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      Warner's Regional Code Enhancement (RCE)

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    Author Topic:   Warner's Regional Code Enhancement (RCE)
    Edge
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 155
    From:Sunnyvale, CA
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 10-15-2000 11:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Edge   Click Here to Email Edge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    Recent internal documents from Warner Bros. have testified to the development of a new software technology that is bound to raise questions with some of the folks out there.

    With this technology Warner will “enhance the capabilities of the regional code specification for DVD," according to the document. “This program is a response to the unauthorized practice of altering DVD video hardware players so that they bypass the region code requirements for DVD. This is happening on a more frequent basis in many territories, and retailers are openly marketing these non-complying players with names such as region free and multi zone,” it goes on to say.

    The technology itself is embedded code within the bitstream of the DVD that detects whether or not the player has been altered. If the player has been modified, as all region-free players are, the disc will refuse to play. The program will "instead display a message on the television advising the consumer that the machine is not authorized to play this disc.” Throughout the playing of disc, region-free players will display the following message: “THIS DVD PLAYER MAY HAVE BEEN ALTERED AND IS UNABLE TO PLAY THIS DISC. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS DISC. DVD PLAYERS AND DISCS ARE DESIGNED TO WORK IN CERTAIN REGIONS; THIS DISC IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THIS PLAYER. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL RETAILER OR PLAYER MANUFACTURER FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.”

    Those of you who have purchased region free players will have something to worry about in the future. The majority of region-free owners are those outside of the US importing Region 1 discs because studios tend to take their time in releasing titles to areas outside of the United States.

    A large portion of us who use standard unmodified players can disregard this, however keeping this in mind should one be leaning in the direction of purchasing a region free DVD player.

    Should this move prove worthwhile, we should expect to see Warner running in the front of a long line of studios adopting their own form of a similar technology. Of course, being "worthwhile" may take longer than one may think.

    It is really only a matter of time until a new set of players are released to bypass this technology (which is still in its testing phase, according to Warner). Similar "black boxes" have been developed to bypass macrovision which is also delivered in the same manner as embedded code in the bitstream. Is it this liklihood that will determine whether following suit will be worthwhile to other studios.

    Of course, most of all, this manuever by Warner can be seen as a stumbling block that will, if anything, force region-free users to spend more money (for new hardware) in order to continue purchasing more DVDs out of their own region. Of course, many people will not be willing to buy another region-free player just for Warner Bros. titles, but there will certainly be those who would rather throw down the dollars rather than wait for the title to be released in their own region. If even more studios follow, the chances for people purchasing new region-free player to combat this move will likely increase.

    Anyone with thoughts on this?

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    nthooze
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 41
    From:aptos, CA, 95003
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 10-17-2000 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for nthooze   Click Here to Email nthooze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    Where do I start? First off it's true that there will always be a black market response to such security measures, the leap frog game will go on forever. Next this is a new world we're living in, the entertainment industry and primarly the labels seem to be the ones fighting this reality the fearsist. With Internet shopping and Fed Ex delivery around the world in a matter of days the idea of a region code at all seems silly. The control that the studios are trying so desperatly do keep is slipping through their fingers. The technology is getting the better of them, working agenst them rather than for them. Just like with napster people seem to have no inhabitions to 'cheat' in order to get their hands on materials at a reasonable price, and in a reasonable time frame. Now why is that? Well maybe the labels should look hard at them selves and decide if this war they are waging with thier customers over total control is worth it. Or maybe, they need to adapt and go with the flow, find ways of using the modern sytems in place to better serve their customers across the globe. And if they looked at their market as a single global entity they could surely drop prices to reasonable levels, provide singular releases for all people and generate even more cash flow than these silly games are providing. Also they would surely regain the respect of their customers who would no longer feel manipulated and gauged.

    [This message has been edited by nthooze (edited 10-17-2000).]

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    mitch316
    Lackey

    Posts: 2
    From:
    Registered: Oct 2000

    posted 10-19-2000 12:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mitch316   Click Here to Email mitch316     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    the news on rce is very bad for me.living in england the main reason i bought a dvd player was for region 1 discs.i can order these off the internet earlier and cheaper than region 2.it now means i will have to wait for a new mod chip and then pay out to have it fitted

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    nthooze
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 41
    From:aptos, CA, 95003
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 10-20-2000 12:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nthooze   Click Here to Email nthooze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    It all seems so silly. People are still free to have 2 DVD players one region 1 one region 2, and who does that serve? Well the player mfr. I suppose. But it doesn't do a thing for the label. This old fashoned thinking has to go. It's obvious to me there is an old and out of touch power structure making these decisions. With time they will have to adapt.

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    codestah
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 121
    From:San Jose, California USA
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 10-20-2000 02:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for codestah   Click Here to Email codestah     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    First and foremost, I agree: with each new copy/access prevention technology comes a new hack - In decades of intelligent software and equipment design, I'm fairly certain that only a COUPLE have proven hack-proof. And those were designed by hacking experts and then publicly requested pro hackers to try and get into them for proof. Some hackers received "honorable mention" but noone got the grand prize. The point is - this is a RARE situation, and if Warner thinks they're going to replicate the results with their technologically simplistic ideas, they've got another thing coming.

    But at the SAME time: more power to `em. The studios have a legitimate reason for regional encoding - to reduce (originally to eliminate, but THAT fell through) the flow of localized distribution to zones where they did not wish pre-mature release in international marketing coordination efforts. Quite simply - they don't want American Beauty DVD available in England when the movie hasn't even been released there yet - the DVD could destroy their England box-office sales, still a primary source of income for the studios.

    So what's the solution? My suggestion: more timely film distribution to international markets - if Warner could coordinate international release dates for films in theaters, then they could at the same time coordinate world-wide DVD releases on a subsequent date without any concern with what countries have the film in theaters, etc.

    Will this ever happen? Not for a decade, I'm sure. In the business world - and face it, Hollywood IS a business - many long-lived business such as the entertainment industry, function on old-world models. They continue to follow the same distribution and business practices that were developed for the company in 1955. But in today's electronic age, the demand for media, entertainment and content is NOW, TODAY. The studios will have to come up with new operational models which can appease growing public, international demand for their product, or just plain have to deal with people trying to bypass the system. There is plenty of evidence that the studios are operating under these old style models too - just take the Internet, for example: try getting ahold of one of these studio reps via email and see how quickly you get a response - I'd wager that you will receive faster satisfaction by mailing a letter or picking up the phone. The studios simply aren't equipped to handle volume, fast, smart, now.

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    Edge
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 155
    From:Sunnyvale, CA
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 10-20-2000 03:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Edge   Click Here to Email Edge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    RCE's trip to store shelves will happen sooner than we thought.

    The following screen shot was forwarded to me indicating that it occurred when Columbia / TriStar's 'Patriot (Special Edition) was used in a modified player.

    Not only is it now through testing phases and arriving on shelves - we have seen that studios other than Warner will be implementing this into their releases.

    One thing I will definitely be doing this weekend is taking our copy of 'Patriot' and loading it into my Sony 7000 player ... one of the few that arrived from the manufacturer with switches enabling it to play DVDs from any region. I'm curious to see the reaction with this combination.

    - mf

    [This message has been edited by Edge (edited 10-20-2000).]

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    codestah
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 121
    From:San Jose, California USA
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 10-20-2000 03:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for codestah   Click Here to Email codestah     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    Yes well.. speaking of the Sony 7000, one of the things that bothers me about Warner's development of this "technology" is as follows:

    Being on the disc, it sounds like (yes, purely speculation) the solution they've come up with is a sort of authoring/scripting solution, and a fundamental aspect of this idea working is: DVD players have to accurately perform the operations their script requests it to do - remember the S7000 couldn't even accurately Follow The White Rabbit on the Matrix (a WB title, if you recall) - what makes them think their protection script will run properly on that or any of the other numberous models which had problems implementing that portion of their code?

    my concern is - those of us who have 1st generation players are not SINNERS.. we're consumers who bought an early DVD player because we believed in the technology - what if The Patriot pops up and says "sorry, your're screwed" - they're gonna tell us to take a hike? tell us we have to buy a new player? pointing the finger doesn't help to promote consumer satisfaction...

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    mitch316
    Lackey

    Posts: 2
    From:
    Registered: Oct 2000

    posted 11-15-2000 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mitch316   Click Here to Email mitch316     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    patriot plays fine om my uk multi region player so rce doesnt work cool or what!

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    Sean Kelly
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 129
    From:San Jose, California USA
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 11-17-2000 09:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sean Kelly   Click Here to Email Sean Kelly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    I have yet to check it on a region-free Creative DXR2 w/2xDVD - glad to hear failures of a positive note.. *ahem*

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    Marc Flemming
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 155
    From:Sunnyvale, CA
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 11-26-2000 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Flemming   Click Here to Email Marc Flemming     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    Yes - RCE has dropped out of the limelight, but there were reprecussions felt.

    Not only were many multi-region players affected (consider yourselves lucky if you had no probs), some Region 1 players had problems. I don't have specifics on which players at this time...

    - Marc

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    Sean Kelly
    Big Cheese

    Posts: 129
    From:San Jose, California USA
    Registered: Dec 99

    posted 11-27-2000 10:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Sean Kelly   Click Here to Email Sean Kelly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    I have heard two separate indications that The Patriot does not play on a Samsung (unknown model) DVD player - whether or not this is directly attributed to the RCE I cannot say for certain, but rules of speculation dictate that it is probably so. The Samsung has few problems with other recent releases. If RCE is to blame, this strengthens my standpoint and shakes a finger in the face of Warner...

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    chris trad
    Lackey

    Posts: 1
    From:Taipei, Taiwan
    Registered: Mar 2001

    posted 03-02-2001 05:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for chris trad   Click Here to Email chris trad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
    I own a region-free dvd player in Taiwan and I paid US$30 to make it region-free.why?
    first, I can watch new movie while it is still play in the theater in Taiwan.

    second, believe it or not, we (region-3) don't have the DTS dvd which really piss me off, after all these money i have spend on a DTS system.
    This is why I am using a region-free dvd player, and to be honest, i dont care how are you going to stop us from doing it, we will find the way out....I wont let my home theater become a piece of junk because of your RCE or whatever it will be.
    second, is it just dvd that cause this probelm? how about video tapes and vcds?
    further more, it's in English, therer are few people like me (in my country) that can make the whole movie through in english subtitle without falling asleep....I tried and it worked. I was the only one who was awake when the fat lady sings.....

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