Saturday, September 02, 2006

Watching Region-free

Back before DVD standards were settled upon, my husband and I had to make a decision about what region code we were going to accumulate a collection under. Since we ultimately plan to reside in the United States, we chose to purchase only Region 1 encoded DVDs. This also was better for us because discs from the U.S. are cheaper than those in Japan and often titles are released earlier or exclusively there.

Having made that choice, we bought a rather expensive region-free player from the states by mail order. This was back in "the old days" before many shops in Akihabara carried players that could easily be set to be region-free or were region-free out of the box. That venerable machine, a Pioneer, went to DVD heaven earlier this year.

Rather than toddle off to Akihabara to secure a successor, we decided to opt for the rather cheap one that the FBC was offering. The main benefit of doing this was we were guaranteed the ability to download an English manual and a diagram of all the remote's functions translated into English. While I've gotten pretty good at stumbling my way through everything from Japanese computer manuals to utility bills (with the help of my husband), I'd rather that the more complicated functions of an audio-visual device were there for me in English if I have that option.

For 8,730 yen, it's been a pretty good deal. It works as well as any DVD player. That is to say, it can be idiosyncratic about some discs but plays 95% of them without problems. It also plays MP3's, DVD-RWs, and other discs which our old player could be a bit fussy about. The circular display on the right has a kaleidoscope function where it cycles through various colors while it displays the time on the disc. If that weren't all dandy enough, the unit has a small footprint (Dimensions: W25 x H6.2 x D25.5cm) which is rather helpful for those of us in small apartments.

images copyright of the Foreign Buyer's Club

No comments: