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Perhaps you 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 email



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. 




'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?




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 issue" cleared?

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.




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 commission…)




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 me know.





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


Two cheesy 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 region?

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.





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?

Stuart Whinnery



Is there a Regional hack code for the Pioneer XV-DV55?

George Foulkes



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?
Heather Barringer



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 information:







Ó R. Maybury 2001, 2206







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