Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hogfather DVD Draws Near: How American Discworld fans can see Pratchett's masterpiece

Sadly, so far no American networks have picked up the movie based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel The Hogfather. But the film will be coming out on DVD in April in the UK. This means that us Disc-aholic Yanks can order the DVD through Amazon.co.uk and then play it on a region-hacked DVD player.

I actually have one of these and can attest that it works great. The model that I have is the Toshiba SD3980. I bought it through Amazon about 18 months ago for around $80. I was immediately impressed with how easy it was to install and use. I play it through a Sony Wega widescreen using component connections and the picture is great, regardless of the region or PAL/NTSC coding of the DVD (I also found it is smarter about aspect ratio than some more expensive DVD players--the ones that squish video shot in 4:3).

The big test was the 5 hour German PAL version of Until the End of the World, which is my wife's favorite movie. Played great, all 5 hours of it. However, it appears the 3980 itself is no longer available, replaced by the 3990. Since the price is the same, this would seem to be a good thing. (Note: some reviewers seem to have found the 3890 flimsy and easily broken--all I can say is they must give their DVD players a tougher workout than me, mine has given me no problems.)

So, for around $120, you and your North American Discworld-addicted friends [a phrase I am using in a good way] can have a Hogfather party in April.

(For more on region-hacked DVDs, check this link.)

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