Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Skeleton Key: Using VLC to Unlock Foreign Region Coded Discs

So you come into Videotheque regularly; or, perhaps you simply stumbled in through the door one evening and found yourself, to your not quite muted surprise, amongst the fine and wonderfully eclectic, though thoughtfully selected, film catalogue of our little establishment. However you became acquainted with us, if you have spent any time in Videotheque then you have probably noticed or picked up a box like this: and perhaps, upon seeing such a box you were overcome with a modicum of excitement and exclaimed to yourself or out loud, “My God! I've always wanted to view Czech Maestro Frantisek Vlacil's masterpiece Marketa Lazarova but was never aware that it was available on a home video format here upon our region 1 coded shores!”. Before, upon further inspection, eyeing a label like this: and upon glancing such a label, you deflated like a timid flan and replaced the box upon the wall, kicked a scuff upon the floor and exclaimed, because you are in that exclaiming-sorta-mood, “Ahhh, well, maybe it will be released sometime in the next 15 years or 20...”. If you have ever had an experience like this or have been keen on delving into the deep end of European cinema then mourn no more for we have the tool to stoke the flame of your melancholic heart. And it's incredibly simple. There is a program afloat on the high-web you can download by the name of VLC Media Player. There are many of you out there who have probably used the player before and if you are at all like us, have been amazed by the sheer variety and vast quantity of media files it can play. But, did you know that it doesn't give one flip about region coding? VLC can actually read through region locking, allowing you to play any DVD from any country you'd like on your computer. That's great news for those of us who haven't a multi-region DVD player. A further benefit for those with a PC Laptop is that many of the newer models come with an HDMI hookup which allows you to view the films on your HDTV! Sure, its a hoop or two to jump through but its at the bottom of the scale as far as pain intensive tech solutions are concerned. Here is the link for VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html), it is available for both PC and Mac and best of all its completely free! However, if you are feeling generous you can donate a couple of dollars to keep the wonderful people at VideoLAN working on solving any and all media bumps we may come across in our travels. Here also is a video demonstration by a lovely man demonstrating the program on a Mac (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1SrwcHOMcA). So, grab the program, Stop by the store, And grab an import. Happy Viewings! * Don't forget to pop by the store and check out the recommended section we have devoted to Region 1 unfriendly titles!

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