View Full Version : Can I play British CDs in the U.S.?

09-06-2005, 12:17 PM
I once understood our electrical systems are different so adapters needed to be used, and I think I heard that videos from there couldn't be played on our VCRs here (at least without certain fixtures), so is it now the same with CDs? If a friend sends me a CD from England, would I be able to watch it on my CD player here? Without any fuss or muss?

Thanks for any info.

Edward The Head
09-06-2005, 12:21 PM
Yep. You can play any music disc from anywhere.

09-06-2005, 12:23 PM
I buy import CDs on a distressingly regular basis, and I've never had problems with UK CDs, or any import CDs for that matter. A friend of mine has had trouble using certain Japanese copy-protected CDs on his computer (even to play them), but that's the extent of it.

09-06-2005, 12:31 PM
Oh shoot -- how dumb of me! I meant DVDs! Not CDs.

So, to start over, can I play DVDs from England here?

09-06-2005, 12:39 PM
If you have a region-free DVD player.

09-06-2005, 12:54 PM
DVDs will be more of a problem. Some DVDs will be region-coded; others will not. The ones that aren't will play anywhere; you'll need a region-free player to do that, or at least a Region 2 player. Still, if you're going to go to the expense, you may as well go all the way, right?

A decent region-free player starts around $85-100.

Alternatively, there are some rather enterprising individuals out there who have found ways to disable region-coding on your standard-issue region-coded DVD player; you may want to Google your particular model and see how easy it might be.

Dewey Finn
09-06-2005, 01:02 PM
Not only do you need a region-free DVD player, you'll need one that can do the PAL to NTSC conversion. I recently purchased a Philips DVP642 from Best Buy for $60. It came with the PAL conversion built in. It wasn't region-free to begin with but it was possible to do so with instructions easily available on the internet. I've since purchased several UK DVDs from Amazon.co.uk and have had no problems playing any of them. (I also had no problems buying them for delivery to the US. The cheaper delivery method was international mail and I received all the DVDs in about a week.)

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
09-06-2005, 01:13 PM
Even if you can't play them in your DVD player, if your computer has a DVD drive it can likely handle them. (My experience of this is limited to the PAL DVD that came with the Watersons CD box set from the UK. I couldn't play it on my TV, but it plays fine on my iMac.)

09-06-2005, 01:18 PM
Caveat for Biffy's advice: Lately computer DVD drives are set to change regions automatically to suit the DVDs inserted, then lock after seven switches (or some such ridiculous number). There are, as always, software/firmware bits of hackery to get around this, but it's a good idea to find them before the DVD locks.

There is also a nice piece of software, DVD X Player, that handles all of this, no hackery involved. Just install and go.

09-06-2005, 01:38 PM
Oh m'gosh--you folks are all so knowledgable, and I'm way too old to get a handle on this. My DVD player is--I'm guessing--about three or four years old, and since it was a "floor" model, no booklet came with it so I have no idea if it's regional-free or not. But since it works great for all I've used it for, I think I'll just keep on with it the way things are. Unless I find out the DVD we're talking about, from England, is bombastic enough to warrant buying a new player, that is.

I really appreciate all the replies, and that you'd bother to explain so well.

09-06-2005, 02:53 PM
I found my computer DVD player to be more work than my regular DVD player regarding making it region free. The regular player needed a code typed on the remote to remove the region locking. God knows what I installed to remove the region locking for my computer.

As someone who has recently moved from South Africa (region 2) to the United States (region 1) I have spent a not insignificant time enraged with what I regard as the attempted theft of my completely legitimate DVD collection by the film industry. The attitude appears to be "you shouldn't pirate because it's stealing ... and only we should be allowed to get away with that!"

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