Coming from a PC background. The one thing I’ve always taken for granted was the ability to play my DVDs on my laptop (regardless of teh region code). However Sony made a poor decision to bootstrap its users by putting Matshita (sometimes referred to as Matsushita) DVD drives in their notebooks. Unsurprisingly, Apple also use these damned drives in their Macbook / MacBok Pro’s (this may work on desktop Mac’s too – I haven’t tried it).
The problem with these drives is that they are firmware locked (They encrypt the firmware on the drive so regardless of the software by-passing of the region code, the drive knows what its region is and no software is going to tell it otherwise).
Well I’d kind of resigned myself to the fact that until the MPAA et al. realized that region coding sucked and didn’t contribute to nor stopped piracy that it would be a fact of life and we’d have to live with it.
Scratch that thought! Today is a new dawn :p You see I’m writing this on my shiny 17″ MacBook Pro while watching a region 1 version of Blade on my (until 5 minutes ago) RPC-2 region 2 internal Superdrive…Anyone who knows anything about DVD encoding and region locking will know that there is a chance in hell of watching a region 1 DVD on a RPC-2 region 2 device. Yup my drive is now region free!
I can change the region as many times and to any region I choose, when I choose. So if you are willing to take the risk of turning your Mac DVD drive into a cute looking post box read on to find out how.
OK, firstly I will make this very clear.
IF YOU DO THIS, YOU RUN THE RISK OF PERMANENTLY DAMAGING YOUR DVD HARDWARE. TO THE POINT THAT IT WILL NO LONGER WORK. APPLE WILL NOT COVER IT UNDER WARRANTY AND IT WILL COST A LOT TO REPLACE.
You have been warned, and if that didn’t put you off this is how you do it.
- You need to know the type of DVD drive you have in your Mac so open the System Profiler (Apple Menu > About This Mac > More Info… > Disc Burning)
- Write down the Model and version of the drive installed (it’s should be in bold at the top of the right pane)
- Locate the entry on the right that is titled “Firmware Revision” – Mine is FAV1 (write this down also)
- Head over to this site: Various RPC1 Apple Firmwares for Matshita UJ-8xxx Drives
- READ THE ENTIRE POST
- Now read this post: Matshita DVD-R UJ-85x For MacBook Pro
- Download the relevant firmware (DO NOT PICK A SIMILAR ONE as this will not work. If it’s not present you could try PM-ing ben11 and asking him if he has a version in progress for your model and firmware)
- Follow the READ!.txt included in the zip you downloaded
- Update your firmware as per the instructions included in the READ!.txt
If successful give it a test. The image below shows what you should see once flashed – the important bit in the image is the RPC-1 (region free) entry.
Once you have followed the procedure (and the above steps are just a guide – full details can be found via the links). You’ll need a few apps to check it has worked. I have placed links below so you can grab them easily:
DVD Info X – This queries your DVD hardware and will return information that isn’t easily accessible natively in OSX
Region X – You’ll need this to manually change your region settings when you want to play a DVD
Finally a BIG shout out and thanks to ben11 over at The Firmware Page(THIS LINK APPEARS DEAD – I’m in the process of looking for a cached version) for taking the time and trouble to provide a solution to this niggling problem of region locking. Way to go m8. Thank you.