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Regional Codes for DVD players explained

Updated on June 12, 2015

What are Regional Codes?

Regional codes for DVD players are a means of tracking where a product is from. Each region is given a code, and will not play discs that have different codes and are from different regions. However, there are ways of making your player work fine with all types of discs that are perfectly legal. Where tampering with the discs themselves to make them play on any type of player is illegal. The sale and import of foreign discs is legal, although generally looked down upon by the DVD sales industry. If everyone knew about this, then they would likely go out of business, because the margins that they could make on foreign discs would be too low.

Firstly, encoding is basically done as a means of ensuring that the DVD markets don't collapse in the more expensive countries. And that they stay unaffected by the varying values of the global currencies. If you live in the United Kingdom for example, then you might be expected to pay 20 pounds for a new DVD. However if you were to buy that same DVD in France and have it shipped over, then you would probably be ale to get it for the equivalent of less than half that. And even cheaper still if you were to order from the United States and have a bulk order shipped over. So b making sure that the majority of people cant use foreign discs, the DVD industry continues to be able to charge more in one country than in others.

Another reason why they encode DVD players is so that the movie industry can release movies at different times in different places. The place where the movie is made is usually the first place that it is released in, both in cinemas and n DVD. From there it is assessed and if it has been profitable then it is shown and sold in other countries as well. The majority of movie that are released are of course American ones, which means that most big films tend to come out there first.

However if the codes for the DVDs weren't there, then you would have people buying imported DVDs before the movie has been shown in a cinema in a different country. This would mean that if it were widely available enough, there would be very little money to be made from the cinema showing the movie at all.


What Regions do the Codes Equate to?

REGION 1 - USA, Canada
REGION 2 - UK, 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 un-coded 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.

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Beating the Codes

There are often codes that can be put into players that will enable them to play all kinds of discs. However there are still some problems with the underlying system that the disc runs on. Pal and NTSC are ways that the TV sets themselves work, with NTSC generally having a faster screen change speed. So even if you have a disc without a region it still might not work on your player unless your TV accepts NTSC settings as well.

All DVD players have the potential to play any region of disc. The reason for this is because most of the time all the units for a given brand are manufactured in the same place and then the region coding is inputted afterwards. So for example all Sony players might be made in China and then inputted with the codes afterwards, rather than them being made in the country which they are intended for sale in. This means the process is reversible and that you can make your player play any disc.

Generally, if you want to turn off the region on your player, the easiest thing to do is to simply search for the model name on the Internet and follow the instructions that appear on the screen. They are usually very simple to follow and take a matter of seconds, usually just involving typing in a code with your remote.


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