I’m from England, I also travel a lot to other parts of the world – South America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and Asia. Sometimes I buy DVDs in those places that are not available in the USA.
Currently those DVDs are coasters because of the abject stupidity and closed-mindedness of the various DVD hardware and software companies in the US. The rest of the world gave up on this region malarky quite some time ago – if I go to buy a DVD player in the areas listed above chances are it will be region free. But here in the USA (“home of the free?”) I am unable to buy one of those through normal channels, or change my DVD player to read and play them, or use any one of my multiple computers to play them. I almost resorted to changing the DVD drive region on my laptop to Region 2 (even though that would now exclude region 3 and 6 content), but apparently I can’t even do that, although I am supposed to have 4 of my 5 changes available.
Let me be very clear – these are bought and paid for DVDs from airport and high street retailers in foreign countries. They are content that is UNAVAILABLE in the US or Canada (and, FYI, they are travel, music, comedy, and TV shows; nothing else). I truly don’t understand why my choices to play legally obtained content are:
1. Purchase grey-market “region-free” DVD player from dodgy online retailer at huge markup.
2. Download multiple different software packages and attempt to extract, rip, convert, and burn DVDs that may or may not then work in my DVD player.
3. Download dodgy “firmware flash” programs to modify the firmware on my laptop DVD player – invalidating the warranty and causing who knows what other issues.
4. Attempt to obtain illegally torrented versions of this content online.
None of these options are attractive to me. I really wish the MPAA or whomever is responsible for these asinine restrictions could explain what someone whose interests lie beyond the shit shoveled through network TV in the US can do legally to play overseas DVDs in the US.
I’ll keep digging on this and when I find a reasonable option, I’ll be very happy to share it.