Source - press release
Do you play DVD movies on your PlayStation 2? Right, well then this one's for you. Hot on the heels of their GameBoy Advance Action Replay announcement, Datel have issued another release, this time unveiling their "DVD Region X" adapter for Sony's next generation console. As you will have guessed by now, DVD Region X lets you play imported DVDs on your PlayStation 2. If you're not familiar with it, the "region" system gives each DVD a different number (from 0 to 6) depending on which market it was made for. Only DVD players of that region are supposed to be able to decode the discs, although in practice many players have vaguely hidden settings to overcome this. The reason we don't see many "multi-region" players any more is the movie industry's steps to clamp down on the trade in imported discs, and those who would allow people to watch them. Many DVDs are released on Region 1 (USA and Canada) first, followed by their Region 2 (Japan, Europe and South Africa) counterparts many months later. The consumer will often accept paying a few quid more to get the movie early. Thanks to a law passed earlier this year, it is now illegal to sell R1 discs on British soil, which has stopped a number of vendors from doing so (although not Play247.com for some reason, who are still thriving), and since then many of the newest top-spec DVD players have been genuinely single region only. From today, the PlayStation 2 joins the ranks of those who would kick sand in the face of the movie industry, thanks to Datel. But Sony may not be too happy about their console's part in this. Another part of the great corporation Sony Computer Entertainment springs from is Sony Pictures Entertainment, a company with a claw in movies, television and video/DVD. Ever heard of Columbia TriStar? Same thing. These companies produce DVDs, and are none too happy about the continuing trade in DVDs outside their home territories. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a perfect example, released on Region 3 (that's South East Asia and Hong Kong) and imported because it included English subtitles, Sony were so fed up with the exporting from HK that they remastered the disc without the English subs! So the question is how Sony will react to a peripheral aimed at beating the region lockout on PlayStation 2 consoles, something until now nobody has managed on Western units. Datel tells us that the DVD Region X works by simply plugging the "Region X" memory card into either slot and the included CD into the drive, then swapping it for a DVD at the appropriate time. This sounds remarkably similar to the methods used to play pirate PlayStation games or to load copied games from CDR with a "boot CD". The trick is to fool the console, and Datel have evidently managed to fool its region coding this time. One thing missing from the Datel press release is information on whether it overcomes the new Region 1 DVDs we've recently seen with so-called "enhanced region protection". We asked the company about this, but had heard nothing by press time. Datel have already started shipping the DVD Region X from their website for £19.99. The last time they tried something as defiant as this was on the PlayStation with a boot CD to overcome the detection system that was thwarting importers. Back then, the story goes, they received a slap on the wrist and promptly denied the device ever existed. We'd be surprised if they back out on DVD Region X now, but we're also rather surprised to see them chance it in the first place. Related Feature - Cheat!