Recipe: Mac Mini DVD Region Encoding Nightmares

For a while now we own a Mac Mini in our living room, mostly for watching DVDs.

When we first bought it, the thing I noticed was that that little brat enforced the DVD region encoding. Which is pretty annoying to us, as we have acquired DVDs from Australia, the U.S., Europe, and even some in Japan. And it is not quite clear to me why moving from one continent (region) to another renders all my already paid DVDs useless.

Evil Nr. 1

Now, there are hundreds of posts/comments on the Web from people complaining about this issue, but as it seems - after hours of investigation - there is no easy way to unlock the firmware of that Mat-shit-a CW-8124-C DVD drive which sits deviously inside the Mac Mini.

The first counterstrike against this legally and morally reprehensible behaviour is to get rid of OSX itself. And install Debian Linux, together with MythTV. That is better than Mac FrontRow anyway.

Evil Nr. 2

That improved the situation somewhat as most DVDs would now be playable. But not those bought in Australia.

After some more investigation I figured that it is the firmware in the drive which locks down these specific DVDs. More research was necessary to find a compatible, yet less aggressive DVD drive, the Plextor PX-608AL.

One shopping trip, 50 Euros and some hardware fiddling later, the nightmares ended.

The Real Evil

Total Cost: 1 full day research, 1 day Debian/MythTV installation, configuration, hardware shopping, tinkering.

Note: Please do not rat out the large DVD distributors to the WTO. You know how these HoHus (honorable humanoids) react to unfair, trade-inhibiting, monopolistic behaviour. And I do not want to be indirectly responsible that any highly bonussed manager at Warner Brothers gets shot in his head in some dark back alley, just because of that little mafia business.

I could not live with that. Can you?

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