18 June 2007

Adventures in hacking my DVD player

You wouldn't believe how happy I was when I learned that I was not going to need to shell out anything like the $80-140 I thought I'd have to spend if I wanted to watch a DVD from outside the US. As usual, big organizations don't like to play nice, and our DVD players here in the US don't play non-Region 2 formatted films. I had found a director's cut of Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World from Germany and had been searching for options around town, finding a couple of sources of multi-region DVD players.

But then I discovered a hacking site that offered codes and instructions passed along by folks who had altered the behavior of their video players. I searched for my model in their database of hacks and found people who had successfully reprogrammed their machines using their remote keypads.

I was elated.

I tested it out by pressing a sequence of keys including the first few digits in the number pi, tweaked some memory codes, exited the menu, turned my machine off and on again, and proceeded to watch my five-hour version of Until the End of the World, a completely different film from the one I fell for twenty years ago in a San Francisco theater when it was first released in the States.

Some perverse instinct grabbed me recently and I changed some of the codes using the remote, but I did it stupidly and removed the ability of the remote to fast forward and rewind at varying speeds and instead only worked to advance or return to the beginnings of chapters.

I hacked again, for the last time, and the remote worked properly again. I breathed a sigh of relief and shut the machine off.

Curiosity: you know, it can get you far, but it can also send you over the edge.

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