A BIT OF A HITCH
I have a Hitachi C28WF535N widescreen TV, a Hitachi DVP-305E DVD
player, Sony HTK-215 Home Theatre system, Hitachi FX-860 VCR and a Pace
Telewest digital cable box. I use QED SCARTs between the DVD and TV, an Ixos
optical digital cable between the DVD and the Sony amp and was told to put
switchable phono-to-SCART lead between the TV and Sony system. Iíve read all
the manuals but I canít get my VCR, TV or digital sound to come through the
Sony system. Iíve phoned the Hitachi and Sony Helplines, do they seem
Don White, Barnsley, S. Yorks
To be fair to the helplines they can only give specific troubleshooting
advice when it concerns their own products, though they should have been able
to provide you with some general guidance. Iím not sure what the switchable
phono-to-SCART lead is all about but I donít think itís necessarily anything to
do with the system being silent.
The first step is to check that the amplifier is actually working. Plug
a phono-to-phono lead into one of the line audio input sockets (VCR, Satellite
etc), set the volume to around one quarter to a third maximum, select the
appropriate input channel, and lightly touch the centre conductor of the phono plug.
If allís well you will hear a buzz from the speakers. If you donít then the amplifier is suspect.
Assuming it is working the easiest thing to do is rip everything out
and start from scratch. For the best possible picture quality the DVD player
and TV should be connected together using a fully-wired (ĎType Uí) cable, which
will let you use RGB video; you will probably need to enable this option on the
DVD playerís setup menu and you must use the TVís AV1 SCART socket. The optical
cable connection between the DVD player and amplifier will give you the best
sound but check the cable is okay, if you look at the end that plugs into the
amp you should see a red light (when the DVD player is on). Double check the
Sony amp manual to make sure itís in the correct mode when playing DVDs with
Dolby Digital soundtracks. The TV, VCR and cable box should be Ďdaisy-chainedí
together by two SCART cables. It doesnít matter which way around they go but
itís usually easiest to have the VCR in the middle as it has two SCARTs, you
can use ordinary video (Type V) cables for this. This arrangement will allow
you to record programmes from the cable box. Finally, the stereo audio outputs
on the VCR and cable box need to be connected to the appropriate inputs on the
Sony amp using a pair of good quality phono-to-phono stereo leads, and itís
I purchased a copy of chicken run when it was first released, and now
after months of viewing, my DVD player will no longer read the disc. I have
recently brought a new DVD player and still the disc will not play. This
is what I donít understand because I have watched this many times. Do you have
any suggestions or should I try contacting the distributors of the film.
Tom Pemberton, via email
Everything points towards a recent problem with the disc. The most
likely explanation is that it has become scratched or dirty. Normally DVDs,
like CDs, are tolerant of some minor scuffing and the odd grubby fingerprint,
in fact DVD has even more powerful error correction systems than CD audio,
however neither system can handle deep scratches or grime, especially if itís
around the Ďlead-iní area, towards the centre of the disc. This is where data
about the disc and whatís on it are stored and if the player can read it, the
disc will be rejected. If after a thorough clean (see Trek Extras) the disc
still refuses to play, and you can see some serious scratching, try a CD
polishing kit. If that doesnít work you might persuade a sympathetic retailer
to exchange the disc but you are on shaky ground if, as seems likely, the
scratching is down to you.
OLD DOGS. A RESULT
Back in issue 33 you printed my e-mail about 102 Dalmatians not playing
on my Toshiba DVD 2109 player. I contacted Toshiba and felt I should let you
know what excellent service I received. Collection, upgrade and return within
seven days, all free of charge. The disc now plays perfectly and response time
on my other Disney DVDs has improved particularly the extras
features on Dinosaurs. Thanks.
Good to hear from a satisfied customer and well-done Toshiba!
I am quite pleased with the Alba DVD player that I bought a year
ago; however, have a problem playing the special features on the Star Trek
Insurrection DVD. All that happens is a high-pitched buzz and the discs stop. I
am sure this is a fault with the disc - is there anything I can do bearing in
mind I have not kept the Woolworth's receipt and have bought it quite a long
time ago? Is there any way I can get Woolworthís to change a Scream 2 (old
version) disc with a new one - I bought it on holiday in Jersey when to my
horror I found out that instead of putting the new version disc in the new
version case, they had put in the old version. Do the RCE cheats really work
Michael Winter, via email
I havenít come across any problem reports with this disc and player
combination so it sounds like a disc fault, but before you do anything about
exchanging it give it a clean. My favourite method is to use a drop or two of
washing up liquid, some lukewarm water and a soft lint-free cloth (Brillo pads
and scouring cloths are not recommended!). Let it dry off thoroughly and try it
again. If that doesnít work then you could try for an exchange, if you havenít
got the receipt (and thereís a lesson for us all here Ė always keep them) most
shops are pretty reasonable and will accept a credit-card statement or slip or
even a cheque stub as proof of purchase. I have always found Woolies to be very
reasonable and normally thereís no problem about getting things changed when
bought at another branch, but always ask nicely, shouting the odds (especially
without a receipt) rarely works.
I havenít tried the RCE (Region Code Enhancement Ė designed to stop
Region 1 discs playing on DVD decks set for ĎAll Regioní playback) workarounds
described, some of them sound a bit desperate to me and I really wouldnít want
to buy a disc or a player on the basis of what Iíve seen. The only sure way I
know to defeat RCE is to switch the player to Region 1 only playback.
I have owned a chipped Samsung 709
DVD player now for nearly two years, so most of my collection is Region 1, and
I am very pleased with. The
problem I am experiencing is with Region 1 T2 Judgement Day, the first half of
the feature is perfect, but in the later chapters from where Sarah Connor goes
to Myles Dyson home, on the two occasions I have played the disc it has
frozen in different places, press stop then play the film resumes. Could you tell me if this is down to the
player or the disc, I have heard that some players struggle with this disc
because of its complexity?
Carl Baggott. Via email
I donít think it has anything to do with chipping or region code issues.
I understand that there have been at least three R1 versions of T2 Judgement
Day released so far and yes, some problems have been reported. However, these
have mostly been to do with erratic Ďbranchingí on special features and extras
on some older players but thereís been nothing on normal chapter replay. The
two commonest causes are a faulty disc, or a dirty pickup on the player. If the
glitch occurs at precisely the same point each time then the disc may well be
scratched or thereís a minute gob of gunge blocking the laser. If playback is
generally erratic suspect the player and give it a run-through with a good
quality CD/DVD lens cleaning kit, and always read the instructions!
I recently bought the first box set of Farscape season 2 and I am
having trouble with the second DVD. The problem is on the gallery part of the
extras. When I select it, it just highlights for a second, but does not show
the gallery! I have had two copies and both have had this problem. I was
wondering if this is a known problem with this disc, or if my player (LG 3200E)
might be the cause although I've never had problems with it before, even on
other Farscape DVDs.
Mike Greenstreet, via email
The gallery section gets a clean bill of health on all of the reviews
and message boards Iíve looked at, though several complain that the images are
too small and not very interestingÖ Thereís an off chance of an incompatibility
between the disc and your player but itís more likely a duff copy and youíve
been unlucky and had two from the same batch, maybe. Anyway, get it changed
again and let me know what happens, in the meantime Iíll keep my ear to the
ground for any other reports.
I have recently purchased a Samsung M-105 DVD and want to play Region 1
Discs on it. I have tried the standard hack (cold start Repeat, language select
1, 38767 etc.) But still no joy. Where
am I going wrong?
Stu Dixon, via email
The hack as published was correct and so far it has worked well, but in
the past few weeks it has emerged that the firmware on this model has been
changed to V5.02E and that particular hack doesnít work anymore. There is a
solution but it involved reprogramming an EPROM chip inside the player with the
previous firmware. This is an advanced procedure requiring specialist equipment
and definitely not the sort of thing anyone should try without the appropriate
expertise, so Iím afraid youíll have to pay to have it chipped if you want to
watch R1 discs on this machine.
I thought Iíd let you know about a company Iíve been using called
Enterprises DVD. Region 1 and 2 titles can be ordered by phone (theyíre
efficient and friendly) or from the web site (http://www.dvdenterprises.co.uk/),
which lists every R1 DVD available, new and forthcoming releases and bargain
special offers. Iíve just ordered the 6-disc Die Hard box set for the bargain
price of £39.99, and that includes post and packing.
Michael Fogden, West Sussex
Thanks for that tip, always happy to pass on recommendations for
companies that deliver the goods.
CODE CRACK CORNER
After being badgered endlessly by a friend I finally leapt onto the DVD
train and bought a Hitachi DVP315E player. So far I'm very impressed with the small library I've acquired, but
here is my problem. The friend I mentioned has a massive collection of region 1
discs that I would like to view and at the moment I'm unable. Reading through
issue 32 of your mag I've found that although Hitachi players crop up on
several occasions my particular model is never mentioned, is there a specific
reason for this?
I tried the hack you published for the DVP515 and had no response, can
the model I have be made multi-region and if it can how? I have access to a seemingly
endless supply of discs but no way to play them; torture!!
Colin May, via email
Hitachi sources its current budget and mid-range players from other
makers and some of these models can be handset-hacked. Unfortunately the 315
isnít one of them, itís an in-house design and the only way to get it to play
R1 discs is to have it chipped, itíll cost you around £60 to £80. You can even
do it yourself if youíre handy with a soldering iron, have a look at http://www.dvdchips.co.uk/
I have purchased a Pioneer DV-636D DVD Player, which said NTSC on
it, I thought that this meant I could play American DVDs on it but I now know
that it does not mean that! I have heard that I can enter in a code so that I
can play American DVDs on my machine, but I don't know what it is but I know
hopefully you lovely people will be able to help me. Please can you tell how to
enter the code so that I can play some American DVDs.
Miss T Hazell, via email
Much as Iíd like to help, there are no handset hacks for this player,
it will have to be chipped but be aware that this will invalidate your
I have a JMB DVD-3000 and it plays region 2 discs only. Is there a code
to unlock this to play all region-discs, and could I do it with the remote.
Jamie, via email
Try this: switch on then press and hold for three seconds the Stop,
Open/Close, Skip Forward and Skip Backwards buttons on the playerís front
panel. A hidden menu appears and you can select the region number or ĎFreeí
(all Region) option then, without touching anything else, exit the menu.
Can you please advise me on how to play region one discs on a Toshiba
Sorry Shaun, this one, like all Tosh players are locked up tight so
itís chipping or nothing.
Do you know any multi-region fixes for the Alba 113 player?
Chris Payne, Taunton, Somerset
Bit of an odd one this, most DVD-113ís are set to multi region replay
and will do so straight out of the box, though I have heard tell of a few rogue
models that are R2 only Ė I donít know of an unlock code -- or possibly theyíre
being tested with RCE discs.
FUJITSU SIEMENS LAPTOP
I have just bought a Fujitsu Siemens Amilo 6500 laptop with DVD drive.
After six changes of region it is now locked into region 2 and I can't play
region one discs. Is there a hack to get round this, preferably to make it
Laptops can be a bit awkward because the facility that lets you switch
region a preset number of times can be in the DVD-ROM drive firmware, and the
player software. Iím fairly sure your machine uses the Intervideo WinDVD
player, in which case a little utility called DVD Genie will take care of that
and it can be downloaded from: www.digital-digest.com/dvd/downloads/dvdgenie.html
If the region is still locked youíll need to know the make/model of
your PCís DVD ROM drive (it should be listed in Windows Device Manager), and
then you can use the appropriate unlock utility listed at: www.digital-digest.com/dvd/articles/region_hardware.html
” R. Maybury 2001,