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Simple method to check BD regions using PowerDVD (program + some info)

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
EDIT: I've written a more complete and better version that sits in the tray and works with TMT as well: Blu-ray Region Tray Tool

I'm sure others have thought of this already, but it didn't occur to me until the other day. I haven't been able to find an app that can display a Blu-ray's region coding yet (BDedit can check if any coding exists but fails on BD-J titles). Then I realized you can figure it out by exploiting PowerDVD Ultra's software region changing.

I'm incredibly lazy, so I made a simple AutoIt script that should let you reset the player region infinitely, with PowerDVD showing 4 changes remaining (thanks to Rathbone's posts in the PowerDVD thread). It should work for PowerDVD Ultra 7.3.3516 and higher, under XP and Vista, but I can only test with XP. All it does is overwrite the BRF.dat file and inform you if AnyDVD's region code removal is running since that would interfere with checking disc regions (AnyDVD running with the removal disabled is no problem). You can do the same thing manually with the info from that thread.

With this it's just a matter of trial and error through the 3 options. Click the region you want to try, attempt to play the disc, rinse, repeat. Whichever region is currently being used will be greyed out in the script. PowerDVD can be open when you change the region using the script, and the script's reported region will also update if you want to change it using the usual PowerDVD config for some reason.

Now a little technical info if you're curious like me. I tried the 3 Sony BDs I have quick access to: Superbad, Casino Royale, and Dogma. All conform to their advertised region(s).

Superbad is Region A and this 1-frame MPEG-2 with no audio plays. The file is 00082.m2ts, in playlist 00103.mpls, and is 485,376 bytes.

Casino Royale (also A) has the same video named as 00062.m2ts in 00061.mpls with the same file size.

Now the weird thing is that Dogma (region ABC) has the same video and playlist names as Superbad with the same size, despite the video never playing since it's all-region. I wonder if it's intended in the manner of RCE DVDs, where it would say the region is wrong if played in a dumb region-free player.

Hopefully someone else will find this useful.

 

PowerDVD Blu-ray Region Reset.zip 383.9443359375k . file
post #2 of 18
Thread Starter 
The AutoIt script used to make the EXE:

Code:
;PowerDVD Blu-ray Region Reset
; for PowerDVD Ultra 7.3.3516 and up
;by "msgohan" with thanks to "Rathbone" for info

#include 

Opt ("ExpandEnvStrings", 1)

;turn off AnyDVD's region removal
;!!!doesn't work!!! (ignores altered registry setting and overwrites it upon exit)
;~ $AnyDVDReg = RegRead ("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\SOFTWARE\\SlySoft\\AnyDVD\\Settings", "bdRegionEnabled")
;~ If @error = 0 And $AnyDVDReg <> 0 Then RegWrite ("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\SOFTWARE\\SlySoft\\AnyDVD\\Settings", "bdRegionEnabled", "REG_DWORD", 0)

If ProcessExists ("brs.exe") Then ProcessClose ("brs.exe") ;kill process protecting BRF.dat

;path/variable initialization
If FileExists ("%AllUsersProfile%\\Application Data\\CyberLink\\BDNAV\\BRF.dat") Then
        $BRF = "%AllUsersProfile%\\Application Data\\CyberLink\\BDNAV\\BRF.dat" ;Windows XP
ElseIf FileExists ("%AllUsersProfile%\\CyberLink\\BDNAV\\BRF.dat") Then
        $BRF = "%AllUsersProfile%\\CyberLink\\BDNAV\\BRF.dat" ;Windows Vista
Else
        MsgBox (16, "PowerDVD Blu-ray Region Reset", "Cannot find BRF.dat file! Please report this along with the path if you can locate it. The program will now exit.")
        Exit
EndIf
$AnyDVDReminded = 0

;create graphical user interface
$MainWindow = GUICreate ("PowerDVD Blu-ray Region Reset", 280, 65)
GuiCtrlCreateLabel ("Select region to set", 10, 6)
$AnyDVDLabel = GuiCtrlCreateLabel ("PLACEHOLDER TEXT SO LABEL IS NOT TOO SMALL...", 120, 6)
GUICtrlSetColor (-1, 0xFF0000)
$RegA = GUICtrlCreateButton ("Region A", 30, 30, 60)
$RegB = GUICtrlCreateButton ("Region B", 110, 30, 60)
$RegC = GUICtrlCreateButton ("Region C", 190, 30, 60)
GUISetState()

While 1
        $msg = GUIGetMsg (1)
        CheckCurrent()
        CheckAnyDVD()
        
        ;button events
        Select
                Case $msg[0] = $RegA
                        WriteBRF (0x00000088)
                        
                Case $msg[0] = $RegB
                        WriteBRF (0x0000008B)
                        
                Case $msg[0] = $RegC
                        WriteBRF (0x0000008D)
                        
                Case $msg[0] = $GUI_EVENT_CLOSE And $msg[1] = $MainWindow
                        ExitLoop
        EndSelect
WEnd

Func CheckCurrent()
        $RegCurr = Number (FileRead ($BRF, 2))
        If $RegCurr = -120 Then ;Region A
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegA, $GUI_DISABLE)
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegB, $GUI_ENABLE)
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegC, $GUI_ENABLE)
        ElseIf $RegCurr = -117 Then ;Region B
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegA, $GUI_ENABLE)
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegB, $GUI_DISABLE)
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegC, $GUI_ENABLE)
        ElseIf $RegCurr = -115 Then ;Region C
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegA, $GUI_ENABLE)
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegB, $GUI_ENABLE)
                GuiCtrlSetState ($RegC, $GUI_DISABLE)
        EndIf
EndFunc

Func CheckAnyDVD()
        $AnyDVDReg = RegRead ("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\SOFTWARE\\SlySoft\\AnyDVD\\Settings", "bdRegionEnabled")
        If @error = 0 And $AnyDVDReg <> 0 And ProcessExists ("AnyDVDtray.exe") Then
                GuiCtrlSetData ($AnyDVDLabel, "AnyDVD region removal active!")
                
                ;friendly reminder to get rid of AnyDVD's region removal
                If Not $AnyDVDReminded Then
                        $AnyDVDReg = RegRead ("HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\SOFTWARE\\SlySoft\\AnyDVD\\Settings", "bdRegionEnabled")
                        If @error = 0 And $AnyDVDReg <> 0 And ProcessExists ("AnyDVDtray.exe") Then MsgBox (48, "PowerDVD Blu-ray Region Reset", "Please turn off AnyDVD's Blu-ray region code removal or close AnyDVD. Titles will incorrectly appear to be region-free or coded as the wrong region otherwise.")
                EndIf
                
                $AnyDVDReminded = 1
        Else
                GuiCtrlSetData ($AnyDVDLabel, "")
                $AnyDVDReminded = 0
        EndIf
EndFunc

Func WriteBRF ($Hex)
        FileDelete ($BRF) ;after some changes to my setup it wouldn't work without actually deleting the file before overwriting
        $BRFHandle = FileOpen ($BRF, 2)
        FileWrite ($BRFHandle, BinaryString ($Hex) & BinaryString (0x0000008D)) ;write region change along with 4 changes remaining (avoids popup asking to set region when 5 changes remain)
        FileClose ($BRFHandle)
EndFunc
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Not much interest in this topic I see. Oh well, I'm still curious about how different studios implement it so...

I've confirmed that "Ice Age" is locked to Region A (as anyone would expect from a Fox release). This 2-frame MPEG-2 with no audio plays. 00028.m2ts/00023.mpls/1,062,912 bytes. Strangely, it's flagged as 1080i60 although it's obviously a progressive still frame.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Summary of what I've found so far...

Disney
"This disc will not play due to the region code setting of the player."
- Pirates of the Caribbean 3 ("Region A"/Region A) - 2-frame MPEG-2 1080i60 - 00035.m2ts/00012.mpls/1,602,912 bytes (also has 2 other files with same size that aren't region screens)
- Pirates of the Caribbean 2 ("Region ABC"/Region Free) - no region screen file, no file that matches "POTC3" size
- National Treasure 2 ("Region A"/Region AB) - 1-frame MPEG-2 - 00146.m2ts/00112.mpls/368,640 bytes (also has 2 other files with same size that aren't region screens)

Fox
"Attention/This disc has been coded for Region A only and will not play in this machine. Please eject this disc and play on a Region A player."
- Ice Age ("Region A"/Region A) - 2-frame MPEG-2 1080i60 - 00028.m2ts/00023.mpls/1,062,912 bytes
- Die Hard with a Vengeance ("Region A"/Region A) - 2-frame MPEG-2 1080i60 - 00037.m2ts/00048.mpls/1,062,912 bytes (no other file with same size)

GAGA Communications
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [Japan] (no info/Region Free) - no region screen file I could find

Image Entertainment
"This disc cannot be played because the player setup specifies a different region code"
- Short Circuit ("Region A"/Region A) - 1-frame MPEG-2 - 00017.m2ts/00016.mpls/129,024 bytes (no other file with same size)

Lionsgate
"Mismatch between disc and player region codes. See disc packaging for details./Lionsgate"
- Basic Instinct (no info/Region A) - 1-frame MPEG-2 - 00016.m2ts/00014.mpls/387,072 bytes (no other file with same size)
- Terminator 2 ("Region 1"/Region Free) - no region screen file, no file that matches "BI" size

Sony
"Mismatch between disc and player region codes. See disc packaging for details."
- Casino Royale ("Region A"/Region A) - 1-frame MPEG-2 - 00062.m2ts/00061.mpls/485,376 bytes (no other file with same size)
- Superbad ("Region A"/Region A) - 1-frame MPEG-2 - 00082.m2ts/00103.mpls/485,376 bytes (no other file with same size)
- Dogma ("Region ABC"/Region Free) - 1-frame MPEG-2 - 00082.m2ts/00103.mpls/485,376 bytes (no other file with same size)
- The 6th Day ("Region ABC"/Region Free) - 1-frame MPEG-2 - 00082.m2ts/00103.mpls/485,376 bytes (no other file with same size)

Warner
"This disc cannot be played because the player setup specifies a different region code."
- Rambo [Germany] ("Region B"/Region B) - 10-second VC-1 - 00017.m2ts/00001.mpls/1,253,376 bytes (no other file with same size)
post #5 of 18
Jeez, use AnyDVD HD, it tells you the Blu-ray region when you put a disc in while it's running.
post #6 of 18
The ones who are posting these information are tech savvy and have all required skills to program and develop something similar to AnyDVD. Appreciate your curiosity and thanks for sharing some valuable information msgohan.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I don't have such skills.

Where does AnyDVD report the region? For me it specifically ASKS the user to provide the region when you want it removed.
post #8 of 18
I'm interested in this but I don't have an HTPC capable of playing BD yet so I'm just reading the info above.

If I understand it correctly, this region reset utility resets the software player region but doesn't display the actual BD's region. As you said you still have to click the region to try playing the disc. So it's rather an indirect way to find this out.

The various region screen warning mpeg-2 files you found in the BDs are only the message screens, interesting as they are, they aren't the actual mechanisms to lock the region. Do you know which file on the disc actually does that and is there a way to read that file directly?

In the AutoIt script in the section:
;turn off AnyDVD's region removal
you noted that it doesn't work. Well it is as expected, since some registry settings stay during the current logon session. If you want the new setting to take effect, you can try ending explorer.exe and restarting it. It's very easy to do with cmd and I suspect with AutoIt. Or why not just end AnyDVD altogether? In any case, you've commented the script so it is not executed. So it's not necessary to do that, is that right?
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

The various region screen warning mpeg-2 files you found in the BDs are only the message screens, interesting as they are, they aren't the actual mechanisms to lock the region. Do you know which file on the disc actually does that and is there a way to read that file directly?

After Faceless Rebel's post I checked the AnyDVD HD forum and found this. From what I understand, the "byte level" code is what BDedit checks for to try and remove region coding, but it doesn't/can't look for the appropriate BD-J code.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

In the AutoIt script in the section:
;turn off AnyDVD's region removal
you noted that it doesn't work. Well it is as expected, since some registry settings stay during the current logon session. If you want the new setting to take effect, you can try ending explorer.exe and restarting it. It's very easy to do with cmd and I suspect with AutoIt. Or why not just end AnyDVD altogether? In any case, you've commented the script so it is not executed. So it's not necessary to do that, is that right?

Both of those are rather pushy methods for the end user, particularly if anyone wanted to use the script just to swap PDVD's region code for normal playback. I also read that killing the AnyDVD process leaves some driver running, so I just opted to make it a warning with a popup message box and red text on the window.



Actually, from that thread it appears you could forego the reset of PowerDVD's region and instead abuse AnyDVD's region code removal to check. It would take a bit longer I guess since you have to keep opening up AnyDVD's settings window, but according to that thread, setting AnyDVD's removal to A/B/C and checking each in PDVD should come up with the same result. It's like having a virtual player inside the disc set to whichever region, with the output from that given to PDVD.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
National Treasure 2 is advertised as "Region A" but it's actually coded for Region A and B. Region C is locked out and gets the wrong code screen! Strangely, playing as B gives a language selection menu at startup (00051.mpls) whereas A skips straight to English.

Is this the first BD locked to 2 regions? http://bluray.liesinc.net/ lists it as Region Free due to a post saying it works in a UK PS3. I'll email him this thread...
post #11 of 18
Interesting find msgohan.
post #12 of 18
Hi

I like the BD Region Tray Tool.

I know I have to change Region by clicking Ctrl+Shift+1 or 2 or 3 from the keyboard. But my problem is that I want those hotkeys to my MCE remote control so I can change Region from my remote control, not the keyboard.

I have tried using the HIP software but I can't make those hotkeys available on my remote control.
How can I do that? I know how to use the HIP software.

To the developer of BD Region Tray Tool: Can you do that so it's possible to change Region from the remote control?
Anyway great software

Thx
post #13 of 18
Hi

I like the BD Region Tray Tool.

I know I have to change Region by clicking Ctrl+Shift+1 or 2 or 3 from the keyboard. But my problem is that I want those hotkeys to my MCE remote control so I can change Region from my remote control, not the keyboard.

I have tried using the HIP software but I can't make those hotkeys available on my remote control.
How can I do that? I know how to use the HIP software.

To the developer of BD Region Tray Tool: Can you do that so it's possible to change Region from the remote control?
Anyway great software

Thx
post #14 of 18
Nobody cant help?

Any good links about the BD Region Tray Tool?
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm the one who wrote this little program. I think you're the only person using it besides me.

It would be trivial to change the hotkeys to something else and just give you a new EXE file. What combination of keys would work so that you can program them into the remote?
post #16 of 18
Hi msgohan

Great to hearing from you.
I use PowerDVD Ultra to watch Blu Ray and I also have Mediaportal included. In Mediaportal I dont use "watching and recording TV" as it doesnt have my interest now. I dont even use the color buttons for teletext.
The buttons I dont use on my MCE remote control v2 are the 4 color buttons (red, green, blue and yelow), the * button, the # button, clear, enter, the button for recording TV.
Is it possible to use some of them as buttons instead of hotkeys via keyboard? You are welcome to give some ideas.

I hope you can help me and let me hear what you think. You are also welcome to send me a new EXE file I can test.

Thx
post #17 of 18
msgohan, can you help me please?

Thx
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I don't know much about MCE or the remotes... Does this "HIP software" not allow you to bind remote control button presses to certain keyboard buttons?

We can continue discussion in PM.
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