I just got one of these players and I like it a lot, especially for its DivX, XviD, etc. playback capability.
With the firmware that this player shipped with (version 1109), Macrovision has been enabled. With the previous firmware which ended sometime around November '04 (version 0531), Macrovision was not enabled.
Now, some owners of these players were able to "downgrade" their original 1109 firmware to 0531 to get rid of the Macrovision; and others (like myself) were not able to. The reason for this was explained by "Jefferson Ryan" on the Doom9 forums:
We were wondering for the last weeks why some guys canÂ´t do a downgrade to the 0531 version and why the 1109 firmware has three files.
ItÂ´s because there are at least three different hardware configs of the DVPxx in the market.
In the firmware screen you can see a code like this:
Ver0531 642/78 01 M 4
The letter "M" is the hardware config. I counted three configs in the wild: "M", "S" and "E".
The "M" uses only the file dvpxx.rom (tested - I have one unit)
The "S" uses only the file dvpxxDV.rom (tested - I have one unit)
The "E" requires the file dvpxxEW.rom , not present in the 0531 firmware (not tested, but seems obvious)
So, you canÂ´t downgrade because you do not have the file for your hardware. Maybe it was not Philips intent to block the downgrades. I think that some parts changed in the production line and so the firmware was changed acordingly. Philips puts the three files in the same ZIP to simplify the process to the users point of view. Each unit picks the right file based in information stored in the 512Bytes EEPROM (a little chip).
When the firmware loading process begins, the player displays the name of the picked file for a moment in the top left of the screen.
But what parts changed? What difference we can expect in the unit behaviour?
I donÂ´t know for sure, but we will need to take that letter in consideration for now on when trying to understand the DVP642 quirks.
I have the "E" hardware and can not "downgrade" to 0531 firmware and apparently no firmware exists that I can "downgrade" to.
So that is the backstory in case anyone reading this is not familiar with the DVP642 firmware situation.
Now, I know that some people have modified existing firmware for certain devices such as PC-based Liteon CD burners and even made utilities for DIY patching, such as "OmniPatcher". Is anything like this possible for the Philips DVP642 firmware, i.e. modify the existing current firmware to say, remove Macrovision and make it region-free? It is easy enough to make these players region-free with a code punched into the remote control but I haven't heard of any similar thing for getting rid of the Macrovision, beyond being able to successfully "downgrade" the firmware.
I'm not sure if this is the right section of the forum for this post. It does deal with firmware, but not for a PC-based optical drive obviously.