Sunday, October 24, 2010

Play DVDs with any region code on your computer, free

If you are one of the people who are ripping their hair off, trying to find a way to do something to your DVD drive so that it plays any DVD, you are nearing the solution. And it's real simple. The answer is: VLC!

If you don't know, VLC Media Player is a free video and audio player available for Windows, Mac as well as Linux. It's open-source, so it is completely free. It plays every kind of media extension that you can probably think of, and you can even use it to convert media from one format to another. I recently showed you how to create an audio track from any video (like for music videos).

It's probably a little known fact that VLC Media Player can, in most cases, play DVDs from a region code not supported by your drive. In the VideoLAN FAQ, they mention this as an answer to the question "Does VLC support DVDs from all regions?":
"This mostly depends on your DVD drive. Testing it is usually the quickest way to find out. The problem is that a lot of newer drives are RPC2 drives these days. Some of these drives don't allow raw access to the drive untill the drive firmware has done a regioncheck. VLC uses libdvdcss and it needs raw access to the DVD drive to crack the encryption key. So with those drives it is impossible to circumvent the region protection. (This goes for all software. You will need to flash your drives firmware, but sometimes there is no alternate firmware available for your drive). On other RPC2 drives that do allow raw access, it might take VLC a long time to crack the key. So just pop the disc in your drive and try it out, while you get a coffee. RPC1 drives should 'always' work regardless of the regioncode."

 So, just grab a copy of VLC for your computer and fire it up. Remember that this does not work with every disc drive out there, as mentioned above. There is also no hard and fast list of drives supported. You just need to check if this will work for you.
  • Pop in the DVD.
  • If a default player opens, close it.
  • Open up VLC. 
  • Press Ctrl+D, or navigate through the menus and tell VLC to play the disc.
  • In the dialog, make sure that VLC detects the drive with the DVD in and hit Play.
Either it may play, or it may seem like it is not doing anything at all.

Don't worry if it doesn't. Wait for a few minutes. As mentioned in the answer in the FAQ above, the player may require some time to decode the stuff or something. Go take a break from your computer. Help yourself to something. Celebrate. You have finally found a way to play all your DVDs on your computer.

After some time, return to your computer and check. Your movie may be waiting for you. If it does not work, sorry. Your celebration was a waste for now. You need to find a different way. Maybe you can get an external DVD drive or something.

Credit: VideoLAN

Hey, why not head off to and get a few latest movies on DVD? They ship real fast, and also, you'll probably get those latest releases cheaper than anywhere else! Also, now that you know this VLC trick, it doesn't matter on which computer you play them anyway!

Like this article? Go check out my archive for more. There's a lot left to see. Find out how to routine clean your Facebook account, get the best websites for study help or get a Chrome-like omnibar for Firefox.