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DVD Region Code Hell

So, I got this DVD and wanted to play it on a MacBook Pro (Mid 2009) - but what's this? A Drive Region chooser pops up, prompting me to set the "correct" DVD region for this DVD. And indeed, I've seen this chooser before and remember setting it to region 2 (Europe) a long time ago. Now this Drive Region window tells me that I have only 4 changes left, then the "region code" could not be changed any more.

What? I don't play a lot DVDs on this computer and while I've heard of "region codes" I thought this was a thing of the past and nowadays it was considered impractical to enforce or even honor this ridiculous craziness. Apparently not.

Of course, in most cases one can just kill the Drive Region chooser and use VLC to play the DVD, but this time VLC just couldn't play it. To put this stupidity to an end I decided to resort to more drastic measures. After all, I bought this DVD and I intended to buy even more DVDs, from all over the world - and I don't want to have to deal with shenanigans like "DVD region codes".

Searching the net on how to accomlish that brings quite a few results, but many of them are horribly dated (PowerPC Macs, remember those? :-)) or stop halfway how to actually get rid of this nonsense. After reading through a few related posts, here's how I did it.

We have to patch the firmware of the DVD drive our Mac was equipped with:
$ system_profiler -detailLevel mini | grep -A4 ^Disc
Disc Burning:
    MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-868:
      Firmware Revision: KB19
      Interconnect: ATAPI
Luckily, able people have already done this and provided tools and firmware images to accomplish this. Unfortunately, their links often lead to strange places and are not always accurate (any more). For your (and mine) convenience, I set up a small mirror site for these tools.

Grab MatshitaFlasher_0.6.zip and unzip it. The newer version, MatshitaFlasher.zip (Version 2.01) did not work and exited with:
  fatal: Selected drive (null) does not appear to be a matshita device
We also need the correct firmware for our device. In my case, I needed the one called UJ-868_KB19_Stock_RPC1 for this "MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-868" DVD drive. Grab it and unzip it.

With all that in place, we can finally start flashing. Make sure there is no disk in the drive!
$ unzip MatshitaFlasher_0.6.zip
$ cd MatshitaFlasher\ 0.6.app/Contents/Resources
$ unzip ~/UJ-868_KB19_Stock_RPC1.zip

$ sudo ./simple_flash 0 UJ-868_KB19_Stock_RPC1/KB19_rpc1.dat
compiled at Apr 14 2011 22:33:18
Selected device: MATSHITADVD-R   UJ-868  KB1
Continue? y
Finished

$ echo $?
0
The flashing took about 30 seconds to complete. Afterwards (and without a reboot!), the DVD could be played without the nag screen, just as I would've expected in the first place.

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The other day my neighbor came over and asked me if it was possible to make a copy of a DVD, and then burn the copy to a blank DVD, so that it can be played in a DVD player. I rarely use DVDs and my current computer doesn't even have a DVD drive anymore,

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KBE58 on :

Thanks for providing a copy of the zip files as finding a working link to MatshitaFlasher 0.6 is a struggle!. I had a same issues with MF V2.0 and V2.1 under Mac OS 10.6.8 and was close to giving up on this. BTW: For those not familiar with Unix commands you can just drag the xxx_rpc1.dat file onto the MatshitaFlasher App Icon and the Terminal session will open. Enter y when asked and wait for the script to do it's job (about 1 minute for me). To verify the firmware update has worked I used DVD Info X (I had to find V3 for it to recognise a DVD drive existed on my Unibody MacBook Pro) Cheers Kevin

Anonymous on :

OMG THANKS! Same problem, 0.6 works like a charm!

Harry on :

You champion! After wading through far too many sites with broken links to MatshitaFlasher 0.6, I've finally downloaded it here. Got the right firmware and RegionX and now I can play all my DVDs from different zones. Well done! Harry.

Paul on :

You are a savior! I just spent an hour trolling all the broken links the MatshitaFlasher 0.6 and I finally found your mirror. Thank you!

Ian on :

*you* are a *genius* !!! *thank you* 1000 times man...!! now i can watch my dvd from the us in europe! :D

Gabriel on :

I'm on a mid 2012 MB Pro 15" (MacBookPro9,1), running OSX 10.7.5 and it worked fine! BTW, thanks A LOT for providing the 0.6... Cheers!

muzikphan on :

Thanks a lot for the valuable information and for providing the MatshitaFlasher 0.6 zip file, which, just as KBE58 mentioned, is very difficult to find. Everything finally worked great here! Thanks once again.

Miriam on :

My MBPro with OSX10.7.5 tels me that the MatshitaFlasher_0.6 is a PowerPC programme and cannot be opened. Everyone else has got it working - what can I be doing wrong? I downloaded from your mirror page. Any help appreciated. Cheers Miriam

Christian on :

Hm, the "simple_flash" binary inside the MatshitaFlasher_0.6.zip package does indeed serve two architectures: [code] $ file simple_flash simple_flash: Mach-O fat file with 2 architectures: [ I386: Mach-O i386 executable ] [ : Mach-O ppc_7400 executable ] [/code] On my MBP with 10.7.5 it does the "Right Thing" and executes the i386 part. Do you have this PowerPC emulator ("Rosetta"?) installed? I don't, but if you have, maybe it's playing some tricks here. What's the MD5 sum of your "simple_flash"? it's ae881ce88f0e4f63d2e74d3e4edc0384 over here.

Lanz on :

We have the same problem but I solved it by following this LINK http://hypinionated.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/flashing-a-macs-disk-drive/#more-15 It works like a charm. Thanks to Christian for giving the link for Matshitaflasher app. I can't find the said app on the link I've given above but I found it in this site. Great great great job christian. It saved me a lot of money!!!! I'm glad God sent you in this world :)

matSHITsa on :

thanks - I stuffed around trying all sorts of work arounds, virtual boxes and other such nerdery - 0.6 sorted it out first time.

fedtho on :

After reading various tutorials, all dated 2010 and earlier, I found this. THIS IS THE ONE THAT HELPS if you have a Macbook Pro with OSX 10.7.5 ! The magical trick is accessing the Content/Ressources folder of the 0.6 flasher (without 0.6, it won't do.) Uhm... also, if, like me, you happened to create a folder INSIDE your Downloads folder to have all your Firmware flashing tools together, but don't include the name of that new folder in the command lines, your system won't be able to access said files... duh!!! Yes, I haven't written command lines since MS-DOS, I'm that old ;-) I had to go through a bit of a learning process in writing commands into the terminal, as it is all perfectly logical, but my Mac did a few itsybitsy tiny things DIFFERENT than the command lines the tutorial stated. I urge everyone who can't get the flashing to work to look out for the EXACT name of the unzipped file; after executing the unzip command for the ...rpc-1 zip file, I got this: creating: UJ-898_HE13_Stock_RPC1/ inflating: UJ-898_HE13_Stock_RPC1/MATSHITADVD-R___UJ-898__HE13.dat inflating: UJ-898_HE13_Stock_RPC1/MATSHITADVD-R___UJ-898__HE13_RPC1.dat Can you spot it? My terminal inserted TWO '_' instead of ONE between 'UJ-898' and 'HE13'... so copying/pasting the command line as stated in the tutorial didn't work! I finally got it right, thoug. ***HUGE thanks*** to CHRISTIAN for this one and only walkthrough!

Steveio on :

Please can anyone help me unlock my region code for macbook pro. Matshita DVD R UJ 898 HC 10? The setps and break down in how to??

B on :

It doesn't work on my MacBookPro 10.7.5 The link to the flasher is okay, but it won't unzip. Seems the PowerPC is no longer accepted on my computer. Damn. Angry that I cannot watch legally purchased DVD… these are reasons pirates exist.

Christian on :

What do you mean with "it won't unzip"? And what does that have to do with PowerPC? There's no MacBook Pro with PowerPC. Confused....

Lu on :

Dude...THANK YOU. You have no idea (...or mabe you do!) of how many hours and how much research I did on this and couldn't figure it out. After I downloaded ALL the files and pieced together all the information that fkn Matshita flasher was not working...but you provided the correct file, that is truly AMAZING!!! THANK YOU!

Lu on :

Beside my thank you note, I also want to add some help for UNZIPPING the flasher through terminal, cause that's what I did instead, as I noticed people are having trouble: 1. Open the Terminal. (Search for it in Launchpad or Spotlight [the little magnifying glass in your menu bar…]. 2.Now ctrl-click or right-click the Matshita app you downloaded before and choose “Show Package Contents”. Double-click “Contents”, double-click “Resources” and drag and drop the file “simple_flash” file into the Terminal window 3. Type “zero space” (0 ) into the Terminal and drag and drop the firmware file you downloaded into the window (in my case it was the UJ-868..ecc..) 4. Hit enter and WAIT, do not close the Terminal window! 5. It will ask you, if you want to “Continue?” Type “y” and hit enter. Again, this will take a while, but should eventually say “Finished”. Now just use Region X to set the region to NOT SET. Enjoy!

Christian on :

Thanks for the comments, Lu - and I'm glad it helped! :-)

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