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I am hoping that you can shed some light on problem as I am getting conflicting advice. Basically I have a VHS video of a stage and variety show from 1991, which some friends and I appeared in. I have the only copy in existence, which also has behind the scenes footage (Total running time is approximately 2 hours).

I know that if you watch videos repeatedly the picture begins to deteriorate and fade so my question is, is it possible for people like myself to have our memories on video transferred onto DVD and if so who can help?

I would be most grateful for any help so that in years to come my children and I can watch it as often as we like.
Brendan Ebbs, via email



‘People like myself’. Whatever can you mean? DVD is for everyone, even thespians... There are several ways to transfer video footage onto DVD, the simplest and probably the cheapest method would be to pay someone to do it for you. There are plenty of specialist companies offering such a service. I did a quick search on the net using Google (www.google.com) and keywords ‘VHS to DVD transfer’ and came up with half a dozen candidates straight away. Prices seem to be in the order of £30 to £35 per hour, one company (http://www.yourvhstodvd.com/) quotes £40 for 2 hours.


You can do it yourself, there are two possibilities, the easiest is to get hold of a DVD Recorder, Philips models can be found selling for less than £500. All you have to do is connect it to your VCR using an ordinary SCART lead. The only thing to watch out for with recordable DVD is that not all players can handle all recordable disc formats, but it’s getting better with more recent models. Lastly you can copy video to DVD with a suitably equipped PC or laptop (the feature you’re looking for is a DVD-writer). This is a bit more involved, and the equipment is a good deal more expensive but if you know someone with a set-up it’s worth asking them if they can help. 




We have recently purchased via the Internet a Manhattan SL1 multi regional DVD player in the hope of playing copies of DVD's from anywhere. We bought some copied DVD's from a market stall in good faith. When we played them they were very poor quality with red-faced people and faded looking colour. The films are downloaded copies from America e.g. latest Star Wars, Men In Black 2, Scooby Doo. Are we being too optimistic to expect a perfect picture? Do real film fanatics accept this kind of quality just so that they can see the very latest releases? We went to a lot of trouble to find the DVD player that we thought we needed and feel very disappointed. Is there something we need to do to make the picture clearer or is it just a case of dodgy DVD's?
Tina J Stedman, via email



I can’t believe you are that naive but just in case, the discs you purchased are very obviously pirate copies and quite possibly not even DVDs but crudely copied Video CDs. Film fanatics would not buy pirate discs because they know that the quality is usually so poor. Quite often these ‘DVDs’ are shot by someone with a concealed camcorder in a cinema -- usually in the Far East  – the tell tale signs, apart from the abysmal quality, are the rustle of popcorn and sweet wrappers on the hissy non-surround soundtrack, the picture occasionally disappearing as someone in front gets up to go to the loo, the wobbly picture, sub-titles and lack of extras on the disc, that and the fact that the pirate copies are on sale in street markets whilst the movie is still being shown in cinemas and well before it appears on DVD. Real film fans only want to watch genuine DVDs and they are prepared to wait a few months for the properly mastered disc with a digital soundtrack and the extras, when US Region one discs can be legitimately can be purchased over the Internet.




I have a Toshiba 220E and have found a slight oddity with the sound. When I first got it, the first two discs I played were the Matrix and the Abyss. Both won't play. (The Abyss on the Special Edition version). Another thing I noticed was a strong hiss on every soundtrack. I was using a SCART lead and a stereo audio lead into an amplifier.

After lots of playing around with wires, and moving the machine away from my amp, I found in the end, that if you are going to connect the Toshiba to an amplifier, take out the SCART and watch the picture via S-Video. The audio leads remain in the amplifier and the hiss magically goes away! Strange but true.
Ian Kembery, via email



Actually it’s not that strange, SCART leads are horrible things and quite capable of picking up all kinds of mush from the TV and feeding it back into the DVD player’s audio output, but thanks anyway for the tip, and using an S-Video connection will also improve picture quality.






I have an Oritron DV-100 DVD player, would you know of a hack to change it 1 or all regions?

Samual Davison, Belfast





I would like to know if there is a hack code for this machine so that I can play DVDs of the American format?

J.H.W. James, Kidwelly, Dyfed



Two for the price of one, both models respond to the same hack which begins by pressing the Menu button on the remote, next, enter the code 167 and the region switch menu appears, press Mute for all region or 1 to 6, and the deed is done.




I have a region 2 DVD player made by Aiwa, model Number XD-DV370 and would like to be able to play region 1 DVDs on it. Could you please let me know if there is any way of doing this, as I do not really want to go to the expense of buying a new DVD player?

Karim Bhawan, London



Keep your wallet in your pocket. Step one, press Pause on the remote then enter 314159 – you need to do it quite quickly as it times out in a couple of seconds. Now you can press 0 for region free, or 1 to 6 for a specific region. Press Pause again, switch off, count ten and switch back on again.





I’m starting to get a fair few DVDs and so far all of them are Region 2, I’ve been told there’s a hack for my cheap and cheerful player, without having to get it chipped, can you help?

Mrs P. Bassett, Tamworth, Staffs





I am trying to find out if I can convert my DVD player to play multi region DVD's. It is a Grundig GDV-230. Specifically I have bought a Canadian DVD that I now can't watch.
Kelly Adey, Yateley, Hants



Whoever told you that, Mrs Basset was quite right, and Kelly from Yately, good news for you too, you’ll be watching that Canadian disc in no time flat. Both of you proceed as follows. Open the disc loading tray and pop in a Region 1 disc – don’t close it yet -- and press 0123 then Play. In case you ever want to get these machines back to Region 2 only replay, just pop in a R2 disc and press Play.




I bought a Pacific DVD-750 player from Asda and was wondering if it can somehow play Region 1 DVDs?

Terry, Hoddesdon, Herts


You certainly can and this is what you have to do: press Open/Close on the handset to open the disc loading tray then punch in 8421 and Enter and a hidden service menu should appear. Make your selection, (1 to 6 or ‘All’) and press the Open/Close button again to save the setting.




I have a Philips 622 DVD player, is it possible you could supply me with the code so I could play all region DVD's.

K Ledger, via email  




 I wonder if you could tell me the code to enable my Marantz 4100 DVD player to play American films. I was recently given a box set of the Die Hard series but I can only play them on my PC. Also if I do program my DVD to play other zones, does it affect the machines performance? I mean it is a good CD player and I would not want to spoil playback quality

Kevin Scannell, via email



Yet another What DVD exclusive bonus DoubleBrand ™ hack, and for the record, changing a player’s region code setting does not affect either DVD or CD audio performance since all you are doing is changing a software command that tells the player whether or not it is allowed to play a DVD. There are small differences in the picture quality of Region 1 (US) and Region 2 (European) discs, but that’s due to the differing TV standards and has nothing to do with regional coding or player performance. Now for that hack, and it’s an old friend that’s common to a lot of Philips players and clones. You’ll need to get hold of a One 4 All universal remote control; the OFA 4 or OFA 6 models are ideal. Use the setup code 0539, press the ‘Magic’ button and enter 085 and the display should show a line of dashes. Now use the player’s own remote and enter the code 222 222 005 255, don’t worry, the last digit doesn’t show. Finally, press Play and if all’s well the display shows ‘No Disc’, switch off, count ten and switch back on again.



LG DVD 4710

I read somewhere that it is possible on some DVD players to fool RCE by setting the region code on the player to match the region code of the disc rather than just setting the player to region 0.  Firstly is this the case? Secondly if so, would this work with my LG DVD 4710, which I have hacked to region 0?

Nathan Holden, via email



Your sources are correct, region code enhancement or RCE data on the disc interrogates the player to ask whether it is set for region 1, or more than one region (all regions), if it registers as all regions the disc menu branches to the ‘world map’ warning message and the deck’s player controls are disabled. Therefore, in order to play RCE protected discs on your machine simply change it to Region 1 using the standard LG hack, which incidentally is the same as the one for the Aiwa DV370 (see above, and guess who makes some Aiwa players…?).




I've got Wharfedale 750 DVD player, which I want to hack into as well but I’m sure you have already given advice on. Could you please tell back issue of "What DVD" in which I can find the hack?

Jon Barron, via email



Better than that, here it is again, and for good measure a couple of alternatives as they keep changing the firmware on this machine. The original hack is identical to the earlier Proline/Grundig tweak, i.e. open draw, load R1 disc and press 0123 and Play. Earlier versions of the 750 responded to the following sequence of handset commands: Open/Close, Zoom, A-B, cursor Up, Left, Down, Right and if you’ve done it right ‘Region Free’ appears on the screen. If you want to set it to a specific region the steps are:

Open/Close, 1111, ‘Region is displayed on the screen and you can punch in a number. On later models you should try another sequence of commands, they are: Open/Close, Step, Previous, Next then ‘Region Free’ will pop up on the screen. To set it to a particular region press Open/Close, 0750 and then the chosen region number.



LG DVD 5083.

Could you please let me know if you have the hacking code for my LG DVD
model 5083?
Claire Thompson, via email



Unfortunately there isn’t one, at least not one that I am aware of but it can be done, if you or someone you know has a PC with an Internet connection and a CD writer. All you have to do is download a small ‘zipped’ file, decompress it and burn it onto a CD-R, pop it in the player and it’s firmware will be updated, allow the region code to be changed. It’s actually very easy but don’t try it unless you know a bit about PCs. Everything you need, including easy to follow instructions can be found at: http://www.area450.co.uk/lg5083hack.htm



LG 3520

Can you tell me if the LG 3520 can play region 1 DVD-R discs? I got the hack codes from your mag but when I change it to Region 1 it will not play the disc.

Brian O'Donnell, via email



This is not a regional coding issue, it’s to do with the optical characteristics of DVD-R discs, which are different to those of normal DVDs. DVD-R discs have slightly lower reflectivity, which the laser pickup and error correction systems in some players have trouble reading. It tends to affect older players more than newer ones, which are also usually able to read the rival DVD+RW recordable disc format. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do other than get a new player that can handle DVD-Rs.




I know it’s a long shot and I suspect most, if not all of the following machines cannot be hacked – especially the A-brand models -- but if anyone out there knows of a way to unlock these players you’ll make some What DVD readers very happy.


Bush DVD 141TV -- Dr A M Slade, Sanyo HV-DX1E -- David Rodgers, Samsung DVD-N50 -- David Ryan, Technics SC-DV250 -- Nigel Baynham,

Sony DVPNS 700 – Taras, Toshiba SD-100 -- Stephen Packardi, Panasonic DVD-A160 -- Simon Langan and Sony DVP NS 300 -- Alex Dunn





One of the most frequently asked question about DVD is how long will discs last? The stock answer is usually at least 25 years, which is fair enough and that’s borne out by the longevity of pre-recorded audio CDs, which have been around for over 20 years; DVDs are made using a near identical manufacturing process. However, the numbers tend to become a little vague when talking about recordable DVD formats but now Kodak has come out with some figures for its blank discs, and it makes interesting reading. They’re pretty confident with DVD-RAM media, quoting a life expectancy of 30 years but if you want to pass on your treasured recordings to the great grand children DVD-R is the format to go for, with a lifespan of at least 100 years – how do they know? We just hope working players will still be available in 2102…



Back in the June issue we reviewed the Samsung DVD-N505, which was one of a number of players sporting a fancy new ‘Nuon’ chip that allows it to access features on specially enhanced discs, like graphical overlays, live thumbnails and picture zooms. At the time we pointed out that there were only a handful of discs with the special features (Bedazzled, Dr Dolittle 2 and Planet of the Apes) and to be honest it wasn’t that interesting. The company behind it (VM Labs) got themselves into financial difficulty and the long and short of it Nuon is probably no more. VM Labs was bought up and the new owners promptly laid off the entire Nuon staff.




Ó R. Maybury 2002, 0409






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