DVD regions, whats the deal?

Why do they have different encoding on the various DVD regions of the world.
A commercial DVD movie purchased in North America won’t work in Europe, and so on.
Why is this, yet computer software all share the same encoding?

Anyone have any ideas?


It was written into the DVD specification at the request of the motion picture studios. Basically its to prevent people in Europe from buying US DVD’s before their European release date, and vice-versa. However, with multi-region players, people have gotten around this restriction in large measure.

It helps the studios make (more) money, by not allowing you to buy cheaper-priced DVDs from overseas markets and playing them in your home region.

DVD Regions

Thanks fellas, appreciate the replies.


Here’s where to find reviews of region free dvd players:

If you have a region-free DVD player, do you also need a region-free television? Or will the DVD player convert PAL signal from a European disc to NTSC so that it can be viewed on a North American television?

Read the site I posted, if you want answers!

But as long as I am typing, yes. It does.

Not a very user-friendly site, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.

‘Yes’ to which? ‘Yes, you need to buy a region-free television.’? Or ‘Yes, the DVD player will convert the PAL signal to an NTSC signal.’?

Read my words. “It does.” is not an answer to: ‘Yes, you need to buy a region-free television.’?

Grammatically, that doesn’t work. So, the only choice left is:
Or will the DVD player convert PAL signal from a European disc to NTSC so that it can be viewed on a North American television?
“It does.”


In any case, it doesn’t. Since you did not provide a direct link, and the site is not user-friendly, I first tried searching for ‘region free dvd’. Their handy search box just pulled up a google search. Not useful. So I clicked on ‘DVD Players’. Keeping it simple, I looked for a Sony that converts PAL to NTSC. No useful information. Just people complaining about SVCD, which means mothing to me. However, it did have a model number. Back to google. Got lots of reviews, but no useful information. Remember that the question was whether the player would convert a PAL signal to NTSC. I don’t care about anything else. So I refined the search by adding NTSC to the model number. The site I looked at said ‘Not work with NTSC TV’.

Now, I don’t mind searching for things if I’m in the market to buy something. But in this case I just wanted a simple answer to a simple question. ‘Yes’ is not true in all cases, so a specific make and model would have been helpful. Also, it’s good form to provide a direct link when answering a specific question.

Now we’ve both wasted a lot of time typing, when it could have been avoided by being more civil.

Dvd players convert automatically, if they also play multiregion. Unless they are crap, in which case you should read a review first.

Here is one for $50 dollars.


That’s more useful. It allowed me to google the model and find this:


Johnny, DVD region codes and NTSC/PAL television-system difference are two completely-separate things. The region codes do not affect the signal that goes to your analog television. (I’m not certain about televisions with digital inputs; there are some standards for “digital rights management” that apply to digital signals, but I think this is still evolving.)

I have a North American DVD player which can play PAL discs, converting the output to NTSC so that it can be displayed on an NTSC TV. However, it is set for Region 1, and will only accept discs that include Region 1 in their allowed play locations.

I should have bought a “region-free” player, which can play discs from any region. Unfortunately diodn’t know much about the regions when I bought the thing, and assumed that the region coding in the player could be easily defeated. Ooops. I seem to have gotten the only JVC player for which no region-code defeat is known.

Live and learn. My next player will be region-free.

As several posters upthread mentioned, DVD regionns were added to the DVD standard so that the free trade of DVDs across the oceans would not reduce the profits to movie companies from staggered theatrical release dates.

I should stress that the regions are entirely optional for the producers of a DVD. There is nothing to stop producers from releasing a disc playable in all regions, and making it available worldwide. IMHO, many more producers should be doing this, especially with backlist titles that have been released for some time. I hope it will become more common.

DVD regions also apply only to DVD-Video titles. DVD-ROMs (and, I believe, DVD-Audio discs) are unaffected.

Consumer DVD-recording equipment cannot record a DVD with regions. In some of the more advanced prosumer-level DVD-authoring software, such as Adobe Encore and DVD-Lab Pro, you can specify a region for a disc and have it implemented by a professional DVD replicator, but the DVD recorder you buy for 89 dollars and stick in your PC cannot mark the DVD region. This is a Good Thing, IMHO.

Another problem with the DVD regions is that there is no way to make the region locks on a specific disc ‘expire’ once the movie’s staggered release schedule has completed and it has been released worldwide. Thus, if I buy the North American DVD of The Incredibles when it is first released, the movie may still be playing in theatres in, say, Europe. However, when The Incredibles is released on DVD in Europe, I am still barred from playing my North American DVD in Europe, even though the DVD is available there… unless I get a region-free disc player.

Some friends moved from Canada to New Zealand. If they had not bought a region-free DVD player, they would have had to replace all their hundreds of Region 1 DVDs with Region 2 DVDs at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars.

I do not know whether this region system will apply to the upcoming high-definition discs. I hope not, but expect to be disappointed.

Scott_plaid, I realize that everyone else on this board is your intellectual inferior, but when you are posting a response in GQ could you please try to keep the level of contempt to a minimum?