Blu-ray Hacks Begin: Region-Free Player
Before Blu-ray has even been completely accepted into American households, the hacks have begun. Bluraymods.com is selling two new products: a completely region-free Panasonic Blu-ray player that they've modified, or a do-it-yourself kit that lets you alter the internal coding to allow the same Panasonic player (DMP-BD30) to play Blu-ray discs from any region. But it ain't cheap.
The player sells for about $785 US, and the mod kit sells for about $108 US. A quick online search shows that an un-modified DMP-BD30 can be found for $399.99. Blu-ray mods are also selling modifications for two Sony players, a Samsung player, and even a Pioneer Elite BD player, but indicate that they are extremely hard to install and should only be done by professionals.
The Panasonic mods enable the DMP-BD30 to automatically play all six DVD regions, and the three Blu-ray regions are manually switchable. All future upgrades are supported. The DMP-BD30 is a Final Standard Profile player, capable of the latest Blu-ray features.
The company boasts that their early mods included FBI skipping; I want trailer skipping too.
I'm not sure how I feel about promoting this. Like it or not, the regions are on discs for a reason, and some things are better left alone. What do you think? -Leslie Shapiro