[quote user="Bullseye"]My old DVD players which are all Pioneer are factory region free.[/quote]
Not sure they'd be factory region free, but of course manufacturers do sometimes tell dealers how to change the region on players just in case a customer buys a machine and then wants to emigrate.
And of course if they happen to find out in passing how to change the region to 0 rather than 1, 3, 4 or whatever...
I remember this being offered as a cautious response when I asked the head of one now-defunct high-profile British audio company - think silver, black and orange and things that go fast on Sunday afternoons - whether its very expensive players could be multiregioned easily. 'If a customer wishes to move country, then I am sure one of our dealers would find a way to help them'.
Then there are those players for which a firmware upgrade is offered to solve a very minor problem, but which - oops - seems to open up a menu enabling the region to be changed or - clumsy engineers - accidentally makes the player region free.
And it wasn't unknown for Chinese factories to ship thousands of budget DVD players - sometimes the entire production run - before noticing someone had forgotten to implement region coding, not to mention most of those region hack sites out there on which people suddenly 'discover' hacks. I suspect there's a spot of insider leaking involved - after all, it's in a manufacturer's interest to maximise sales of its products.
But they also have to be seen to do the right thing by the movie studios, who rather like region coding as a means of controlling the distribution of titles among different regions, either for reasons of different release dates or to maintain different pricing in different territories. After all, if the movie studios don't supply movies to play in the players, who's going to buy the machines.
But then region-coding is a very soft way of stopping unofficial sales of titles across territory borders: the real problem isn't unofficial retailers bulk-shipping Region 1 DVDs into the UK to sell, but the real pirates banging out thousands of - usually Region 0 - bootleg copies for worldwide distribution.
So it's all a bit of a game, and with companies effectively making globally available products, it makes sense for them to implement all this stuff using simply applied firmware, for ease of production. You make the same machine for the whole world, then when you flash in the firmware near the end of the production line, you do one batch set for Europe, another for the States, and so on.
Trouble is, unless you try really hard, such systems are - to varying degrees - easy to crack, simply because there's usually a back door in the code just so that those helpful dealers can keep there customers happy.
So yes, I am sure that more and more multiregion players will appear. It may not be officially sanctioned, but in the long run, it's in everyone's best interest.
Sorry for long and geeky reply.