Where to get a region-free DVD player in Japan

I thought it would be easy in Japan, of all places, to go into a high street electrical shop and find a region-free DVD player that can handle both PAL and NTSC discs. But in every place I checked I could only find players that are NTSC only and locked to region 2, which means they wouldn’t be able to play any of my DVDs (region 1 NTSC from US/Canada, or region 2 PAL from Europe).

After a bit of Googling I found a few leads. Fastjettotokyo recommends a Scitech player from Donki, but I couldn’t find any evidence that it will play PAL discs. Lots of other sites pointed to Akihabara, so I was planning to go and have a troll around the shops there one evening after work.

Then, thanks to a tip from a Japanese colleague, I found this Pioneer DV-410V-K at Rakuten. It’s multi-region (1-5), supports PAL and NTSC, and has a USB port on the front to playback DivX, etc, from external USB media.

The ordering process wasn’t as straightforward as expected because they didn’t accept credit cards issued outside Japan (tried 2 different German ones, Visa and Mastercard), but once we got the order through using a Japanese card, delivery was within 2 working days.

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3 Responses to “Where to get a region-free DVD player in Japan”

  1. notoriousthorn Says:

    The Pioneer is a good choice and I almost bought it. The Scitec plays all Region 1 DVDs from US and Canada, but the problem is they don’t advertise it. I got my info on it from other expats who bought it. Even when you go to the store to buy, the associate won’t confirm it plays Region 1. I ship in all my DVDs from the US and Canada, and so far, it plays them all.

    Great site, by the way.

  2. jturningpin Says:

    I brought my Momitsu DVD player with me from the States. Region free, PAL/NTSC and upconverts to 1080i when hooked up to HDTV via DVI cable. Used to have a full-blown home theater back in the U.S. How I miss it so…

  3. David Says:

    I sold all my audio-video kit before coming over here. It was all old though, so it was a good opportunity to replace it 🙂

    After using the Pioneer DVD player for 5 months or so, I have to say I’m very pleased with it.

    It came with a note saying they don’t guarantee it’ll play all DVDs, but it’s played every disc I’ve put in it. Mind you, since it’s got the USB connection I hardly play DVDs any more.

    It’s got upconverting, so a DivX video played off an external USB drive and into the HDTV via HDMI looks much better than on the screen of my 15″ Macbook Pro.

    The only negative thing about it is the user interface which is really clunky and slow. Most annoyingly, it truncates the file names in the menus, so it’s impossible to tell which one you’re opening if they all have long names beginning with the same text. And it won’t browse down deeper than about 4 nested directories.

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