Hacking the Pioneer DVL-909

Pioneer DVL-909 hacks

A few years ago, I was in Tokyo on business and (amazingly) the Yen was trading low enough to make electronics purchases a real bargain. I picked up (among other toys) a Pioneer DVL-909, since I had been wanting both a DVD and LaserDisc player for some time. Hey, I needed to do something with those dusty Star Wars boxed sets.
At the time I didn't speak much, er, any Japanese, so I didn't quite grasp the salesman's emphatic warning that only Region 2 discs would play on this device. I realized this after exchanging some email with Britt back home. Shit. Need to learn Japanese.
Hooray for Alta Vista. Found a site with pictures and instructions on modifying the 909 so it's region-free, or rather region-selectable by remote control. Very nice. Later, when I was looking for the site, it was down. For posterity's sake, I'm putting up the images I used, along with a supposed Macrovision hack and a DTS hack. These are not my creations - i've provided links to the originals, or at least the places I found the information. Who knows where they got it.
A few notes about the DVL-909:
LD/DVD video and audio quality is terrific. Probably a notch below the 919, but hey, that one's not as easy to hack. The huge downside is its lack of onboard Dolby Digital decoding, or DTS output. What's worse, if you want Dolby Digital from your laserdiscs, you have to get an external RF-demodulator. These are tricky to find these days. I have a Denon decoder which takes both RF and two sets of optical inputs, so I can get my LD/DVD fix, as well as satellite dolby.
Hack notes
I haven't tried the DTS hack below (i'm still a little skeptical, and it's trickier than the other ones) but if it's kosher I may have to go on another decoder search. I also haven't done the Macrovision hack, simply because, well, who cares? I mean, copying dvd's is a waste of time if you're going to VHS, since the quality sucks. The only one of these I've actually done and can confirm works is the region hack. It's easy and useful, and supposedly works with the DV-505, DVL-505, DVL-91, DV-K101, and the older DV-606D.

Don't mess with your player if you don't know what you're doing - I take no responsibility for you voiding your warranty and breaking your player. These may not work on all DVL-909 models.

Region-free hack

  • Take the player apart.
  • Find the solder pads on the board next to IC602 (taking the player apart is a bit time-consuming, but keep careful track of how you did it...).
  • Solder a wire between the two connections shown in the picture. Easy, huh?
  • Put the player back together.

  • Next, pick a disc that's of a different region than your player. Open the tray, but don't close it yet.
  • Bring up the DVD Menu with the remote.
  • Select 'Initial'.
  • Press the 'Display' button on the remote. The OSD should show what region the player is currently set to.
  • Press the 'Condition' button on the remote, and then the number of the desired region (1-6). The OSD display should change.
  • Press the 'Menu' button and you're golden. Pop in the disc and enjoy.

    Original site

  • Macrovision hack

  • Wire the two points indicated by the arrows in the picture.

    Original site

  • DTS hack (untested)

  • Basically you have two replace two resistors. Read the complete text, I'm not going to bother simplifying it. I'll update this page if I try it and it works.

    Original site