Hooray for old tech

1 minute read

OK, the tech isn’t that old…

For some time, I’ve been using DVD Region+CSS Free on my various PCs to be able to watch my R2 DVDs. This handy little program circumvents DVD drive firmware checks of region codes, software player region code checks, and much more. Simply pop in the DVD and play.

When the wife and I invested in one of the new Intel-based 20” iMacs, I set out to find a similar solution. I quickly found VLC, the Swiss Army knife of Mac video players. This program could play DVDs of any region along with the bulk of the video codecs out there.

This still left me with the issue of the actual DVD drive’s firmware; it naturally had region coding enforcement built-in. After a couple weeks of searching forum after forum, it was clear that there was no equivalent program for the Mac that did what DVD Region+CSS Free (and others) could do on the PC.

But here is why having some old tech lying around gathering dust can be a good thing. When I first started buying R2 DVDs, my PC at the time was a cheap eMachine (anyone remember those?) with a DVD-ROM player. It was old enough to have been built without any firmware that enforced region codes. A quick browse of NewEgg.com netted me a nice enclosure to house said drive.

Took out the DVD-ROM from the eMachine and slapped it into the enclosure. Plugged it into the Mac, fired up VLC, and was watching my R2 DVDs on a nice 20” cinema display. It isn’t the prettiest solution (it’s an ugly brick compared to the sleek iMac design), but it works flawlessly. I have another eMachine kicking around with a similar drive… hmm… maybe I should invest $30 more for a spare drive…