Feeds

Tesco slams ‘unnecessary’ DVD zoning

Offers 'easily hackable' multi-region player

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.