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I have been looking to buy a DVD player and have read the back issues of your magazine from October 2001. I had just made my mind up to purchase the Toshiba SD210E, which you gave great reviews. On going into my local Richer Sounds I was more than pleased to find that they sell the chipped multi-region version. Ready to part with my cash willingly I was advised that the Aiwa XD-DV480 was the better machine. My dilemma is I canít find any reviews on it and do not want to make a mistake. I value your opinion greatly and would appreciate your guidance. 

A. W. Beard, Plymouth 



By coincidence we have just reviewed the Aiwa DV480 in our sister magazine Home Entertainment and I can tell you that it is a badge-engineered LG machine. The final conclusion was that it was okay but nothing special. The Tosh 210 was reviewed a couple of months earlier, it received a four star rating and came highly recommended for its top quality picture and sound. Of course itís up to you but I know which one Iíd spend my hard-earned onÖ




How do you clean DVDs without causing damage? I know the best answer is
not to get them dirty in the first place, but quite a few recent purchases come with dust and the odd fingerprint pre-installed! I've tried using a very soft cloth designed for cleaning camera lenses and a soft brush, also for camera lenses - problem is that both leave lots of very fine scratches on the DVD surface and the cloth appears to make matters worse, as the more I wipe the more dust sticks to the disc! Can you advise me on a suitable cleaning/dust removal product that you would recommend?
Ewan Boyd, via email



Being the proud owner of a couple of grubby and inquisitive kids, (and in view of my own questionable eating habits), I have considerable experience in the removal of fingerprints and sticky deposits from the surface of DVDs, CDs and various other types of optical and magnetic recording media. Pizza Hut cheese is definitely the worstÖ My own preferred cleaning method for optical discs is to use a complex formulation of degreasers and unguents that goes under the brand name of Fairly Liquid (though I suspect other brands are equally effective). A couple of drops of washing up liquid and a quick wipe over with soft cloth or duster, under running warm water, usually does the trick. Let the disc dry off on some kitchen towel and buff it up with a soft, lint-free cloth or spectacle cleaning cloth. Iíve been doing that for years without a single mishap (remind me some time to tell you how to recover scratched discs using ordinary household chemicals). DVDs and CD are made out of a tough polycarbonate plastic, it does them no harm and your hands feel really soft afterwards.


As a matter of interest DVD uses powerful error correction, better even than CD and most players are quite tolerant of the odd scratch or scuff but when thereís a problem youíll know it! Thereís no gradual reduction in picture quality or increase in noise levels as on old or worn video tapes, the first signs of DVD playback trouble are track skipping, freezing or a blocky pixellated picture.




I have just read the readers letter in the February issue regarding a problem with the Chicken Run DVD. You may be interested to know that I have the exact same problem with my copy. After many viewings suddenly the player will not read the disc. There is no apparent sign of damage on the disc. It's as if the film has dropped off the disc. Could this suggest a manufacturing fault?
Leigh Parker, Basingstoke



In the absence of any other letters and email from readers, or the usual flood of complaints on Internet newsgroups that swiftly follows the release of a duff disc I have to stick with my original theory that this is still an isolated incident. The only other thing I can think of is that the player itself is damaging the disc. Iíve come across a few dodgy machines in the past three or four years. One had a dislocated laser assembly that ploughed a deep furrow in every disc but the damage was very obvious. Iíve also seen several players with iffy loading mechanisms and when the eject button was pressed the disc would still be spinning in the tray as it opens. This covers the playing surface in fine, near invisible scratches that will eventually defeat even the best error correction systems. It may be thatís whatís happening here, particularly as you say youíve played the disc many times. Have a look at the disc through a magnifying glass and if you suspect something is wrong  -- and the player is still in guarantee -- it might be worth having it checked out.





If you are having trouble playing RCE coded discs on Toshiba players chipped for all-region playback try this workaround. Load the RCE infected disc then keep prodding the Stop button to stop it loading now press Memory, highlight T (Title/Chapter) with the cursor buttons, press 1 then Play and Clear and it should start.



DVD playback is touted is a key selling point on recent Apple Powerbooks but the region lock can only be changed 5 times before it is disabled. There are several fixes for this antisocial behaviour, including a couple of handy little utilities that stop the region change counter working. More details and links to downloads can be found at: http://www.markus-fritze.de/dvd/




A region code hack is now available for the Reoc A5, sold exclusively through Safeway stores, however you will need a PC with a CD writer and an Internet connection. The first step is to write or download a simple text-based command file then Ďburní it onto a CD-R disc. Load the disc in the player and it will reprogram the firmware to all region replay. Full details can be found at: http://reoc.keyservice.co.uk/a5/home



I always say the regional coding on Sony players is locked solid but thatís not strictly true. Early versions of the DVP-S7000 actually had two tiny switches inside the cabinet that disabled the region lock and Macrovision anti copy systems. The switches disappeared on later models but anyone handy with a soldering iron could fit them.







I have had a Yamaha S700 player for over three years, and am very happy with its performance. I have more than 100 discs and have never had any problems. I have always bought Region 2 discs, but now I am thinking of switching to Region 1 playback. Can you advise if my machine can be hacked to play Region 1 movies?

Daniel Molloy, via email



The S700 was Yamahaís first DVD player and like a lot of early machines it was actually a cloned Panasonic deck. And very good it was too Ė for its day -- but as regular readers will know, the regional coding on all Panasonic players since the A100 has been locked solid and can only be disabled by chipping. Yamaha now sources most of its players from Philips and these can usually be hacked, which is no consolation to you, but look at it this way, youíve had three good years out of it, so it may be time to retire it to the bedroom. New players with hackable or disabled region locks now sell for less than £100 (how quickly things change, if memory serves the S700 cost £600 newÖ) and the picture and sound quality on some budget models is actually better than a lot of first generation players




Could you please advise me on how to convert the Cyberhome AD-N 212 player into a multi-region compatible machine? 
Scott Govan, via email
PS. where will I find your response?



Youíll find your response right hereÖ This is a nice easy one, and you might like to take note that it also works on the Cyberhome AD-M512. Proceed as follows, switch the machine on and open the disc tray. On the remote handset press 7, 6 and the 'Sel' button and all being well a hidden set-up menu should appear on the TV screen. From this menu you can now change to any numbered region (1 to 6) or enter 13 for Region free playback. Donít forget, in order to play Region 1 RCE (region code enhancement) encoded discs you should select Region 1 rather than all-region replay.




I have recently bought a Samsung DVD-M105, and was wondering if there is a hack for converting it to multi region viewing?
Thomas, via email



Youíre in luck, this player is handset-hackable and you can use this method on a number of other Samsung players as well as a few Hitachi and Thomson models.  Before we start thereís a couple of points to watch out for, on some models this will also disable the Macrovision anti-copy system, but only if you switch off Quasi-PAL replay and set the SCART to composite video output. Secondly, in order to get the player back to Region 2 only replay you must substitute the appropriate code Ė see the list. 


Step one is to perform a ĎCold Startí which puts the player into the first time installation mode, do this by switching the play on and pressing and holding the Play and Stop buttons on the actual player. This usually takes several seconds, after which time a language menu should appear on the screen.  If it doesnít work first time switch off and try again. When the menu comes up select option 1 for English. Now, on the remote handset press Repeat and enter the following code: 3, 8, 7, 6, 7. Your current region code should now be shown on the screen  (i.e. Ď02í), enter the region number you want to change to (i.e. 1 for the US, etc., and 9 for all region playback) and in quick succession press the Open button on the player and Standby on the remote and itís done.


To get back to Region 2 from Region 1 you have to substitute the following code: 2, 9, 3, 3, 4.


If you have changed to a region other than 1 or 2, you have to use one of the following codes to get back to the region code change mode.

Region 3: 5, 6, 7, 3, 2

Region 4: 7, 6, 8, 8, 4

Region 5: 5, 3, 8, 1, 4

Region 6: 2, 4, 4, 6, 2


By the way, if RCE coded discs stick on the FBI warning screen press the forward picture search button, which should get you straight to the main menu.



ALBA 113

I recently bought an Alba 113 DVD player, which is great, but it only plays Region 2 DVDs. Could you possibly tell me if there is a code to play Region 1 discs, or even multi region.
Stephen McIlroy, Glasgow


Are you sure it only plays Region 2 discs? I understood these machines were shipped with the region lock disabled and are set for all region replay, certainly the two Iíve seen in the past six months or so were region free. If youíve tried an R1 disc and it didnít play it might be that it was RCE encoded, non-RCE discs should be okay. The other possibility is that it has defaulted to NTSC output, which your TV may not be able to handle in which case you need to switch it back to PAL. To do that make sure the disc tray is empty and press the Display button then select video standard and set it to PAL.




Please could you send me the DVD hacks for the following DVD players:

Sony DVP-S335

Sony DVP-S336

Samsung DVD 511

Adam Delarey, via email



Are you opening a shop or what? First the bad news, there are no hack codes for Sony DVD players, they are hard-coded and the only way around that is to have them chipped. Shop around, several companies advertising in What DVD can do the work for you, typically it costs around £80 to £90. The DVD-511 is hackable, used the same method as the Samsung M105 (see opposite)




Doctor, I have recently purchased a Philips DFR-1600 home theatre kit. I am going to the States soon and would like to take advantage of the low cost of DVDs out there. Can my player be enabled to accept Region 1 discs?

Stewart VerBruggen, via email



I havenít had a chance to try this one out Ė mainly due to the lack of a DFR-1600 -- so I would be very interested to know if it works. The trick, apparently, is to press the System key, then 1, 6, 7 and a menu appears asking for a number between 1 and 6. Tap in 1 and see what happens.




Would you have a hack for a Philips DVD 750, I would be very grateful?
Damien Donnelly, via email



I do indeed. To enable all region-playback on this model and most models players you will need to get hold of a One For All 4 or 6 Universal remote control handset. Step one is to configure the One For All handset with the set-up code 0539. When thatís done point the One For All at the player, press the Magic button and tap in the code 0, 8, 5. The display should now show a row of dashes, change to the playerís own remote handset and enter the following code: 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 0, 0, 5, 2, 5, 5. The last digit wonít show on the display, donít worry, now press Play on the remote and the display should now show ĎNo Discí. Switch off, count to ten and switch back on again.




I am in urgent need of a code that I have been told would enable my DVD player to show American movies. I have a Sony DVP NS300. So if you could kindly get back to me with this code or information on how to obtain it I would be very grateful.
Mr Beardsworth, via email


Sorry Mr B, it canít be done, the region lock on Sony players are locked tighter than a duckís rear end.




I hope you can help me I have just bought a Sanyo DC-AVD8501. I have looked for a code without any success. Do you know if there is one or am I on a wild goose chase?

Peter Jessop, via email



Iíve looked high and low but drawn a complete blank on this one. Nevertheless I wouldnít be at all surprised if there was one, itís still fairly new and it sometimes takes a while for hacks to be uncovered/leaked; if anyone knows of a hack or has managed to crack this machine please let me know.




Can you give me a hack for my Grundig DVD player via the remote?

Stevan, via email



No problem, this is another easy one. Switch the player on and open the disc tray. On the remote handset press the code 9, 8, 1, 7 and a hidden set-up menu should appear on the TV screen. You can change the Region by entering the appropriate number (1 to 6) or 9 for multi-region). The playerís video output will almost certainly follow that of the disc and switch to an NTSC signal, if your TV doesnít have this facility you should go to the playerís set-up menu and change it to PAL.




R. Maybury 2002, 0102





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