I haven't had any problems playing non-US region DVDs for many years now. The last player I bought didn't even require me to unlock it, but some players will not play non-US region discs. Also you'll want to check your player for compatibility with PAL discs. Some of my older players I had to enter a code in the remote and then it would play any disc. All the players have the same capabilities mostly, the software just locks you out sometimes and that's why you have to input a code to make it work.
I don't have an xbox so I'm not sure, but I would think that surely its possible to play these discs on an xbox.. if not, you can get a player that will work for $30 or under and then you're set for a lifetime of access to great films.
I know it can be hard to find films in the beginning, if you don't have anything to trade with people and whatnot... so sometimes you gotta start with what you can, but I still say money is better put towards supporting legit releases since these companies make very little to justify more future releases