Cinema

Hardware Firmware

By May 5, 2008 One Comment

DMR-EH67The lovely people at Panasonic have lent all the City Managers for the ‘V’ 48 Hour Furious Filmmaking Competition (of which I am one) a Hard Drive DVD Recorder so we can capture everyone’s entries and then play them back at the highest possible resolution — without having to worry about hundreds of tapes going missing in the Paramount projection box.

It’s a very attractive shade of black and has a deeply impressive, heavy, manual which is all in English. It used to be manuals for video recorders were padded out with all sorts of European languages but now they need all those pages to explain the fiendishly complicated process of recording telly to a hard drive and then transferring the video to a DVD so you can lend it to your mates.

One thing that struck me just now as I opened up the box was a notice reading “THE REGION NUMBER FOR THIS DVD RECORDER IS REGION NO. 4” and it occurred to me (at the same time as I realised that my Caps Lock button doesn’t appear to be working) that as this machine has come straight from Panasonic it won’t have been de-zoned. And then it further occurred to me that I didn’t even know whether the Sony DVD Recorder I bought last month was region-free or not. I just assumed it was and never thought to check. What’s more I don’t know if I even have a Region 1 disc here to test it.

Does this mean that that Region-Rebellion we were all so worried about is over? Is the selection in New Zealand now good enough that we don’t need to worry about buying from Amazon to get our fix of fine home entertainment?

Not entirely. I recently ordered two films from amazon.co.uk which are not available on DVD for rent or purchase here: Patrick Keiller’s wonderful, literate, films about Britain from 1994 and 1997, London and Robinson in Space. Which, I now discover are All Region encoded anyway so I don’t know exactly what that proves.

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