Other Region free HTPC software

Discussion in 'Software' started by Darth Joules, 24 Nov 2017.

  1. Darth Joules

    Darth Joules Member

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    I'm going to be building a new PC using Win10 and I'm hoping include region-free HTPC functionality within it. My old (and now dead) WinXP PC was using very, very old multi-region HTPC software; DVD Idle Pro with WinDVD 10 (plus a MCE IR remote, the wonderfully named iMon Knob) all of which is now pretty old tat. For example with DVDs: Batman Begins plays, but The Dark Knight most of the time didn't.

    Unfortunately nowadays I'm totally out of step with what's required to playback either DVD or Bluray on a PC especially wit regards to multi-region discs. I looking to do the following:

    • Playback DVD regions 1, 2 and 3.
    • Playback Bluray region A and B.
    • Bypass the dreaded Cinavia.
    • Access to disc menus because a lot of DVDs I own are in foreign languages so I need access to subtitles options and also accessing the disc extras is a boon..
    As far as I can tell Cyberlink PowerDVD is the only kid on the block with regards to Bluray playback as well as accessing menus for both Bluray and DVD. Kodi and Plex look interesting, but I know very little about them. As for getting region free playback I'm at a bit of a loss, but would AnyDVD HD do the job? Help and suggestions are most welcome.
     
  2. Ramble

    Ramble Ginger Nut

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    Is it just a HTPC? I'd ditch windows and use kodi on linux instead.
     
  3. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Swinging the banhammer Super Moderator

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    @Darth Joules You might want to edit your post a bit - I'm not sure if it's quite kosher to want to bypass Cinavia...

    Personally I rip blu-rays using MakeMKV and then encode them down using HandBrake - as a backup that is
     
  4. thewelshbrummie

    thewelshbrummie Member

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    Good luck finding any software that can playback Blu-Ray discs correctly on Linux... IIRC Sony charge $25 per licence in royalties for software that supports Blu-Ray playback so I can't see there being any open source software that supports Blu-Ray (VLC, at least on Windows, certainly doesn't cut the mustard from experience with Blu-Ray discs). I've yet to see software with Blu-Ray support for less than £40 (except upgrades, but even those have been at least £25).

    --

    To the OP, agree that your 3rd bullet should be removed - definitely not legal (to the point of even if I could answer it, I wouldn't).

    Legal, region free playback on a PC has always been a problem - the only viable (and legal) way I can think of is to buy multiple drives and set different regions on each (2x bluray and 1x dvd will cover your needs), thanks to the small matter of Windows reading the firmware on the optical drive itself to check which region is selected (the setting that can only be changed 5 times for the life of the drive). Can't say that I've tried discs from different regions but IIRC the software you use for playback will be fine, so long as a region 2 disc is used in a drive set for region 2, 1 with 1 etc. Having a separate drive for region 1 and using that for region 1 discs should work with the same software.

    You haven't mentioned 4K Blu-Rays but... don't bother would be my answer, at least for the next year. There's currently only one drive that will work, PowerDVD 17 Ultra is required and the necessary software and hardware cost more than an Xbox One S... which I assume is locked to one region.

    That means that finding something that can play Blu-Ray discs on an HTPC from any region isn't going to be available legally, if at all, unless you use multiple drives.

    Sorry to take such a negative view but Blu-Ray playback on computers has been a nightmare (I'm still annoyed you can't use a mouse to select menus on a Blu-Ray disc as you can with DVDs). I've got 3 Blu-Ray drives in 2 PCs (and an external Blu-Ray reader) and tbh I doubt I'll ever replace them - the hassle simply hasn't been worth it for me.

    Your iMon stuff though may well still work - I have the iMon Ultra with screen and volume control fitted to my gaming rig (Win 10) and while some of the software features don't work correctly for the display (RSS feeds and system info come to mind) the essentials still work correctly with the latest software (volume control, EQ, playback controls). Even routing the power switch cable through it still lets me power my rig up with the original remote...
     
  5. Ramble

    Ramble Ginger Nut

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    AFAIK blu-ray has been broken for years and it's trivial to strip the DRM from it. I'm not sure about the status of BD+ DRM, I would be surprised if that wasn't completely broken too.
     
  6. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Member

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    VLC will play DVD and Blu-rays, but can only show DVD menus (Google can teach you how to do this). If you want the disk menus then a commercial product like PowerDVD is your only option for Blu-rays.
    I can't speak to Kodi, but Plex is very easy to setup and get running. Downside is you need to create your media library. GeorgeK, provided the best option for creating your library. By transcoding your library you also won't need that much disk space, my 400 movie titles (mostly DVD and a few Blu-rays consume less than 1 TB). There are one or two other threads on this topic you could search for. Using MakeMKV also has the advantage as it is not trying to stream the content in real time, it can better handle damaged disks than standard players.

    You will lose the menus, which in my opinion is a good thing (being forced to wait 5+ minutes for menus to load before I watch the movie I have purchased really annoys me. You wanted menus for language and subtitle options this is not a problem as you can encode these into your file and access them through builtin onscreen menu.

    If you are a fan of all the extra features on the disks, shorts, deleted scenes, director's commentary those can be included with out too much extra effort.

    As for the multi region aspect I not sure if it comes into play when ripping as the software treats the disk as data. If it does then I have nothing to add to thewelshbrummie summary, except with ripping you can plan out by region and reduce the number of times you need to change the drive region code.
     

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