blows up or attacks the cat,
it's not our fault!
Step one is to 'cold start' the player, (system
reset), which you do by switching it on then press and hold the Play and Stop
buttons. The language selection menu appears, choose English then press the
Repeat button on the handset. If your player is a R2 model press the following
code: 3, 8, 7, 6, 7, and your current region code setting should appear on the
screen, now press the region number you want to change it to (i.e. 1 to 6 or 9
for all-region playback). To finish off press Open then Standby on the remote
and it is done. To get it back again,
assuming you have changed to Region 1, you have follow the same steps but this
time substitute the code 29334. Incidentally, if you change to regions 3, 4, 5,
or 6 the codes you need to return it to its original R2 setting are: R3 =
56732, R4 = 76884, R5 = 53814 and R6 = 24462
Unable to play region 1 DVDs on the above
machine, I have tried the hack code
for Matsui 110 but this does not work. Knowing that you are a man of many
talents I know you can help me in my hour of great need. I have loads and loads
of region one DVDs, however unable to watch them, help me!
Tony Richards, via email
I have recently
bought a Matsui 120 DVD player thinking it was a multi region model. It
aint! Do you know the code or is it Region 2 only?
Jonathan Else, via email
This model is
hackable, all you have to do is press and hold the Open/Close and Skip Forward
(and possibly Stop) buttons on the handset for ten seconds, a service menu
appears and you can make your change.
I am writing to
see if you can help me as I have seen your replies in What DVD and you are my
last hope. I have got a Goodmans GDVD124 and wish to know if there is a code so
that I can watch other region DVD's.
Karen McAughey, via email
flatterers in a row eh… Well, it works, you've caught me in a good mood, and I cannot
possibly ignore a damsel in distress. I trust the following will be of use:
open the disc tray and press 7, 7 on the remote, if nothing happens try 7, 4
instead. All being well a service menu appears and you can change the region
number, (1 to 6 or 13 for all regions), to exit the menu press Return.
I recently purchased a Hitachi DV-P315E, DVD player
for my son's 17th birthday. He wanted a multi region player and unfortunately
it can only play region two. Is there anyway it could be converted to multi
David Dodd, Blyth, Northumberland
Blimey, you're a bit quick off the mark; this model
has only been on sale a few days. I haven't had a chance to look at this
machine yet but if, as I suspect it is sourced from the same factory as
Hitachi's recently launched DV-P515 you might want to try your luck with the
Samsung DVD-511/709 hack printed earlier. Let me know how you get on.
AND THE BAD NEWS…
I've just bought a Panasonic RV-40 DVD and am having
good fun with it but can you tell me is there is any multi-region hack codes.
Nigel Sanderson, via email
My friend purchased a Panasonic SA-DK3 Hi-Fi. This
as you may already know has an integrated 5-disc DVD player/changer as well as
a built in Dolby Digital Decoder. As he bought it here in the UAE, it is set to
play only Region 2 DVD's. Is there a way to change it to Region 1 either with a
chip-mod or using the remote etc. similar to the normal players?
Greg Clarke, via email
I received a Pioneer DV-530 player last Christmas,
It is a region 2 model and I am wondering if your team of experts are aware of
any hacks or codes which I can use to enable me to play R1 discs?
Is there a Regional hack code for the Pioneer
I have a Playstation 2 with very good DVD playback,
but I want to play discs from other regions, can you please tell me is the only
way to chip it and what would be the best way to get the done?
Shaun McMahon, Kent
Could you tell me if there are any Region Hacks for
the Sony DVP-S336?
Charles Duncan, via email
I own a Sony
DVP-S536D and was wondering if there is a remote hacking code for this model?
Sorry you lot, you all have players that cannot be
hacked using handset codes. As far as I am aware the only way to get these
machines to play Region 1 discs is to have them chipped. A variety of solutions
are available, and it needn't be expensive (typically £30 to £70) but you
should be aware that any internal modifications to your players would
invalidate the warranty. Have a look at the following web sites for more
Ó R. Maybury 2001, 2206