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View Full Version : Multizone DVD Players [NTSC, PAL]


AAR.oner
2005-06-01, 07:46 PM
since we regularly have people ask re: NTSC vs. PAL DVD shows not playing on their DVD player, i thought i'd post a suggestion...

yes, there are ways of converting from one format to the other...but some of these methods create "quality loss" and others supposedly don't [debatable]...

instead, i recommend just buying a Multizone DVD player the next time you purchase one. As a *starting point*, these are two good decks i know will play both formats: Sony DVP-NS575E and the Pioneer DV-373S...both can be found in the $100-$150 range, which i feel is worth the extra few buckz...also, supposedly the cheap Apex DVD players you can get at WallyWorld will play both formats [was that you who posted that before Lynne?]--if so, they are REAL inexpensive for those on a budget...

cheers!

jazzbo
2005-06-01, 10:02 PM
Okay, so I'm curious about this: exactly what is being done to the video signal by the hardware circuits that can play both NTSC and PAL DVDs and how is that conversion technically preferably (and/or any less 'lossy') then software conversion.

I'm not talking about the fact that doing a software conversion and then reseeding is bad, I just don't know why the hardware doesn't also produce quality loss when it is adjusting resolutions, frame rates, etc.

xeqtor
2005-06-02, 03:31 AM
Ofcourse there's gonna be some quality loss when the player converts from say PAL to NTSC or vice versa. But the point with buying a DVD player that plays PAL/NTSC discs is not to convert them but to be able to watch them on your TV..

rherron
2005-06-02, 07:24 AM
Let me preface this comment by saying that I am not an expert on the PAL/NTSC issue. But I have downloaded many PAL DVDs and needed to convert them to play on my supposedly NTSC-only player (I agree with you totally that it would be nice to have a multi-zone player but I just havenít gotten around to getting one yet Ė and doing what I describe below I donít think I will).

As I understand it, many players are capable of multi-zone playback whether advertised or not (I think there is pressure from the movie industry to keep this from happening because it helps make it easier for them to maintain their region encoding system -- just a guess). Again, Iím not an expert but my understanding is the machine takes it cue from the DVD itself. The IFO files, etc. ďtellĒ the DVD player how to play the DVD. Therefore, if you alter those files you can sort of trick your DVD player into playing PAL DVDs, and it is VERY, VERY easy to do. This works in reverse as well for those of you on the other side of the Atlantic (Iím in the USA). And hereís the best part Ė it does absolutely nothing to alter the video files (VOBs) so there is absolutely no loss of quality.

Hereís how to do it:

Using IFOEdit, open .IFO files. The program will have two windows of information. In the bottom window there will be lots of lines of text. Look for the lines (there will be 1 or 2 or more depending upon which IFO file you are looking at) of text containing the word "PAL." Double click those lines. A dialog box will open. There is a button to select PAL or NTSC. Select NTSC. Save the file. It will ask if you want to change the .BUP files as well. Answer "Yes." You're done. Burn away.

This is not a true conversion (PAL to NTSC) but changing the info files like this will trick many DVD players into believing this is an NTSC recording. I have heard it will not work on all DVD players but it works great on mine. No problems whatsoever. Again, it does nothing to alter the actual video files, so there is no deterioration of the quality.

The worst thing that could happen is that it wouldn't work on your player and you'd have wasted $.50 cents on a DVD+R. Back up every file in the "VIDEO_TS" folder that is not a video (VOB) file and if this doesn't work for you, you can restore the folder to it's original state (this is also a good idea in case you ever wish to trade the show or reseed it, etc.).

IFOEdit is free, and available here: http://www.afterdawn.com/software/v...ols/ifoedit.cfm.

This is what I do. I have done it maybe 15 times and it has worked perfectly every time. Before investing in a new machine Iíd suggest you at least give it a try.

Rob

lostboy
2005-06-02, 10:14 AM
I hit this a month or so ago....was trying to check a few DVD's I had already burned, wondered why they wouldn't play....then remembered they were PAL format. Since my older DVD player doesn't always want to work, thought I would check around for the APEX or Cyberhome.

No local stores in southern NJ carried the APEX or Cyberhome....not Walmat, Target, Sam's Club, Staples...only the bigger name brands, which were region 1 only. I finally checked Boscov's a NE chain, they had a Coby DVD628 for about $50. It's worked fine, plays NTSC and PAL DVDs with no noticable problems.

Just thought I'ld mention it, in case anyone else can't find an APEX or Cyberhome, try a Coby.

ssamadhi97
2005-06-02, 10:34 AM
I'm not talking about the fact that doing a software conversion and then reseeding is bad, I just don't know why the hardware doesn't also produce quality loss when it is adjusting resolutions, frame rates, etc.
It does the same kind of damage to the source, just not in an irreversible manner.

AAR.oner
2005-06-02, 01:10 PM
It does the same kind of damage to the source, just not in an irreversible manner.

^^^what he said!

AN EXAMPLE--let's say you get a DVD in data format in a mail trade [or you d/led via BT] and its in PAL format. Because we don't want to introduce a "lossy-er" version to the trading pool, its best NOT to convert to NTSC [atleast for trading/archiving purposes]

If you want to make a *copy* of the shows DVD files on yer HD and convert them from PAL to NTSC for your own viewing urposes, fine by me. But, you should Trade the orig. PAL-formatted show when trading/seeding, not the converted NTSC version you made [again a loss of quality occurs when you convert from PAL to NTSC].

I say this because I have unknowingly traded for a show that, come to find out, was orig PAL and converted somewhere down the line to NTSC--i myself would've rather had the more "pure" PAL version.

re: the "destructiveness" of a Multizone DVD Player, yes there might be some quality loss, visually that is [most likely, the average person isn't going to notice!] but atleast its occurring "in-post" and not affecting the source material itself. The concern is less with one's personally "threshold" for lossiness, than it is with keep "generational loss" and "conversion loss" from entering the trading pool.

Rob--as to yer "trick" above, sounds interesting ;) i've yet to give it a go, but will definitely attempt this method later...i'll try and run some analysis to see if there's any *obvious* indications that lossiness could have occurred, but as you've described it it doesn't sound like that's possible. It could however cause the show's .md5 checksum to fail, so i'd recommend doing this to a *copy* of the show's files and not the orig files themselves--thanks for the tip tho rob!

gsmyth79
2005-06-02, 02:50 PM
rherron - are there any Mac equivalent for that IFOEdit?

I find the whole DVD thing a lot more complicated with Macs, without programs like DVDShrink and stuff like that.

rherron
2005-06-02, 04:27 PM
rherron - are there any Mac equivalent for that IFOEdit?

I find the whole DVD thing a lot more complicated with Macs, without programs like DVDShrink and stuff like that.

Can't help you there. Why would anyone have a Mac? :D

Just kidding. I used Mac exclusively until 1995 when Windows stole Mac's OS.

Rob

rherron
2005-06-02, 04:30 PM
Rob--as to yer "trick" above, sounds interesting ;) i've yet to give it a go, but will definitely attempt this method later...i'll try and run some analysis to see if there's any *obvious* indications that lossiness could have occurred, but as you've described it it doesn't sound like that's possible. It could however cause the show's .md5 checksum to fail, so i'd recommend doing this to a *copy* of the show's files and not the orig files themselves--thanks for the tip tho rob!

The checksums will fail. You have to back up the original IFO and BUP files (and restore them in the VIDEO_TS folder after burning your DVD) if you plan on reseeding, helping seed, trading, etc. I did mention that above.

Rob

ffooky
2005-06-02, 04:39 PM
rherron - are there any Mac equivalent for that IFOEdit?

I find the whole DVD thing a lot more complicated with Macs, without programs like DVDShrink and stuff like that.

I'd have a look at myDVDEdit (http://www.macetvideo.com/dl_center/dl_center.html) if I were you. I've not tried it for this purpose myself but it seems to offer the relevant function.

I'm not aware of any DVD things for which there isn't an effective tool under OS X.

jazzbo
2005-06-02, 05:37 PM
^^^what he said!

Because we don't want to introduce a "lossy-er" version to the trading pool, its best NOT to convert to NTSC [atleast for trading/archiving purposes]


Yes, I know, which is why I tried to qualify my question about it specifically not being about trading/archiving issues of a converted dvd (and futilely trying to avoid the long descriptions of the evil of it.)


re: the "destructiveness" of a Multizone DVD Player, yes there might be some quality loss, visually that is [most likely, the average person isn't going to notice!] but atleast its occurring "in-post" and not affecting the source material itself.


My point is that quality loss is quality loss is quality loss. And I was really trying to get down the issue of whether the components in a $40 DVD player doing real time conversion are really visually equivalent to a software conversion. Perhaps they are, but I just never really see that issue covered in any of the faqs on the process.

AAR.oner
2005-06-05, 11:47 AM
Rherron--sorry, i didn't notice you had specified the checksum issue in yer previos post...sometimes i don't read closely enuogh...thanks again for the suggestion tho!

Jazzbo--as i just mentioned, i'm not a detailed reader :rolleyes: ...i guess i answered with an incorrect assumption...my bad! but re: a "$40 DVD player's" real-time conversion vs. the a software conversion...i don't know yet...maybe a test could be set up in the future and results compared...i would surmise that a $40 player's real-time conversion is not up-to-par with a software conversion...however, a *pro-sumer* level multi-format DVD player will be a different ballgame, again maybe some experiments on this subject is in order...