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Ox302B
10th November 2007, 11:03 PM
So... I was down in Kalgoorlie today doing a bit of shopping. I happened to pass the "Disturbia" DVD and decided what the heck, I'll buy it and watch it tonight at home. Fast forward to two and 1/2 hours later plus a bit for putting groceries away and I pop my movie into my Macbook Pro (1st Gen). I'm just about to sit down on my couch to watch the movie when I see this horrible message pop up on the screen:

http://img229.imageshack.us/img229/8734/picture1iz9.png

As you can imagine this was much to my disappointment. I completely forgot about region codes, and that my laptop was set to the US (Region 1) since all my DVD's are from that region. Now I could change it to Region 4 (AU), but the dilemma there is the drive is limited to only 5 total changes before it becomes locked permanently. I only had 3 changes left on my drive [you may notice the screen shot says I have 4 more, I'll get to that in a bit].

So off to the Internet I went in search of a way around the region code locking. It didn't take long before I started hitting a brick wall... and lots of them. A search on Google revealed a number of pages that stated it is currently impossible to circumvent this on the Macbook Pro. The reason being is that the Macbook Pro uses the Matshita (Panasonic) UJ-857 which has a hardware lock and is an RPC-2 (5 max region changes) device. Apparently the firmware is encrypted and no one has been able to hack it.

This was very true, until the release of Apple's SuperDrive Firmware update. I was very lucky in finding the needle in the haystack. Somewhere in the numerous "its not possible" links I managed to find one site that had the solution. A person who goes by "ben11" reverse engineered Apple's fw update and was able to create a hack to revert the UJ-857 drive to a RPC-1 (unlimited region changes) drive.

It was a bit confusing, but I managed to sort through all the various posts and information and successfully patch my SuperDrive. I just finished watching Disturbia and figured I share the information with MTA in hope to help anyone else who is in the same situation that I found myself.

Now on to the good stuff...
First thing is first.. you do this completely AT YOUR OWN RISK. If you stuff up your drive, don't come crying to me. Now with that said this worked without a hitch on my Macbook Pro 15" Intel Core Duo with a MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-857 drive running Leopard OS X. These instructions are specific to that platform, however note there is firmware for other drives too (see Failed Firmware Update Macbook Pro Matsushita uj-857 (http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?p=207704#207704)). The announcement was first made by "Ben11" on rpc1.org in the "MATHITA DVD-R UJ-857 FOR MACBOOKPRO (http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=38176&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=25)" post.

Firmware revision: HAEA
First you need to ensure that the original Apple SuperDrive Firmware 2.1 is installed and that your drive is revision HAEA. To do this go into Applications/Utilities/System Profiler. Click on Disc Burning and on the right you should see Firmware Revision. (Or type 'drutil info' in terminal and look under 'Rev') If it doesn't list "HAEA" then STOP HERE and go to the above forum links for details on if your system is capable.

Software and Firmware
Next you should download DVD Info X [Download (http://www.macupdate.com/download.php/16366/DVD_Info_X.app.zip)]. This application is not actually required, but more a confirmation tool. Once you've downloaded it make sure there is nothing in your drive and run the program. You should see an output in a terminal window similar to the following:


Vendor: MATSHITA
Model: DVD-R UJ-857
Firmware: HAEA
RPC-2 (region locked)
State is SET
4 vendor resets left
3 region changes left
Region 4

The the to note is that its showing as a RPC-2 drive.

Next step is to actually flash the drive to make it RPC-1. To do that you need SimpleFlash
[Download (http://rapidshare.com/files/57312123/SimpleFlash.zip.html)]. Once downloaded and extracted you need to open up Terminal. Go to where you extracted the file (in Leopard it would be Downloads/SimpleFlash

From this directory do the following command:
./simple_flash 0 UJ857-HAEA-MBP-rpc1.dat

It should take about 30 seconds and then you will see "Finished" outputed. Run DVD Info X again and this time you should see:
Vendor: MATSHITA
Model: DVD-R UJ-857
Firmware: HAEA
RPC-1 (region free)
Region X

Now reboot your system.

The final step is to download Region X [Download (http://www.macupdate.com/download.php/13801/RegionX_1.1.3.zip)], which is the application you will use to toggle between region codes and reset the region change limit counter (i.e. why the Drive Region shows 4 now and not the 3 it was originally :P).

When you run the application you will see the following screen:
http://img105.imageshack.us/img105/2967/picture2oe5.png

Simply select the region you would like (Region 4 in my case) and click OK.

Finally, pop your Region 4 (or whatever you set it to) DVD into the drive and DVD Player will open up and play the DVD without complaining about an incorrect region code. :D

Many many thanks to "Ben11" for creating the firmware hack to enable us to play our rightfully and legally purchased DVDs on our Macbook Pro! :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

Galumay
10th November 2007, 11:06 PM
yep, the fix has been round for a while, not all the drives have had firmware written yet. My PB & MBP have been done, but the MacMini combo drive doesnt have firmware yet.

very well written and presented tutorial BTW, perhaps it could be moved to the articles section?

Ben™
10th November 2007, 11:14 PM
Doesn't VLC play them, regardless of region?

Ox302B
10th November 2007, 11:20 PM
I assumed there would be those like yourself that already knew about this. Hopefully though for those who didn't know (like me), or find the other posts confusing, will find this article of use and helpful. It's the least I can do to contribute back into the community. I wish I had the skills to come up with these hacks (like the iPhone). I wouldn't even know where to begin :p

(edited to correct wording)

Ox302B
10th November 2007, 11:23 PM
Doesn't VLC play them, regardless of region?

Simple non-technical answer, No.

You can read about it on the forums I linked too, but simply put the Matshita UJ-857 (and several others) have a built in hardware feature that prevents VLC from by-passing like it can do on other drives.

SyncMan
11th November 2007, 06:41 AM
I for the life of me cannot understand the dill(s) that put Australia in with South America.

Is that crazy stupid or what?

SBOB
11th November 2007, 07:26 AM
is the macbooks combo drive(ie CD-rw/DVD-ROM) region locked and if so is it undoable?

benmcgruer
11th November 2007, 07:39 AM
And they wonder why people pirate movies. In less time and with no risk of damage to my computer I could download just about any movie - including the ones that they've decided to not to release here and have finished watching it.

But thanks for the hint.

iPirate
11th November 2007, 10:02 AM
Model: HL-DT-ST DVDRW GSA-S10N
Revision: AP09

Lemme guess... it's a life of Piracy for me (No Firmware unlocking)?

AFAIK, you can rip a DVD that is a different region to your drive's firmware, you just can't play the original.

JimWOz
11th November 2007, 12:22 PM
AFAIK, you can rip a DVD that is a different region to your drive's firmware, you just can't play the original.

I had problems with both my PBG4 with a retrofitted Matshita UJ845 drive and with my MB with a UJ857 doing this with MTR. The rips were basically no good. It may be drive specific and or OS specific. Before I fitted the UJ845, I know I ripped region 1 discs to region 4 OK, using the original Matshita CW8123 combo drive in the PB, and an early Panther OS.

I was able to use VLC with the CW8123 & Panther to view other than region 4 discs. But this no longer worked with the UJ845.

So I think there is a matrix of issues at play. :(

Bottom line, since Ben11 wrote/hacked new RPC1 firmware for the UJ857 in my MB, I have been able to merrily swap regions with the MB at will, and rip to region 4 successfully with MTR. I just set the drive to the original disks region first, then rip, and it works fine. ;)

I like to have main feature only music DVD's that will auto play and rotate out in my Sony 5 disk carousel DVD player. That way, I can mix CD's and DVD's in the carousel and they just play. I also have a lot of region 2 TV shows bought from Amazon UK, and can now play them on the MB as well. :D

Ox302B
11th November 2007, 01:07 PM
is the macbooks combo drive(ie CD-rw/DVD-ROM) region locked and if so is it undoable?

Depends on what DVD hardware is inside your macbook, but chances are yes. There are a few Macbook firmwares available as well. Follow the first steps in my article to determine what hardware you are running and post it here. I'll be able to tell you then yes or no if there is a firmware available for your machine.

Running DVD Info X will also tell you if you have a RPC-2 or RPC-1 drive. You either want an RPC-1 drive, or an RPC-2 drive that has firmware available for it.

tbarnes10
21st May 2008, 02:52 PM
how do you enter the command './simple_flash 0 UJ857-HAEA-MBP-rpc1.dat" i can't figure out how to do it. Please help me

macaholic
21st May 2008, 03:12 PM
I for the life of me cannot understand the dill(s) that put Australia in with South America.


North Americans decided this.

South America/Australia/others = third world countries (in American psyche).

benzoenator
22nd May 2008, 10:36 PM
I googled around, but I couldn't see anything. I'm running a MATSHITA UJ-875, and I can't find a firmware hack for it. Does one exist? :P

shanedek
11th June 2008, 11:02 AM
Hi folks, I have a MacBook with UJ-857 E firmware ZF1E, I see that there is region free updates for other version firmware is there a way to change my firmware to a level that can then be flashed to a region free?

miCHx
8th July 2008, 10:48 AM
hi there

firstly: thanks for this great post. as i am not a computer-nerd, i'm glad, i found one, i actually understand :).

still i've got this problem: if i understood the things i read 'til now right, it's quite important to have the right firmware-update and if it's the wrong one it'll ruin my drive. so, i found a lot information about the 857-drive. now i've got a 857E-drive. does it make a difference? here's all the information about my drive:

Vendor: MATSHITA
Model: DVD-R UJ-857E
Firmware: ZA0E
RPC-2 (region locked)
State is PERMANENT
4 vendor resets left
0 region change left
Region 2

can i flash it?

NathR32
8th July 2008, 11:12 AM
hi there

firstly: thanks for this great post. as i am not a computer-nerd, i'm glad, i found one, i actually understand :).

still i've got this problem: if i understood the things i read 'til now right, it's quite important to have the right firmware-update and if it's the wrong one it'll ruin my drive. so, i found a lot information about the 857-drive. now i've got a 857E-drive. does it make a difference? here's all the information about my drive:

Vendor: MATSHITA
Model: DVD-R UJ-857E
Firmware: ZA0E
RPC-2 (region locked)
State is PERMANENT
4 vendor resets left
0 region change left
Region 2

can i flash it?

Im in the exact same position as you. 857-E. Same firmware, no region changes left. I'm locked to Region 4 so its ok as most of my DVDs are R$ but I'd love to change it if I have a DVD with a different region.

miCHx
8th July 2008, 11:38 PM
i suppose we have to revert to the old firmware and then flash it... but that's kinda too risky - i found some instructions, which i didn't understand really. so i'm kinda unsecure about it...

kyuss66
22nd July 2008, 05:51 AM
Hi folks, I have a MacBook with UJ-857 E firmware ZF1E, I see that there is region free updates for other version firmware is there a way to change my firmware to a level that can then be flashed to a region free?

Hi everyone,

I have the same problem to playback dvd's on my drive.
Has anyone found an update for UJ-857 (E) Rev. ZF1E yet?
Thanks!

kyuss66.

klif
28th July 2008, 09:23 PM
Is there no OS X equivalent to AnyDVD for the PC?

2Tri4Fun
5th August 2008, 08:22 PM
Im in the exact same position as you. 857-E. Same firmware, no region changes left. I'm locked to Region 4 so its ok as most of my DVDs are R$ but I'd love to change it if I have a DVD with a different region.

You can download the firmware update for UJ-857E, Rev ZA0E here (http://www.powerbook-fr.com/dossiers/dvd_region_free_en_article30.html).

Hope this helps

PCGuy
3rd September 2008, 04:35 AM
Seems like a lot of trouble to go through using Terminal and Simple Flash to run the hack in Leopard. There is an easier method.

The firmware hacks do work under Leopard, you just have to edit SystemVersion.plist which is found in the CoreServices directory (path - MacintoshHD/System/Library/CoreServices). Change the OS Product version listed in the code from 10.5.x to 10.4.y (where y>5). You'll need to change the permissions on this file and its containing folders before you can save the changes. After that run the appropriate 'Ben11' firmware hack and it'll go. Make sure to change the version back before you restart.

astr0b0y
3rd September 2008, 07:50 AM
Seems like a lot of trouble to go through using Terminal and Simple Flash to run the hack in Leopard. There is an easier method.

The firmware hacks do work under Leopard, you just have to edit SystemVersion.plist which is found in the CoreServices directory (path - MacintoshHD/System/Library/CoreServices). Change the OS Product version listed in the code from 10.5.x to 10.4.y (where y>5). You'll need to change the permissions on this file and its containing folders before you can save the changes. After that run the appropriate 'Ben11' firmware hack and it'll go. Make sure to change the version back before you restart.

This doesn't work for many users.

PCGuy
4th September 2008, 11:46 PM
hi there

firstly: thanks for this great post. as i am not a computer-nerd, i'm glad, i found one, i actually understand :).

still i've got this problem: if i understood the things i read 'til now right, it's quite important to have the right firmware-update and if it's the wrong one it'll ruin my drive. so, i found a lot information about the 857-drive. now i've got a 857E-drive. does it make a difference? here's all the information about my drive:

Vendor: MATSHITA
Model: DVD-R UJ-857E
Firmware: ZA0E
RPC-2 (region locked)
State is PERMANENT
4 vendor resets left
0 region change left
Region 2

can i flash it?

yes - here's the output from my mac with the exact same drive firmware

DVD Info X v1.0.1, by xvi (xvi@rpc1.org)

WARNING --- DVD Info X will only list DVD drives that have some WRITE
capabilities, like combos, DVD-R, DVD-RW, etc...
DVD-ROM-only drives will NOT be listed.
WARNING --- You also must eject any inserted medium to list the drive.

Vendor: MATSHITA
Model: DVD-R UJ-857E
Firmware: ZA0E
RPC-1 (region free)

kche3572
30th October 2008, 11:04 AM
Guys I have a Superdrive in my 24" iMac
and the following is what I get from DVD info X
Vendor: MATSHITA
Model: DVD-R UJ-875
Firmware: DB09
RPC-2 (region locked)
State is SET
4 vendor resets left
4 region changes left
Region 4
it seem that there is no RCP1 firmware for my superdrive
Can anyone confirm tat?
Thanks a lor

SilverJ
11th December 2008, 08:11 AM
An alternative Solution is to rip the DVD to your hard drive, where you can de-region etc and just mount it on your hard drive using dvd player or VLC. If you have a fast external dvd burner drive it takes about 14 minutes I've found. So that's not too long to wait really :)

justjack
9th January 2009, 09:53 PM
I googled around, but I couldn't see anything. I'm running a MATSHITA UJ-875, and I can't find a firmware hack for it. Does one exist? :P

Same - have left this info in a separate thread but unfortunately still nothing :(

word4word
17th March 2009, 02:03 PM
...leave it to computer illiterate person like me to do something wrong.

The step-by-step process seemed easy enough to follow, but I have come across two problems.

First, Apple SuperDrive Firmware 2.1 is no longer available for download, so I settled for v2.0.

The second issue I came across was using Simple Flash. From the menu bar, I selected Shell>New Command and type "/Applications/SimpleFlash UJ857-HAEA-MBP-rpc1.dat" in order to locate the file directory. The result of this is:


PERMISSION DENIED
[Process completed]


Any other combination of directory information that I type before the file name gives me the message "No such file or directory":confused:

I need help.

pengu
2nd May 2009, 02:36 AM
For those still looking to flash a DVD drive to RPC1, this page helped a lot for me:
MacBook-fr - DVD : Region Free (EN) (http://www.powerbook-fr.com/dossiers/dvd_region_free_en_article30.html)

the SuperDrive firmware 2.1 is available from that page, along with easy to use firmware flashers for the various drives.