A wonder of our globalized economy:
As everyone knows, DVD players are sold encoded to a particular region to block imported DVDs from playing. However the *cheapest* DVD players are manufactured for low-price sales world-wide, and are thus engineered with (a) easily re-programmable regional coding (only one unit to make) and (b) chips that convert PAL signals (a system used over much of the world) to NTSC signals (a system used primarily in the United States and Japan).
The CyberHome CH-DVD 500 progressive scan DVD player (available at Amazon, Target, and elsewhere) is sold for about $80. Among other machines, it can be easily reprogrammed using the remote in accordance with instructions accessible to the Google-literate. You can then watch any DVD manufactured anywhere in the world at home.
CyberHome CH-DVD 500 Progressive Scan DVD Player
$80 (used only)
Available from Amazon
There are many sources for international DVDs, including the national Amazon sites – Japan, France, UK, Germany – as well as CDJapan.com, and yesasia.com., among others. A very large proportion of the titles are digitally subtitled in English, and usually indicated as such on the sites.
What can you get? Depends on what you like: British television comedies and drama, uncut and uninterrupted, years before local release if ever; Japanese animation and the new wave of Japanese horror films; the massive (ten films a month) restoration and release of the Shaw Bros. film and television library from Hong Kong; classic releases of Bergman films from Artificial Eye in London (Fanny and Alexander uncut); French noir from the fifties and sixties, and on and on. The best place I know of for international DVD obsessives is called dvdtalk.com. The international forum, which has tons of shopping information and stuff about individual releases (“Von Trier’s Kingdom with subtitles out in Denmark on August 1!”: that sort of thing) is nerd-out.com (now called DVD talk).
– Dennis Dort