This fine machine is the newest addition to my home entertainment system. Some very nice features of this machine can be found in its loophole menu/secret menu. Once you get to this menu you can change the machine's regional coding, turn off macrovision, and do several other things.

Supposedly the next version of these machines will not have the loophole/secret menu. Also they supposedly pulled all the machines to upgrade the software to remove it. But I just picked one up Saturday April 15, 2000 from Circuit City and it still has the special features.

Besides the loopholes it isn't a bad player either. It performs well and only has a few minor flaws. And the cost really makes it attractive.

A pretty sweet DVD player, even disregarding the magic menu and MP3 playing capability. Has a great picture and manages to go loony on fewer discs than other players. Down side is that when it does go loony, it makes a horrible noise that, coincidentally, comes out your super stereo that you inevitably have cranked way the fuck up.

Rumor has it that all the currently sold models are missing the secret menu. This can be fixed by duping the ROM from a player that has it.

The secret menu can be accessed by turning the unit on with no disc in the drive, then pressing "SETUP", then "STEP", then track reverse, then track forward. You can turn off Macrovision, change or disable region checking, adjust the dithering, and turn off CSS (the latter is REALLY not recommended).

The Apex AD-600A was the first swiss-army DVD player. Capable of playing DVDs, VCDs, MP3 CDs and various Karaoke CD formats and available for under $US 100, the Apex AD-600A would've been a steal as-is. The inclusion of the 'loophole menu' which allowed disabling Macrovision and region-based lockouts made it Geek Ambrosia.

Loophole Menu

Only Apex AD-600A's with certain BIOS firmware versions contain the loophole menu. Around March of 2000, players were manufactured without the feature in response to the MPAA's investigation.

BIOS revisions are printed on stickers affixed to the ROMs in question. Known versions include:

Dr. Joe's Apex Page! provides downloadable firmware versions and offers links to several DIY BIOS EPROM installation pages.

To access the loophole menu:

  1. Turn on your player with the empty disc tray closed.
  2. Press the 'setup' button on the remote control.
  3. Press the down button ('\/') on the remote control until PREFERENCES is highlighted.
  4. Press the 'step' button on the remote control.
  5. Press the track rewind button ('|<<') on the remote control.
  6. Press the track forward button ('>>|') on the remote control.
A configuration screen with the title, '-- LOOPHOLES --' and the caption, 'YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE' will be displayed.

Player Information

Made by the Visual Disc and Digital Video Corporation (VDDV, http://www.vddv.com) these players were also branded as 'Hiteker' in Australia and became available in North America late 1999.

Player features (from device documentation):

The AD-600A has the following outputs on the back panel:

BIOS 'upgrades' for several other Apex players (the Apex AD-703, for example) exist. See the links below.

Source:

Apex Info Pages:
http://www.nerd-out.com
Apex/Hiteker DVD Hacking Pages:
http://www.dvd-wizards.com/darrenk
Dr. Joe's Apex Page!:
http://members.home.net/jtham/

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