ASUS E616P1 REGION?

I have just bought an ASUS E616P1 DVDROM Drive. What I would like to know is if there is any way I can "unlock" the drive so that it is region free without possibly killing the drive 2 days after buying it. (I've read all the horror stories on the net from people who have tried to accomplish this with a firmware flash; which has resulted in a dead drive).

Also, I read somewhere that the ASUS E616P1 is just a relabelled PIONEER drive. Is this true and if so, is this a good or a bad thing?
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yolunga2000Asked:
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CetusMODCommented:
Closed, 50 points refunded.
CetusMOD
Community Support Moderator
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Dynamic1Commented:
http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=65836&page=2
Read through the thread the solution is in the middle. Just follow instructions it can be flashed but has to be done with the correct firmware.
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yolunga2000Author Commented:
The procedure underlined at the forum for which you provided a link refers to an ASUS E616 DVD-ROM. My drive is NOT an E616 BUT IS An E616P1, which means that flashing to firmware 2.2 as suggested on that forum would kill my drive.

1.Is there any way around this problem which doesn't involve messing with firmware flashes?
2.Is my drive a re-labeled Pioneer drive. and if so, how good are Pioneer drives in general?
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Dynamic1Commented:
Your drive is the same as Pioneer 121. http://www.asus.com.cn/support/download/selectftp.aspx?l1_id=2&l2_id=3&l3_id=0&m_id=4&f_name=ODDUpdat.zip~zaqwedc
This is the original firmware file from ASUS. The only way around firmware flashes is to use a region free DVD player.
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Dynamic1Commented:
http://www.dvdidle.com/ here is the software free trial to see if it works.
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yolunga2000Author Commented:
Are there any FREE region free software DVD players around? Also, I read that some "smart" DVD movies run a program which queries the software player as to its region, and if the reply doesn't match the movie region, the DVD program plays a movie which happens to be an error message. This error would occur with a region free software player.
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Dynamic1Commented:
Try the region free program it works around that error. This is what it does.
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joey_the_assCommented:
If you want to, use DVD decrypter to rip the movie to your hard drive and then watch it from there.
www.dvddecrypter.com
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yolunga2000Author Commented:
I solved my problem without spending a dollar. (Although a firmware flash was in the end unavoidable and i held my breath through the process.)
Here's how I did it

1. I downloaded the patched 1.04 RPC1 "Region Free" firmware for my DVD-ROM drive and flashed the firmware.
2. I downloaded and installed DVD Region Killer which now emulates an RPC2 drive to convince Windows that my drive is RPC2, although the drive actually ignores region bits on DVDs. This is necessary so that Windows does not check the drive and "see" that it is region free.
3. Now when I watch a DVD, DVD Region Killer automatically changes the region to that of the DVD in question. If it's a smart DVD that queries Windows as to current region setttings, I can manually set the region before inserting the DVD so that the movie begins with no probs.
4. ASPI programs such as Nero and smartripper do not care bout the regions since they ignore the fact that my drive is region free and so, these programs just rip and play DVDs through the ASPI layer as if nothing had changed.

Bottom line: I managed to do it without spending a dime, although I had to risk killing my brand new DVD drive. ( I know they only cost a few bucks, but it's just the principle behind screwing up something that's 2 days old)
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yolunga2000Author Commented:
Thanks for all your contributions though.
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