Guides to jumpstart your Retrogaming lifestyle
User avatar
CRTGAMER
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 11790
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:59 am
Location: Southern California

Macrovision Removal CSS Region Free DVD Player

by CRTGAMER Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:51 pm

APEX AD-600A
Macrovision Removal CSS Region Free DVD Player


Image
Image

The Apex AD-600A has an interesting history. Only sold at Circuit City; it was discovered to have a hidden "Hackers Menu" causing the movie industry to demand the DVD Player be recalled. Apex did so and even offered existing owners a free bios upgrade to "improve" the features of the player. There were fixes to assist the disc read of seamless branching DVDs, but in reality the upgrade was mainly to kill the hackers menu.

Circuit City wrote:We are aware from media reports that initial production of the Apex AD600A had secret menus which allowed some users to bypass copyright protections built in to all DVD players. These menus have now been deleted from this player in recent production; our present stock reflects this fact. We purchased the AD600A based on its full array of legitimate features, quality construction and a most attractive price. Due to overwhelming demand, we must limit orders to one unit only.

Okay now for a tale of two DVD Players found months apart at two different Goodwill Stores. Know about the uniqueness of this Player I really had to get one. Online sales would be a risk of not getting the early unit with the Loop Menu. Apex is usually considered a budget player with only composite output. A surprise that this earlier model has Component and PCM/Dolby digital output. Happy to get the 480p mode to maximize the DVD video quality.

Which Fish is the better unit? :?:

Right Click for a larger view
APEX AD-600A CSS Macrovision Region Free.jpg
APEX AD-600A CSS Macrovision Region Free.jpg (207.24 KiB) Viewed 1500 times

First Find - APEX DVD AD-600A Manufactured 9/99
I verified the DVD player is an earlier model before the recall date, but it did not come with a remote. No problem, I have two APEX AD-1500 units at home each with a remote. After hooking up, the remote functions ejecting the disc and everything, but alas cannot access the Secret Menu after pressing the appropriate combination of keys. :?

Kept an eye out at Thrift Stores and Swap Meets for the same style remote that comes with the original unit, found one a month later. Still no luck with the different APEX remote, now have a strong suspicion this unit was sent back thru Circuit City for that free Bios Firmware update that killed the Secret Menu.

Kevin Archibald wrote:The real rumblings about this unit began when a secret menu was allegedly 'discovered', one which allowed a viewer to bypass region codes, turn off Macrovision copy protection and even was rumored to be able to disable digital CSS encoding on a disc. As soon as word broke on the semi-legal qualities of the APEX 600-A, these babies were harder to find than a pretty girl at a Star Trek convention.

Second Find - APEX DVD AD-600A Manufactured 9/99
Spotted another unit some months later at another Thrift store, but with a 2001 manufacture date. Oh crap, it turned out to be the AD-660 model which also has a standard drive inside, but no Component and unlikely to have the loop menu. Wait a minute what was buried on the shelf below?

:shock: Another AD-600A unit with the first edition manufacture date 9/99! A hope this unit was not Firmware updated as the player I bought some months back. Took it home and confirmed I can now access the Secret Menu which disables Macrovision and can be set to CSS Region Free! :mrgreen:

Okay so Macrovision is moot nowadays since video tape backups are obsolete over a DVDR. Nice to know I can disable the Macrovision though. The Region Free is a great feature, but there are a few newer DVD players that have that capability too. Ooh but what is inside these old Apex units?

Standard IDE PATA Drive
Inside are standard IDE data and power cables! This allows swapping in an inexpensive DVD burner. Not for burning discs, but the reliability of a fast 56x DVDR reader to handle most any rental scratched disc. :smile:

Since I have two of the obscure APEX units, maybe I will go nuts with player that has the upgrade Menu lockout fix. It still has the IDE connections inside inviting the possibilities of an IDE Hard Drive full of MP3s or Videos. Again there are DVR Recorders, but this model DVD player is a neat Hobby Hack worth looking into. I'll update this Thread if I pursue this. :idea:

Right Click for a larger view

APEX AD-600A IDE PATA Drive.JPG
APEX AD-600A IDE PATA Drive.JPG (241.72 KiB) Viewed 1500 times

The APEX AD-600A Secret Menu
Real easy to find once the right Steps are done on the remote. This is neat fun stuff!

APEX Hidden Menu.jpg
APEX Hidden Menu.jpg (240.78 KiB) Viewed 1497 times

Links - Great info on a unique DVD Player
Digital Bits Review - http://www.thedigitalbits.com/site_archive/reviews/apexad600a.html
Geek Com Review - http://www.geek.com/hwswrev/conel/apex600a/apex600a.htm
IGN Review - http://www.ign.com/articles/2001/10/01/apex-600a-reveiw
Optimizing the Apex AD-660 DVD Player - http://apex660.freewebspace.com/
Apex AD-600A Secret Menu http://marcyu.tripod.com/secret_menu.html
Last edited by CRTGAMER on Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Image
CRT vs LCD - Hardware Mods - HDAdvance - Custom Controllers - Game Storage - Wii Gamecube and other Guides:
CRTGAMER Guides in Board Guides Index: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1109425#p1109425

Image
Image
User avatar
Ziggy587
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 11398
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:12 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Re: Macrovision Removal CSS Region Free DVD Player

by Ziggy587 Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:51 pm

So all the secret menu lets you do is turn off Macrovision, make the DVD player region free, and turn off CSS decryption? The only useful thing there is making it region free, but there's plenty of DVD players around that you can make region free. Removing Macrovision was pretty neat 10-15 years ago, but it's pretty useless now unless you want to dump a DVD to VHS for some reason. And turning off CSS decryption would break the DVD player, so I'm not sure why you would even want to do that.

Sounds like it would have been a really nice DVD player to have in the 00's though.

What I really want is for some one to make custom firmware that I can put on a DVD player. Make it region free, and remove all the restrictions like not being able to skip warning screens. Like the Rockbox firmware for mp3 players, only for DVD players instead.
Image
User avatar
CRTGAMER
Next-Gen
 
Posts: 11790
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:59 am
Location: Southern California

Re: Macrovision Removal CSS Region Free DVD Player

by CRTGAMER Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:23 pm

Ziggy587 wrote:So all the secret menu lets you do is turn off Macrovision, make the DVD player region free, and turn off CSS decryption? The only useful thing there is making it region free, but there's plenty of DVD players around that you can make region free. Removing Macrovision was pretty neat 10-15 years ago, but it's pretty useless now unless you want to dump a DVD to VHS for some reason. And turning off CSS decryption would break the DVD player, so I'm not sure why you would even want to do that.

Sounds like it would have been a really nice DVD player to have in the 00's though.

What I really want is for some one to make custom firmware that I can put on a DVD player. Make it region free, and remove all the restrictions like not being able to skip warning screens. Like the Rockbox firmware for mp3 players, only for DVD players instead.

True about the Macrovision, but still an interesting hackable DVD player. I got it for the uniqueness and history rarity of the unit. The CSS is curious, must be a reason why the disable feature considering almost every DVD movie has the coding. Perhaps an explore of bypassing all the dumb FBI warning screens could be coded? The IDE option inside also intriguing in trying out a much better tracking PC disc reader versus regular DVD players or even the possibility of going the PATA Hard Drive route.
Image
CRT vs LCD - Hardware Mods - HDAdvance - Custom Controllers - Game Storage - Wii Gamecube and other Guides:
CRTGAMER Guides in Board Guides Index: http://www.racketboy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1109425#p1109425

Image
Image
Return to Guides

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests