Category Archives: HD

Paths of Glory comes to Criterion and on Blu Ray

Only just spotted this, but the fantastic Kubrick flick Paths of Glory has had a new release by Criterion including on Blu Ray.

Looks like not only is it in the original 1.66:1 ratio and a spanking new transfer (hopefully respectfully treated by Criterion which would a refreshing change from the glossy noise reduction transfers of big name studios when they do Blu Ray releases), but also has a number of interesting extras including a TV interview with Douglas and a new interview with Jan Harlan, James B. Harris and Christiane Kubrick. Not to mention a commentary on top. A big improvement on the non-existent extras on the old DVD.

Sadly Criterion are US only and yes the Blu Ray is locked to Region A, so if you’re importing you’ll need a Region A player or a multi-region player (just make sure it’s Blu Ray multi-region, not just DVD multi-region as some are the latter only). PS3 owners are stuck unless you’ve got a suitable hacked player.

Some reviews:

P.S. Also available on Criterion DVD. Noting again that it’s a US import. Not sure if it’s locked but likely it will be Region 1. Thankfully there are a lot more multi-region DVD players about outside of the US.

Tevion 1100UKT multi-region budget Blu-Ray player

Well, despite my reluctance I’ve finally gone “Blu”. The reason why is simple, and that is that finally we have players that are the right price and most importantly are multi region for BD discs.

There are a number of multi region options about now. Some are very expensive, in some cases doubling the price of the original player to get the hardware ‘mod’ that’s soldered on somewhere.

In other cases we are starting to get cheap and cheerful players from the far east that are (like DVD players before them) of course easily hackable for multi-region, out of the box.

And fitting my requirements perfectly (price and multi-region), along comes the Tevion 1100UKT Profile 2.0 Blu Ray player!

“The what?” you say?

Tevion 1100UK Blu Ray player
Tevion 1100UK Blu Ray player

It’s actually a rebrand of similarly unknown Curtis and Momitsu players (in fact the support for Tevion is provided by Curtis). It should be noted that a lot of these brands that are unknown to the west actually make the components that go in many big name western brands.

Anyway, the big thing about the Tevion is it is multi region, via a handset code that allows you to change between A, B & C and also set DVD to multi-region.

It is also a bargain price of £120. Less if you’re lucky. And sold by… Aldi. Yes, Aldi! And you get 3 years warranty with it, which is far more than you’d get with many big name brands for twice the price and still no multi-region.

Yes, it’s no looker. It’s a little noisy when starting up and slow loading a disc (much like many BD players though), and for BD Live you do need a USB stick plugged into the USB socket as there’s no built in memory for it. Oh and the handset IR angle is very small so you have to point it directly at the player (easily resolved by using a learning remote). I can’t really find much other fault with it though.

Bonus features are that it supports playing media (including DivX/XviD (not HD), MP3, WMA) off USB sticks and most recordable format discs. It bitstreams DTS-HD MA, DD True HD etc. If you only have an older amp with coax/optical inputs, it can either bitstream DD/DTS or it can even convert everything to DTS.

Home Cinema Choice has a hands on review. It knocks it for a few things, and in particular the reviewer had problems with HDMI handshaking. I can’t confirm that on the amp side as I don’t have an HDMI amp, but handshaking with my Samsung LCD is no problem.
Exclusive hands-on with budget Aldi Blu-ray player, is Tevion DVD1100 UK’s best BD buy?

The codes by the way are as follows:

973500 = multiregion DVD
973501 = region A Blu Ray
973502 = region B Blu Ray
973503 = region C Blu Ray

Has to be entered on the handset with no disc in the player. A bit of hassle vs a mod that auto detects, but it’s more robust protection as the player can only be seen as that region when the disc loads. Being out of the box, BD+ systems will see the firmware as unmodified from the original (and note this is a fully licenced Blu Ray player).

In my opinion, for £120 (some have got it as cheap as £80), multi-region Blu-Ray player, it’s really not bad at all if you’re prepared to accept an unknown brand and limited support (by all reports the 0800 number they provide is either unanswered or links to a monkey who has no clue what you’re talking about. Though they have a web site with various firmware downloads, manuals etc, although no firmware for the 1100UKT yet, only 1100UK which is the Curtis version and apparently incompatible).

P.S. Aldi do a 14 day no quibble return also. Do remember though that they don’t accept credit cards but do take debit cards, and once these are gone, they are gone so they may not be available in all stores. I’m sure these players will turn up as another brand/model though.

HD DVD is dead, long live… CBHD

Always thought that China would never accept Blu-Ray due to the high cost of licensing, and thus high cost of discs and players.

Well, China has been attempting a few formats over the last few years that are under their control and don’t require them to fork out on cost fees to licence holders outside their country. The latest is CBHD. Formerly known as CH-DVD and rebranded probably following the demise of HD-DVD. New photos have emerged of the players and there’s a stunning similarity to certain Tosh HD DVD players!





Apparently CBHD is almost identical to HD DVD with the exception of the licensed components, so mainly the codecs used. How similar their own codecs are is yet to be established, but it does mean the discs will be incompatible with HD DVD.

What does that mean for the rest of the world? Probably not much initially. HD DVD owners however may find that a firmware hack to turn their players into CBHD players is not beyond possibility, opening up the player to the CBHD stock of titles (which Warner has already signed up for at least).

The more interesting possibility comes down to the fact that Chinese manufacturers make the base components for a lot of western kit that gets re-branded into known names with Japanese logos on them (with inflated prices). This means the potential some day for multi-format players that could play everything and probably support HD DVD/CBHD as well as Blu-Ray and others. Much like how cheap DVD players these days support a wide array of formats, old and new. Hopefully like DVD players, region free hacks for Blu-Ray will be widely available (the lack of which is the major factor that stops me buying Blu at present).

Doesn’t do anything for reviving HD DVD in the west, though does open up a market in cheap discs from China. I suspect there will be a number of restrictions to prevent export though as Hollywood would rather the rest of the world pays the massive premium for Blu-Ray instead (at whatever the local maximum price is thanks to region controls).

(sources: avsforum, avforums)

Region Free DVD on Toshiba EP30 HD DVD Player

Following on from the EP35 region free mod, those clever guys have worked out a way of making the EP30 region free for DVD also (remember that HD DVD was always region free, this is for DVD playback only).

It’s a lot more complex than the EP35 mod unfortunately and a “dirty hack” as they put it. Be warned, you could brick your player, so only proceed if you feel happy with a dirty hack and the risks involved. Hopefully an easier mod will pop up later.

Details here:

Region free DVD on Toshiba EP35 HD DVD player

This wonderful device for budget HD movie watching, whilst was always region free for HD DVD discs, can now be made region free for SD DVDs with some modified firmware. This means upscaling of your DVD collection to 1080p regardless of DVD region. 🙂

Many thanks to those involved in getting the mod working.

To get this to work you need to apply some firmware that has the region free mod in it. The firmware currently available is version 1.3, which is older than latest firmwares available. However once the mod is applied, you can safely update to new official firmware releases without losing the region free status.

Also, if you have more recent firmware (up to 4.0 at least), you can roll back to the modified 1.3 and then re-apply firmware updates.

More details over at the AV Forums: EP35 Region Free Firmware

Note that RCE encoded discs require an extra handset hack as follows:

1) Turn on player
2) Open tray, put disc in tray but don´t close
3) Push on remote
4) Push 1, 3, 9 and “Region number” (e.g. 1 for US discs)
5) Push T. search on remote.

You will see TEST on your player

6) Press PLAY on the remote

When player is turned off, this setting is cleared.