Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 09, 2016, 01:41:43 AM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: Steps to Flash the HP ENVY 14 laptop's Matshita DVD RAM - to make it Region-free  (Read 5069 times)

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,141
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
I thought I might describe the process here in case anyone found they had a similar requirement.
I have an HP ENVY 14 (Beats) laptop, which has a Matshita DVD RAM drive.
It is Region-locked, and I wanted to "Flash" the drive to make it Region-free, so as to be able to play DVDs from any region.
I was in luck, as the Matshita drives are usually most likely to be amenable to being Flashed.

STEP 1: Check DVD status with DISK Info:
           Done using DISK Info v1.7.0ß, available from discinfo.rpc1.org - here.
            Flash of Matshita DVD UJ987 00a.png

STEP 2: Go to The Firmware Page Forum: (link given in DISC Info: http://forum.rpc1.org/
           Searched for UJ897. Found discussion:
           Making your Matshita DVD-writer region free running Windows
                http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=46246&hilit=UJ897
           Posts in the thread detail what to do.

STEP 3: Essentially, the install/run steps here are:
3.1 download and install:
  • MatshitaWinDump_1.02.zip - has added support for Matshita drives having an hp drive id.
  • MatshitaWinFlash.zip
    Flash of Matshita DVD UJ987 01.png

3.2 run the MatshitaWinDump.bat file to generate files:
      hp______DVD_RAM_UJ897___1.00.dat - backup of the existing configuration.
      hp______DVD_RAM_UJ897___1.00_RPC1.dat - the configuration to Flash with.
       Flash of Matshita DVD UJ987 02.png

3.3 Drop the ...RPC1.dat file onto MatshitaWinFlash.bat
     (The Flash operation takes less than approx. 30 seconds.)
      Flash of Matshita DVD UJ987 03.png

3.4 Run Disk Info again to see the result:
      (Can reflash with the backup configuration, if I want to restore the original DVD drive configuration.)
      RPC1 indicates that the drive is now Region-free.
       Flash of Matshita DVD UJ987 04a.png

Great - all OK. I can now play that Region 2 DVD I was given..    8)
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 07:36:38 PM by IainB, Reason: Added reference/source re DISC Info v1.7.0ß »

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Great - all OK. I can now play that Region 2 DVD I was given..

Wouldn't the drop in read/write speed be cause for concern?

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,141
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
...Wouldn't the drop in read/write speed be cause for concern?
Well, yes, I think it could be an issue if (say) you wanted to write to some or several CD-ROMs or DVDs, because the write speed would presumably be artificially slowed by the flash - reduced to 1/3 the speed of its designed potential speed. However, I have so far only once used this laptop's DVD writer, and that was to create a backup/recovery disc as an experiment as much as anything else. I rarely, if ever, have any use/patience for writing to CD-ROMs or DVDs. The reduced read speed in this case doesn't appear to affect the experience of viewing a DVD anyway - I have already checked that. Nor does it seem to affect the typical elapsed time for running DVD Shrink on a disk - I already tested that too. So maybe it's not really been slowed down in fact. (I don't know.)

However, it did quite surprise me that the spec Read/Write speed had been so reduced by the Flash - and that's why I pointed it out in the screenshot - but, as I wrote:
Quote
(Can reflash with the backup configuration, if I want to restore the original DVD drive configuration.)

I have flashed a few DVD drives to RPC1, over the years, but have never yet wanted/needed to restore their original settings, though, having said that, I suppose there's always going to be a first time! I might try it as an experiment.

Incidentally, there is a buying check for the wise in this: Before purchasing a computer, do some research and check whether it has a Region-free (RPC1) or flashable model of DVD drive. It can sometimes be a real nuisance to later discover that you can't unlock a DVD drive in your new computer. You may end up having to buy a separate, additional drive - one that is a Region-free (RPC1) or flashable model of DVD drive.

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
[/i] Before purchasing a computer, do some research and check whether it has a Region-free (RPC1) or flashable model of DVD drive. It can sometimes be a real nuisance to later discover that you can't unlock a DVD drive in your new computer. You may end up having to buy a separate, additional drive - one that is a Region-free (RPC1) or flashable model of DVD drive.

Q: Aren't all drives manufactured after 2000 or 2001 RPC2? I thought I read that somewhere. :huh: Or did that just apply to drives sold in the USA?

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
My Plextor is region free and it's no where near that old.

...Or am I thinking of the wrong thing??

@IainB - What DiskInfo utility are you using in the above screen shots?

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,141
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Q: Aren't all drives manufactured after 2000 or 2001 RPC2? I thought I read that somewhere. :huh: Or did that just apply to drives sold in the USA?
I've no idea about the USA, but no, clearly they are/were still churning out RPC2 locked DVD drives in new laptops - mine being an example (well, I have had it for about 18 months now).

My Plextor is region free and it's no where near that old.
...Or am I thinking of the wrong thing??
@IainB - What DiskInfo utility are you using in the above screen shots?
Some manufacturer brands of DVD drives - like your Plextor - are often/usually issued RPC1, but it seems that the **AA still have a stranglehold contract (Copyright) on some of the manufacturers - e.g., presumably such as Matshita, which is a major OEM producer. Toshiba brand DVD drives were made notoriously difficult to unlock, though I gather that Toshiba does not produce their brand now. There is some good info re this at http://discinfo.rpc1.org/

In answer to your Q: I am using the proggie DISK Info v1.7.0ß, available from http://discinfo.rpc1.org/#Download
(I have edited and added that into the opening post to this discussion thread.)
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 07:55:22 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,475
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Wouldn't the drop in read/write speed be cause for concern?

A lower write speed will generally mean a better quality write, I don't write at anything above 6x - not unless I don't want a disc to be read on the majority of playback devices.

Q: Aren't all drives manufactured after 2000 or 2001 RPC2? I thought I read that somewhere. :huh: Or did that just apply to drives sold in the USA?

Yes, all drives are should be RPC2, (part of the DVD Alliance/Forum, **AA, MPEG-LA entanglement), but you can still flash them back to RPC1 to get around region encoding, (well, TBH, I haven't seen a recent factory drive that wasn't RPC2, eg. LiteOn, Samsung, Pioneer, Optiarc, Benq or LG, but I guess that doesn't mean they don't exist).

From memory the basic difference between them was the way the region was requested/reported.

For RPC1:
DVD: "Hi, I'm region 4."
Drive: "OK, I can play you."

For RPC2:
DVD: "Hi, what region are you?"
Drive: "I'm region 0, (ie. free)."
Drive: "Hello? Are you still there?"

Flashing the drive to RPC1 allowed you to make it region free.  RPC2 put the onus on the DVD software/encoding to check whether the drive was of the correct region which, at the time, was harder to bypass.  If the drive reports itself as RPC1 then it falls back to the old way of doing things which allowed for region free.

These days you can rip a DVD removing the region encoding in the process which kind of makes the whole region thing moot unless, of course, you are an honest, law-abiding person....in which case you're screwed.

For drive info, if you use ImgBurn you can go to the Tools->Drive menu to check capabilities/region/etc.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 08:38:50 PM by 4wd »

40hz

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 11,768
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Are they still putting the Regional Coding enhancement (RCE) on some disks? I remember a period not too long ago when I saw a spate of DVDs that wouldn't play on any of my PCs since I had set the drives to be region free. They'd flash a message that the disk was not authorized for the selected playback device, and then helpfully suggest I try using a different player.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
Wouldn't the drop in read/write speed be cause for concern?

A lower write speed will generally mean a better quality write, I don't write at anything above 6x - not unless I don't want a disc to be read on the majority of playback devices.

Right, knew that part. Back when, I spent a lot of time SlipStreaming Service Packs and burning OS disks so 6x is a bit fast for (that type of) a solid burn. :) My concern was not so much that it had capped the write speed (however shouldn't vs. can't is a factor), but that it had capped the read speed also.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is a DVD Region tab on the properties dialog of the drive I have here at the office that says I can use it to change the region 4 times (I'd always thought it was only 2). So assuming that it won't just let me set it to R0 ... Is there a country I can select that would be the equivalent of R0?? (Yeah, I know, dumb question ... But I gotta ask. :))

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,141
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
There is a DVD Region tab on the properties dialog of the drive I have here at the office that says I can use it to change the region 4 times (I'd always thought it was only 2). So assuming that it won't just let me set it to R0 ... Is there a country I can select that would be the equivalent of R0?
The number of Region changes that are left is shown in the DISC Info details in the screenshot above. It's up to 4 max, I gather.
It gets locked on the last one you use. I recall reading somewhere that you can't RPC1 Flash the drive once you have used up the last change.
As far as I am aware, there is no Region provided that you can select that is equivalent to R0.

Like I said, "ruddy annoying" "a real nuisance".    ;)

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,475
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Are they still putting the Regional Coding enhancement (RCE) on some disks?

I think so, doesn't really affect me because I don't playback DVDs on my PC but I do tangentially notice it when ripping....errr...creating a backup, that it's been removed.

Let's be honest, do you really expect the MAFIAA to accept that one of their restrictive practices was a complete failure and just dump it overnight?
 ;D

Right, knew that part. Back when, I spent a lot of time SlipStreaming Service Packs and burning OS disks so 6x is a bit fast for (that type of) a solid burn. :)

errr yeah, sorry... :-[

Quote
My concern was not so much that it had capped the write speed (however shouldn't vs. can't is a factor), but that it had capped the read speed also.

The only time the read cap is going to hit is when you rip the discs, IIRC, if you play back a DVD from the drive it's only read at 1x.

Of course, it'll also come into effect for data discs but we're mainly talking about DVD video if we're talking RPC.

Also, most DVD drives cap the read speed of video DVDs at about 8x anyway, (some can go to 16x), so that you normally have to flash with a RipLockw patch firmware if you want to rip a DVD any faster.

Stoic Joker

  • Honorary Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,296
    • View Profile
    • www.StoicJoker.com
    • Donate to Member
if you play back a DVD from the drive it's only read at 1x

Strangely, I never thought of that. But then again I never really think of the computer's optical drive as a place to stick movies. Disk ripping OTOH I do frequently. Thanks.

4wd

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 4,475
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Another DOH! moment:  This is a laptop DVD writer, I don't think I've ever seen or heard of one that can read/write a DVD faster than 8x.

I strongly suspect that the initial speed reported was for CDs and that with the firmware flash the drive now reports its true DVD read/write speeds.

An easy way to find out would be to put a known good quality blank in, (eg. TYG03), and see what speeds ImgBurn reported as possible for it, (bit late now in this case).

eg. Pioneer DVR-217
2012-08-25_17-56-57.jpg

Specs on this site seem to indicate this is the case, so you've actually lost nothing.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2012, 02:59:25 AM by 4wd, Reason: Removed the bleeding obvious :/ »

IainB

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2008
  • **
  • Posts: 6,141
  • Slartibartfarst
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Thanks to the @40hz, @Stoic Joker and @4wd I have learned/discovered something from this discussion thread.
After reading the link from @40hz to eeshops.com - here,
I googled "Specification of UJ897" and found some good stuff on alibaba.com - here.

The eeshops.com spec includes:
Quote
   9.5mm height
   5X DVD-RAM Writing
   8X DVD-R Writing
   6X DVD-R DL Writing
   6X DVD-RW Writing
   8X +R Writing
   8X +RW Writing
   6X +R DL Writing
   24X CD-R Writing
   16X CD-RW Writing
   8X DVD-ROM Reading
   24X CD-ROM Reading

The alibaba.com spec includes:
Quote
   Read CD:24x
   Read DVD:8X
   Read DVD-RAM:5X
   Write DVD:8X
   Write CD:24X
   Write DVD-RAM:5X
   Write DVD DL:4X