DATELINE -- Tuesday, 10 October 2000

Region-codes tightened: In a move that likely will have far greater repercussions on digital die-hards outside of North America than here in Region 1, the British-based DVD website DVD Debate is reporting that Warner Brothers is tinkering with the region-code technology of the DVD format with something called "Regional Code Enhancement." In particular, RCE tightens up some of the loopholes that are allowing Region 1 discs to play on code-free players in other regions by preventing these discs from operating unless the player clearly identifies itself as Region 1 and unmodified. DVD Debate quotes from an internal memo reportedly distributed at Warner that states, in part, "WHV will start applying the RCE to discs scheduled for release in the U.S. market beginning in late October. The program has two objectives. (1) Discourage the export of region 1 discs to other regions and (2) discourage the sale of DVD video hardware that has been modified to 'region free.' WHV Sales personnel should immediately begin to communicate this program to key retailers in their respective territories."

Is it true? Ahem....

Our APEX AD-600A says yes, it is, because the new RCE technology has rendered at least one new disc of ours inoperable when the APEX is set to code-free (it works fine when we set the player back to Region 1).

Scratch "code-free" from your vocabulary. Add "pre-RCE discs." You folks overseas might want to put a shot of whiskey in your morning coffee while you're at it, too.

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