WHAT DVD 2002

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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 interested? No!

Don White, Barnsley, S. Yorks

 

A

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 done.

 

 

PLAYING CHICKEN

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

 

A

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.

Stephen Conroy

 

A

Good to hear from a satisfied customer and well-done Toshiba!

 

 

TREK EXTRAS

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 at: (www.dvdtalk.com/rce.html)?

Michael Winter, via email

 

A

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.

 

 

HARSH JUDGEMENT

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

 

A

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!

 

 

FINNICKY FARSCAPE?

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

 

A

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.

 

 

SAMSUNG SWITCH

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

 

A

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. 

 

 

EFFICIENT ENTERPRISE

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

 

A

Thanks for that tip, always happy to pass on recommendations for companies that deliver the goods.

 

 

CODE CRACK CORNER

 

HITACHI DVP315E

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

 

A

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/

 

 

PIONEER DV-636D

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

 

A

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 warranty.

 

 

JMB DVD3000

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

 

Q

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. 

 

 

TOSHIBA SD-100E

Can you please advise me on how to play region one discs on a Toshiba SD-100E.
Shaun Snowcroft

 

A

Sorry Shaun, this one, like all Tosh players are locked up tight so itís chipping or nothing.

 

 

ALBA DVD-113

Do you know any multi-region fixes for the Alba 113 player?

Chris Payne, Taunton, Somerset

Q

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 multi-region forever?
Charles Webster

A

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

 

---end---

 

R. Maybury 2001, 0311

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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