region coding

How can I watch PAL DVDs on my TV?

Episode 1519

Paul from Los Angeles, CA

Paul would like to rip DVDs and then put it on a 128GB thumbdrive so that his kids don't trash his DVDs. Leo says that's a great idea and you can use both Handbrake and VLC Media Client to do it. But how does he convert a DVD that's PAL? Leo says that the DVD is probably region coded to prevent you from watching a DVD from another country here in the US. The first time you play the DVD, it sets the Region code. But there are DVD players that don't do it. There's also a few back doors that respond to a certain number of remote button presses to unlock them.

Why doesn't my Echo work in Canada?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1467

Ken from Vancouver, Canada

Ken is in Canada and bought a US Amazon Echo through his sister, but most of the functions won't work with Canada's Amazon website. Leo says that features like Audible have different rights according to each country and it may be that they don't support those features due to copyright restrictions. Ken tried using a US Amazon account and everything worked. But even then, he may not be able to stream music or videos depending on the rights. Using the US site is a good workaround, though.

Why doesn't Alexa work on my Sonos One?

Sonos One

Episode 1465

Peter from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Peter bought a Sonos One speaker with Alexa built in. Alexa doesn't work, though. Leo says that's probably due to Amazon Canada. The Sonos One also has a limited version of Alexa, so Leo has a hunch it's an issue with Sonos. It may also be a region code issue. Peter should try using an American credit card, which could solve the issue. But Leo says it's only a matter of time before that clears up because Echo is going everywhere.

What should I look for in a DVD player?

Samsung Blu-ray player

Episode 1403

Jason from Chino, CA

Jason is looking for a good DVD player, but he's worried that his DVD player will be locked to the wrong region. Leo says that region coding was designed to prevent movies from being copied and shared around the world before the movies were released. The trend now is that movies get released worldwide now, so region coding is going to be gradually going away. He'll just have to be sure he doesn't get a used DVD player from another region. He won't want a PAL player in the US, for instance. He'll want NTSC. Or, he should make sure to get a multi region DVD player.