View Full Version : Question for Technophiles
2002-09-17, 08:34 PM
Good day. I am in the market for a stereo and/or a DVD player and would like to find out some information about compatability in N.A. I know that basically they won't work 100% at home because of the voltage difference(even though the plugs are the same) but is there a voltage adaptor I can buy that will allow it to work in N.A.?
Are international usage stereos/DVD players available at EDEN or YAMADA or do I have to go to Akihabara in Tokyo?
Also , I heard that DVD movies are either in international or local format. Is this true? Does that mean that a DVD movie I buy here can not be played on my friends player in N.A.?
I would like to buy something soon and would appreciate some advice or hints or suggestions in this area. I just don't want to buy something that I can't use at home.
2002-09-17, 08:50 PM
N.A.??? North America I suppose - write it properly. Presume you mean US and/ or Canada.
Current DVD coding - USA is region I (don't know if Canada is too, but guess it could be), Japan is region II - and unless you buy a region free machine, (modified) they won't work. There is no regional compatibility, unless you modify your player. They are available to order in most areas.
You can blame Hollywood and RIAA for this!
Voltage is not an issue - most makers allow +10% variation, and usually you see 100/110V or 220/240V. 50/60Hz only mattered for certain turntables.
FM Tuners are also a no-no, as Japanese band is lower than US/ European bands. make sure you get a NA band model.
Akihabara or DenDen Town have duty free models, but only at the specific duty free stores. Other stores don't want the hassle of the paperwork for just a few customers.
2002-09-19, 11:37 AM
Actually you may need a voltage regulator, maybe a reverse type "A", for the North American area. There are differences in grounding and in throughput between the U.S. and Japan. Luckily many companies have made universal voltage regulators built into the transformers of most electronics....but be careful....my laptop computers are an example.....go to Yodobashi Camera and look at voltage regulators/converters based on type, usually in the travel section. or make sure your equipment really is stocked with a universal voltage regulator. Also DVD's between markets are locked out, can't "Blame" anybody, just common sense in terms of market protections and copyright security. As for a DVD player, don't try modifications in hardware. This person is talking about buying modified players, and these are done by hardware hacks, but they are really unstabe and there is NO universal standard. One movie may play, while another will not. Also you can damge your DVD player. If you need to get a hacked player, use a PC and the DivX Codec. You can find the DivX Codec's online. Well that is all, bye !
2002-09-19, 12:58 PM
Dear Conned - interesting post and good info on voltages. FYI - a few friends have been running "hardware modified" DVD players from Shinbashi and Akihabara town without any problems; we have not found a DVD from a region that will not play yet, or maybe we are just lucky? We are not copying, just sharing films on a personal level, like you might do with a book.
"Also DVD's between markets are locked out, can't "Blame" anybody, just common sense in terms of market protections and copyright security." Is this the real reason? So that if I up and move out of Japan to another region, all my genuine, legally purchased DVDs become unplayable and must be replaced, unless I either keep my Japanese region player and convert it to a different voltage, or get a local hardware hacked model. And of course I cannot lend them to friends in that country. And I cannot send a Japanese DVD as a gift to anyone outside of region 2. Is sharing now to be restricted? Why are DVDs produced with multiple languages if they cannot be used in those areas?
It seems that DVDs are the only product that is deliberately produced not to work on a regional basis. Other products with high intellectual property/ ease of copying/ large investment costs/ copyright issues such as medicines and software are available worldwide, though sometimes at different prices, and sometimes delayed due to import and regulatory timetables. Video and audio tapes work and are sold worldwide, despite NTSC/PAL format differences, and are just as easily copied, though they are subject to slight generation degradation that digital media avoid.
I think the marketing and copyright issues are separate, and that the regionalisation is limiting sales, and certainly causing problems for those people who move around. By their nature, the life cycle of media is very short and intense, people generally like to see new films and buy the ones that they like, and sales should be maximised, not restricted. Having global organisations promoting, advertising and selling media worldwide, but then applying restrictions to the use does seem a contradiction in terms.
Look forward to any comments
2002-09-19, 02:46 PM
I think this is a slight misunderstanding of technology implementation and the linear nature of format innovations. You said that DVD's are the only format that has a regional lockout feature, and that other formats do not (i.e. CD-ROM's, Video/Audio Casettes, etc...) do not. This is just due to the fact that these technologies are much older and much more easily copied. When audio casettes came out the record industry wanted to see a common format reached so that fragmentation did not occur globally, but also they grumbled a lot over piracy. The same when VCR tapes came out, the industry moaned about piracy, and there was, for a short time, a format war. But the common element between these was that the technology that existed at the time to prevent piracy, regional sharing, etc....did not exist really for these formats, due to their SIMPLICITY. Audio and Video tapes are analog, and easy to copy in the absence of didgital technology. Well then CD's came along as well, and for a long time CD's were not copied (for the same reason that vinyl records were not copied.....burners were tooo expensive and the technology out of reach). But the PC revolution came, and after many years of evolution, the CD-R and CD-RW came into existence, and at a price affordable to the masses. By now CD-RW is becoming the de-facto new "floppy" drive of PC's, and nearly any CD-ROM can be copied, and industry level burners are more affordable. But as for regional lockout for CD-ROM's, it was already too late, the personal use of music is far more older and globally extent than the personal consumer use of video. And as for computer and video games, those regional lockouts were circumvented my hardware mods as well, but later. Well to get on with it, I will concentrate on market protection when DVD players come into play. DVD players are very new, and they are not just used in video. The PS2, X-Box and several Camcorders and Computers now use DVD as their respective storage. The point for regional lockouts is not just whether or not you can share or not, but to protect investments made in ones own market, be it hardware or software, from "leaking" into another market in which your company does business, This "leakage" actually does sap revenue for your company and the investments you made, on the hardware side and development side, will be put to waste. Let me use an example from the recent new Nintendo GameCube and the PS2. Nintendo decided to avoid the DVD format altogether to make its' own propriety format. This was done to prevent piracy first and formost and also to make regional lockout available if needed. Sony has customized its' DVD's as well, for the same reason's. Here is why: Imagine you are Nintendo of Japan. You have just finished the Japanese regional version of the next Mario. So a few months later you give the "OK" to Nintendo of America, based near Seattle (Redmond too?) to put the finishing touches on the AMERICAN regional version of Mario. So NOA invests money and time translating, removing cultural differences, testing, market testing, etc.....but but lets say there was no Regional Market Protection and importers were already selling the Japanese version of this software and it has spread throughout the nation. Nintendo of Japan is happy, but Nintendo of America is losing sales. And they are hand and hand in the same company. Then you may counter with "Why doesn't Nintendo just make a Universal Mario. where you can choose your version at startup ?" Well duh, it sounds easy, but then you have such a massive amount of additional data to fit into the same game disc, or set of discs, and will push the price of each copy much much higher. Of course how many Americans would buy the Japanese version of Mario is unknown, but it is not a chance any company wants to take. It is the same feeling that Sony has, and Microsoft has, and also the movie industry too. If Sony Studios wanted to release "Spiderman" globally, it would have to pack the disc with global features and make it difficult to localize. Well this is just form the software side !!! I still ahven't got to the part where companies want to protect hardware sales !!! But it is the same concept. But I have no time to continue my post, I have a life !!! Bye :)
2002-09-19, 03:03 PM
Thank you for taking the time with that concise history. Guess it is the global vs. local philosopy, pity we who move around get hit with it.
2002-09-19, 04:26 PM
Enough with the self pity, "we who move around get hit with it", boo hoo. I move around too, and live here in Japan. I got around this regional bit of business fine. Like I was alluding too, hinting at, the PC is one very good way around this problem. The latest push in the PC world have been the PC Home Entertainment Center, for example the Windows XP Media PC Edition coming out and the new Mac OS 10.2.something.something (sic). Ripping DVD's, from Peer to Peer networks (P2P) over a broadband connection and playing them with a DivX player, or setting up a PC with DivX Codec support is so easy now. And you can rip your own here, Japanese or English versions, with a DVD-RW, and share them as well to be a good sport about it ! But once some new security features are implemented on CD's and DVD's next year this may be a mute point....but as long as the human mind works, there ways around it...
2002-09-19, 04:58 PM
You miss the point totally in your rush to criticise. I do not want to watch movies over a lousy PC screen, with an extra added sound system, nor set up P2P networks and broadband. Not everybody wants a life dominated by a computer system. My family and I just want to stick a DVD disc in a DVD player anywhere we are and watch it together on a decent screen that all of us can see and hear, like I am sure many others want to. The so-called hardware modification allows us to do that but why do we have to resort to such practices in the first place? It would be nice if something worked straight out of the box, and did not need the human mind's software and system improvisations. Comment?
2002-09-20, 08:51 PM
the idea is to do away with the stand-alone DVD player, let alone any set top (or bottom) box....errrr well good luck with your video watching. I am a home theater buff myself !
2003-04-09, 01:12 PM
There are region free DVD players that are actually made this way. All of Hong Kong is region free.