Wacky DVD Hack!

I think I tell what I learn!

I purchased a region-free DVD player (also called a multi-region DVD player) for Christmas this year so that I could easily play Finnish language DVDs on my TV. I am half Finnish, my wife is from Finland, and we go to great lengths to keep the Finnish language alive in our family, including making an expensive trip to Finland every other summer, speaking Finnish at dinnertime, and purchasing Finnish movies for our kids. We already own a VCR that plays VHS tapes in the European PAL format, but VHS tapes are yesterday’s technology, and so we purchased a Philips DVP3040, which, according to Amazon, is supposed to play DVDs from any region.

For selfish and silly reasons, the movie industry uses DVD region codes so that DVDs are only able to be played in certain “regions.” Region 1 includes the United States, Region 2 includes Europe, etc. DVD manufactures are then pressured to sell DVD players that only play DVDs coded for their regions. There are, of course, many ways to avoid this silly restriction, which really only ends up punishing people like me who are, for example, trying to keep a foreign language alive outside of the country where the language is primarily spoken.

  • You can, for example, play a PAL (Region 2) DVD on a personal computer, but most computers (including Apple computers) will only let you switch regions a handful of times before making your selected region permanent.
  • Another solution is to use a software DVD player like VLC which (rightly) ignores the region codes.
  • Rip, burn. Very time consuming.
  • Region free DVD players.

A region-free DVD player (or mutli-region DVD player) is one that can be hacked to be in “Region 0,” the region that ignores all region codes. And the Philips DVP3040 is one such DVD player. Of course, when I purchased it, I forgot that it would not just work out of the box, that I’d have to enter some magic key sequence in order to enable the mutli-region functionality. In the fact, the box says that it plays only Region 1 DVDs. Initially, that is true.

There is, as you can imagine, at least one website that teaches how to do this for various DVD players: VideoHelp.com.

A friendly email exchange with the seller (on Christmas day, no less) provided the magic key sequence required to turn my single-region DVD player into a mutli-region DVD player:

“i tell how to DIY your DVD player ( code free) this is very useful, i think you tell your frend what you learn:

2 methods depending on the version your set is pre-loaded. beats me why there’s 2 diff methods…. maybe trying to discourage us from hacking?

1) – Go to preference page in the Setup menu. – Press 138931 on the keypad of the Remote Control. – Options will be available to be selected. – Done !

2) – Open tray. – Press 99990 on the remote control. – Done !

if you want to buy a code free DVD player, that is only way, few people know this, and i tell you the website that is very useful for you:
http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks.php?select=Philips+DVP+3040

this is videohelp, that is my experience.”

When reading the above directions, it is helpful if you yell like Mike Myers in this classic “Nude House of Wacky People” sketch from Saturday Night Live (SNL) S15E05:

[Tatsuo sits at desk. behind him are posters of Columbia Pictures films]

Tatsuo Nosaka: Hello, my name is Tatsuo Nosaka, I am new president of Columbia Pictures. I want to take opportunity to tell American people, we understand what you like! We are working hard to make many new films and television shows for you to consume. In fact, we have just finished new situation comedy for American TV audience. It is crazy and out to lunch! It is called “The Nude House Of Wacky People.” Here are some scenes:

[Stock footage of a car wiping out and hurtling down a cliff. Inset circle of Tatsuo narrating]

Here is the father coming home from work with many American hamburgers for the family. He is driving so crazy it makes me laugh! Oh, no! He is crashing so much I have to laugh again! This is too much for me to look at and yet somehow I want to watch more!

[Sitcom living room. The father carries an armload of hamburgers through the front door]

Here is the father again, trying to carry the hamburgers home. Maybe he should carry the car it is so small by now!

[doorbell rings]

Oh, no! How much more insane can it get, I am wondering also.

[Father opens door. Bear enters & immediately attacks Father.]

A bear? How did he get there? There is no time for wondering, because the father is already fighting the bear! Then the bear leaves.

So now I can play a DVD that I purchased on a DVD player that I purchased. Yeah technology. Why does the entertainment industry make this so hard?

5 Replies to “Wacky DVD Hack!”

  1. Thanks a lot!
    I totally agree with you. I’m French and was living in the USA until recently. I bought a dvd player there but was unable to dezone it. I was able to hack a little portable dvd player in the States so my kids could watch French dvd, but could not use it here in Italy because of the electrical power difference!
    At last, I researched and found the Philips DVP 3040. I bought it today with some fears because here you cannot return an article easily if you’re not satisfied… I’m thrilled, it works!

  2. 1) Open the DVD Door, on remote press Setup, Right, Right, Right (that’s the arrows in the middle of remote)
    2) Enter 9653,a service page will appear,
    3) Use Up/Down Bottom to change region Codes
    4) Set to 0 (zero) for multi-region

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