DVD Region Codes – All That You Need To Know

Mar 19th, 2010 by dvdxplayer 2,686 views |1 Comments

Hardly did anything else changed the at-home video entertain world quite as DVD did. With outstanding video and audio performance DVD has spurred growth in home theater in recent years. The bad news is, along with DVD’s worldwide success, comes its dirty little secret: region coding, which also named as “region lock”.

The DVD world is divided into six major geographical regions, with two additional regions reserved for specialized use.

To be simple, this means that DVD players and DVDs are labeled for operation on within a specific geographical region. For example, the U.S. is in region 1. This means that all DVD players sold in the U.S. are made to region 1 specifications. As a result, region 1 players can only play region 1 discs. On the back of each DVD package, you will a find a region number (1 thru 6).

All sorts of regions are as follows:

REGION 1 — USA, Canada
REGION 2 — Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
REGION 3 — S.Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia
REGION 4 – Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (including Mexico)
REGION 5 – Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
REGION 6 — China
REGION 7 — Reserved for Unspecified Special Use
REGION 8 — Reserved for Cruise Ships, Airlines, etc…
REGION 0 or REGION ALL — Discs are uncoded and can be played Worldwide, however, PAL discs must be played in a PAL-compatible unit and NTSC discs must be played in an NTSC-compatible unit.

The end result is that DVDs encoded for regions other than Region 1 cannot be played on a region 1 DVD player, also, players marketed for other regions cannot play region 1-stamped DVDs.

You may ask, why does DVD region coding exist? Authority says:”Such coding is a tool to protect copyright and film distribution rights.”, in other words, movie studio profits.

In order to preserve the financial integrity of the theatrical distribution of a particular film, it is not possible (under normal conditions) to have a friend in the U.S. send a DVD copy of the film to the country where it is in theatrical release and be able to play the DVD on a player there.

Depending on who you are, region coding can be considered a blessing or a curse. If you are movie studio executive, this is great, not only do you reap maximum profits from the theatrical releases, but also from the DVD releases for your film. However, if you are a consumer wanting to see a movie that is available on DVD in your relative’s or friend’s country but not in yours, you may have to wait quite a while.

However, another potential rationale for region coding is about to emerge, possible price-fixing of DVDs depending on region. Although this is yet to be legally proven in court, if true, Australian and European courts may just put the heat on Hollywood and manufacturers to discontinue region coding as a marketing practice. New Zealand has been trying to eliminate DVD region code restrictions in that country.

In addition, for those consumers who live in Europe, Australia, and Asia, there is an abundant market for so-called Code Free DVD players, which are essentially modified versions of stock DVD players in which the region coding has been disabled.

With the magic of mail-order and the Internet, these players are widely available and warmly welcomed, even though they are illegal to some extent.

However, as a reaction to the popularity of Code-Free DVD players, “Hollywood” has instituted another layer of coding on region1 DVDs called RCE (Regional Coding Enhancement) which prevents selected region1 DVDs from playing even on Code-Free DVD players (Bad news for them is we cracked it out – All Code Free DVD lovers, let’s say Hallelujah). By the way, RCE is only implemented on some Region 1 discs, and not on discs from other regions. (To be continued – see How DVD Region Codes Hurt The Consumer?)

Share

Related Posts :

One Trackback

  1. [...] ☆ What are DVD Region Codes [...]