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Published by under categories Bilingual Baby, Chinese Cartoon DVDs, From Lina | comments Comments (2)

I often received inquiries from customers about the region of the DVDs in my online bookstore. Some of the DVDs in the Chinese cartoon DVDs are region-free, some are not. Most DVDs in the Chinese movie DVDs are region-6, so they cannot be played in most DVD player in the US and Canada which are region-1.

A lot of times, customers expressed great interest in some bilingual/trilingual DVDs. But once they find out these DVDs are region specific, they stop coming back.

I am wondering, why not just purchasing a region-free DVD player? It is much harder to find a region-free DVD disc from a foreign country than to find a region-free DVD player in the US.

A region-free DVD player can play DVD discs from anywhere in the world including Region 1-8. Lots of players can play Pal, NTSC, and Secam DVDs and many will convert Pal, NTSC, and Secam so you can play any foreign movie on a local TV. And it is can be as cheap as $36.98 on Amazon, like this Samsung All Region-Free Code Free EZ View Progressive Scan DVD Player.

With a little bit more features such as “110-240 volts for worldwide use”, “high definition HDMI interface”, “DivX Compatible” and “USB Input”, you can find an International HDMI 1080p Region-Free DVD Player at merely $59.99.

Samsung All Region Free Code Free EZ View Progressive Scan DVD Player with USB - Play any Region 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 International HDMI 1080p Region Free DVD Player
Samsung All Region Free Code Free EZ View Progressive Scan DVD Player International HDMI 1080p Region-Free DVD Player

Even a top-rank brand-name Blu-ray region-free DVD players only costs you $129.99 (like this Toshiba BDX1200 Region-Free Blu-ray DVD Player). It can play Standard DVD discs and Blu-ray DVDs in the region A (with optional B & C regional playback). With a little bit more money, you can own a Toshiba BDX1250RF Region-Free Blu-ray DVD Player which is guaranteed to play any Region Blu-ray or standard DVD on any TV!

Toshiba BDX1200 Region Free Blu-ray DVD Player Toshiba BDX1250RF Region Free Blu-ray DVD Player
Toshiba BDX1200 Region-Free Blu-ray DVD Player Toshiba BDX1250RF Region-Free Blu-ray DVD Player

I understand why people don’t want to spend extra if they already have a functional DVD player. I had a similar experience. When I found out my Philips DVD player cannot play those region-6 DVDs, my first response was “maybe I can find some software online to make it work”

I keyed in “free DVD region converter software” into Google and did some research. I did find some shareware and freeware. First, I need to download these freeware onto my computer and install them on my hard drive. Next, to use these freeware, I have to copy the movie files from the DVD onto my computer, use the software to strip the region codes and then burn the files back onto a new DVD disc.

I tried on one freeware. It made my DVD-ROM disappear. I tried on another freeware. My DVD-ROM still existed, but I had endless trouble to burn the files onto a new DVD disc and make it functional on a TV.

The third one, called DVD Region Killer, enables me to play DVD titles made for different regions on my PC. But it requires my DVD-ROM drive is region free. There is a problem! Because my computer DVD-ROM Drive is set as region 1!!

After numerous trials and tons of frustrations, I gave up freeware. I found a professional software named DVDFab Passkey for DVD. It acclaims to remove all the DVD copy protections and get rid of region code troubles. It looks like a nice product. But it costs $40.

Besides, it only works on standard DVD. To rip the region code on Blu-ray DVD, I need to purchase another software called DVDFab PassKey for Blu-ray, which costs me another $50.

DVDFab Passkey for DVD DVDFab PassKey for Blu-ray
DVDFab Passkey for DVD DVDFab PassKey for Blu-ray

That is a total of $90 dollars for me to spend. And it is not convenient. Imagine I just receive a new cartoon/movie DVD from China and am thrilled to share with children. Oh, wait, I have to convert the region code first. If I am lucky, I can burn the movie onto a new DVD disc without problems. If not, sorry for the waiting!

So, I went on and bought a LG Region-Free Blu-Ray DVD Player. It plays any Regions of DVDs (regions 1-8 & RCE/REA), any region of Blu-Ray Discs (regions A, B, and C). It operates with any voltage for global use (110-240 volts), with PAL to NTSC Conversion built in. It is Wi-Fi ready and can stream media via Netflix, YouTube and more. It plays CD, AVCHD, MP3, WMA, Divx, Mpeg4, MKV, Avi, and etc. It has HDMI out with 1080p 24fps up-scaling. And it has frontal USB 2.0 Input.

And I paid a total of $165 for it, shipping included.

What do you think?

Is a region-free DVD player is a must-have for multilingual families? Do you know any other options? Feel free to share in the comments below. We love to save money!

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Updated: After finishing this post ,I publised two questions on Multicultural Kid Blogs and Raising multilingual children.

I asked parents:

1. A region-free DVD player is a must-have for multilingual families. Do you agree?
2. It is much harder to find a region-free DVD disc from a foreign country than to find a region-free DVD player in the US. How about other countries?

And I received quite a few interesting and useful comments which may benefit you.

These are comments from Multicultural Kid Blogs:

Cordelia Newlin de Rojas YES! and for expat families.

Annika Bourgogne I agree. I also recommend investing in a VPN service to be able to watch TV from your minority language country.

Annabelle Humanes We have an Apple TV box! Ideal as we can buy films, cartoons etc in the UK, France, Portugal and Germany.

Julie Ap We’re not big tv watchers, but suddenly I’m intrigued. I’ve never heard of VPN service. Annika Bourgogne, is there a monthly fee? Is it expensive? How about the Apple TV box, Annabelle Humanes? Is that a one-time purchase, or an ongoing fee, or a purchase then an ongoing fee?

Annabelle Humanes It is a one off purchase, something like 99USD and then you can buy or rent films, series, cartoons, etc. it works with itunes but instead of buying music, you buy films. Of course you can also hack films! No ongoing fee.

Stephen Greene Just type the name of your DVD player and the serial code into Google and you’ll get a code you can input into your DVD via your remote control.  This code willl hack your DVD to make it region free.  I have done this with both cheap and expensive DVD players and the only problem I have ever had was with a Sony one.

Annika Bourgogne Julie Ap You can find VPN providers online, ours cost 50 euros a year and gives us a French IP address and access to French online content like replay TV. We really love it!

Galina Nikitina I just looked up VPN online. It is very interesting, one can have 3 month subscription for 6,66 euros/month. I used anonymous, but it was not always working well with ZDF mediathek. We used PC to play DVDs.

Julie Ap Wow, thanks for all the great info! (Of course, it’s going to take hubby to figure out how to do any of this. I’d still be turning a dial to change channels if technology were up to me.) These options sound much more reasonably priced than I would have guessed. I see some international movie watching in my future!

Tara Campbell We bought one online best ever! You need it for travel long flights.

Lina Dickson Annabelle Humanes, the DVDs you bought from UK, France, Portugal and Germany are region-free or has their perticular region codes?

Lina Dickson Stephen Greene:Unfortunately, my old DVD player cannot be hacked. I scrutinized the list very carefully. You are the lucky one!

Amanda Boyar I can relate… We kept our really old laptop for another region DVD’s and it has died and now some awesome DVD’s lay waiting for something to play them.

Annabelle Humanes Europe is just one region.

Lina Dickson Annabelle Humanes, great for Europe!! I hope the whole world can be just one region. Why DVD manufacturers makes it so difficult? A quest for money??

These are comments from Raising multilingual children:

Jonathan Ervine This is a really interesting question and post, Lina. I agree to a large extent about the importance of a region-free DVD player, but we manage to get round this as we’re able to play DVDs from any region on our laptop. Our DVD player isn’t multi-region and I think multi-region DVD players can often be quite expensive here in the UK. In a multimedia age, I think we’re in a situation where relying on a single type of device (e.g. TV, DVD, video player) may become rarer and rarer as it becomes possible to view content across a range of different platforms (TV, computer, tablets, smartphones, MP3/MP4 players).

Lina Dickson I agree with you Jonathan Ervine. We need to make good use of multiple media to make the bilingual learning and teaching more interesting. I just think a TV will be better medium for three children to share without fighting to be the next one. 🙂

Annabelle Humanes I couldn’t agree more with Jonathan Ervine. There are so many other options out there. With tablets and computers, you don’t need an expensive DVD player and expensive DVDs. We use an Apple TV. It is a small box and we can buy films (or even rent) for much cheaper than DVDs and watch them in English, French, Portuguese and German.

Stephen Greene We bought the cheapest possible DVD player here in Brazil.  If you go to Google and type in the brand name and the serial code you can find a hack for any DVD player except for Sony.  The hack usually just involves pressing a few numbers on your remote control and then, hey presto, you have a region free DVD player.

Lina Dickson Really? Annabelle. I think situation maybe a little bit different from the US to Europe. It is good to know. If I can find a place to rent region-free cartoon DVDs in Chinese or in other languages (like French, German), I will be thrilled to sign in. Anybody knows that information please update it to me. Thanks!

Stephen Greene For example http://www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks

Annabelle Humanes Apple tv also exists in the USA. It is international.

Angela Jane Hundley It is so easy to find inexpensive region-free DVD players online – Amazon has them!  And with every laptop we’ve ever had (no matter if it was bought in the US or in Italy), they were made so that we had to choose which region DVDs we wanted to watch – and once we selected a region, it was locked into that region.  I know there is probably some way around that, but for us, having a portable region-free DVD player was the best option.  Also, we don’t own a TV (we refuse to pay the yearly tax), so the various satellite services aren’t an option for us!

Lina Dickson Stephen Greene: Before buying the region-free DVD player, I tried on that website you shared and looked very carefully for the hacking code for my DVD player. Rats! The manufacturer of my DVD player is so smart that my DVD player cannot be hacked!I ended up buying a region-free one to replace it. But your inforamtion will be useful for other friends. Who doesn’t want to save?:-)

Lina Dickson Annabelle Humanes, I googled the APPLE TV. Does it play any DVD with any region code?

Sarah Dodson-Knight I do most of my TV and movie-watching via Netflix’s streaming service–but that means that I can’t opt to change the language of the soundtrack or read captions in other languages (something I used to do to practice my French).  I have an old laptop set up to play region 2 DVDs, though, because if I hacked my newer computer to be able to play region 2 ones, it seemed like after a while I wouldn’t be able to play the region 1 DVDs any more.

Annabelle Humanes Lina Dickson Apple TV is not a DVD player, it is a small box to purchase or rent films, music, tv series, etc.

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  1. 1
    Stephen Greene // October 18th, 2013 at 8:28 am

    If you type the name of the DVD player and the serial number into Google and then also type ‘crack’ you’ll get a number you can use to hack your DVD. You usually input the number using your remote control and it will make your DVD player region free. I have tried this with cheap and expensive players and the only problem I have ever had was with a Sony one.

  2. 2
    Lina // October 18th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    @Stephen: Unfortunately, my old DVD player cannot be hacked. I scrutinized the list very carefully. You are the lucky one! But your inforamtion will be useful for other friends. Who doesn’t want to save?:-)

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