As many science fiction fans may have noticed – shows licensed from the BBC such as Doctor Who cost about twice or even three times more than most U.S. television shows. This can be particularly bad if you are on a budget and don’t want to break the bank. Yes, a few of these shows are available on Netflix (e.g. Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, and Day of the Triffids) but some shows that I plan on eventually getting such as the Tripods or Blakes 7 will probably never come out here or be released on a streaming device. You can obviously download things and burn them or watch programs on your computer, but if you are like me, this choice is never as good as watching a good quality image whilst sitting in a comfy chair. This is where region-free DVD players some in.
My recommendation to anyone that may decide to watch some harder to find UK shows is to do one of the following two things:
1) Cheap Method: It’s a little known secret that most, if not all cheap Chinese DVD players are actually region-free, and have their region locked installed via software within the factory. In the past I used to get DVD players from Digix or Coby for around 20-30 dollars. These players were pretty crappy for the most part, and honestly aren’t worth it unless you can’t swing what I will post on option 2. I remember having this one particular model of Coby DVD player that would work fine until around the six month mark, *boom* – broken. The trick to using one of these is to do a little research. Websites like DVD Help have listings of DVD players and whether they can be region hacked or not. Most of these are simple to hack, as a numerical code on the DVD remote usually does the trick.
2) Best Method – depending on how much one wants to spend, visiting a site like Region Free DVD is the best option. Tired of dealing with cheap players, I plunked down 100 dollars for a Toshiba regionless HDMI up-scaling DVD player, and will never look back. Not only is the picture better in just about every way, but the player itself is tailored for wide screen TVs and widescreen media, like most UK TV.
The reason I recommend getting one of these players is pretty self explanatory with the numbers. Here are the prices and availability of one show Life on Mars, and its spin-off/sequel Ashes to Ashes.
LOM Season 1: $49.99
LOM Season 2: $49.99
A2A S1: Not released
A2A S2: Not released
A2A S3:Nor released
Total $100.00 for 2 seasons, Ashes to Ashes not even announced for release
(as of today’s exchange rates)
LOM Season 1: $15.00
LOM Season 2: $15.00
A2A S1: $15.00
A2A S2: $15.00
A2A S3: $20.00
Total $80.00 for 5 seasons, all episodes complete
And now you can see why I do this, and shipping isn’t bad either – maybe 8 bucks for most DVD orders to reach the U.S.