Feeds

Tesco slams ‘unnecessary’ DVD zoning

Offers 'easily hackable' multi-region player

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

UK grocer Tesco has launched a one-company war against DVD 'zoning' -- the fixing of DVD players and discs to operate only within specific world markets. In a letter to the president of Warner Home Video, Warren Liebefarb, Tesco world sourcing director Christine Cross dismissed zoning as an "unnecessary practice". She described the regulations as being "against the spirit of free competition and potentially a barrier to trade". Cross' complaint is unlikely to carry much weight with the major movie distributors, including Warner, since they were the very organisations that forced through zoning in the first place by refusing to support the format unless hardware vendors built such a facility into their players. However, the supermarket giant will probably have more luck with its own entry into the DVD market. During a recent sales trial of a DVD player from Cambridge vendor Wharfedale International in three of its stores, Tesco discovered that after a bit of tampering, the machines could be made to play discs from other regions. Even by Wharfedale's own admission, the DEV-750, priced at £179.99, is "easily hackable". "It was not our intention as a manufacturer, but with a few physical adjustments to the machine, it can be made to play discs from Region One," a company representative said. Region One is North America. Under normal circumstances, European and Japanese players, designated Region Two units, will not play US discs -- a shame, since DVDs are cheaper in the US and far more movies have been released in the format over the Atlantic. The culprit is the LSI Logic chip used in the player -- a component used by many manufacturers. Other players, including machines from Samsung, are known to be easily converted to 'Region Zero' -- aka worldwide access -- or to circumvent the zone check altogether, by simply pressing a handful of buttons on the remote control. DVD fans have worked out many ways of converting players for multi-zone playback -- the DVD equivalent of overclocking -- but these usually involved modifications to a player's motherboard. A Tesco spokesman told The Register: "Demand has been massive. We've sold thousands of them since they went on sale on Thursday." In regard to the letter to Hollywood, he added: "We hope that Warner Home Video will decide to end the practice. But our priority now is to keep up with demand for the machines." ® Wharfedale was not permitted to reveal the 'de-zoning' secret of its Wharfedale DVDS-750. The Register would welcome any contributions from readers. Related stories DVD industry is "screwing customers" -- Torvalds DeCCS temporarily banned from the Net

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Microsoft: We're making ONE TRUE WINDOWS to rule us all
Enterprise, Windows still power firm's shaky money-maker
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.