DVDs From China

I recently had a chance to buy some dvds which were made in China. I was told that they were in English and of the same quality as the ones made in the USA even though the boxes had Chinese characters on them. I passed them by but I suspect the opportunity will arise again. Does anyone know anything about such dvds? Are they really as good as the ones made here?

I recently posted a question on a message board concerning Playstation 2 games from China. The answer I received indicated that Chinese video is in PAL format where US video is in NTSC format.

I think there are converters available but it probably isn’t worth it.

The video standard in China is NTSC, not PAL, so you don’t have to worry about that.

If these are U.S. films on China-labeled DVDs, there is a good chance they are unauthorized releases (“bootlegs”). I assume you had the chance to buy them while in the states, right? They are probably R0, right?


Yes, I was buying them in the USA. What is RO?

RO = Region 0 or “All Region”

R0 = “Region 0” or “all region”

Each part of the world is assigned a certain region for their DVDs. The U.S. and Canada are Region 1. Europe and Japan are Region 2. China and Korea are Region 3. Australia is Region 4. Etc.

So, most DVDs sold in the U.S. will be R1. There *are * legitimate R0 releases, depending on whole holds the distribution rights. And a TON of Asian movies are legitimate R0 DVDs.

But generally, R0 Asian DVDs of U.S. films are bootlegs. Especially films recently released and distributed by major studios.

For example: You go to Wal-Mart and buy the R1 release of the Special Edition of Angel Heart. Good to go. You go to Chinatown and buy an R0 DVD of the same film with Chinese characters on the front and possibly “weird” or fuzzy artwork. Bootleg. Not so good.

Some of these bootlegs are difficult to immediately identify as such, because they may be factory-produced, pressed media (as opposed to recorded, which is easy to spot because of the colour and lustre of the playing surface); they often even have proper glossy printed jackets with holograms. What gives them away as fakes will tend to be things like glaring spelling mistakes and other errors in the menu items, and of course the viewing quality of the actual movie.

If they’re the Real McCoy they will be as good as those made elsewhere. If they are pirated copies they could well still be almost as good – but you may not be able to turn-off the Chinese subtitles. Pirated copies could also be crap.

I saw a copy of a movie (Kingdom of Heaven, I think) which at first glance looked completely legitimate. Idly perusing the back cover while talking on the phone, I first noticed an odd typo in one of the region information boxes. Then I noticed that the copy describing the movie was actually describing “Day After Tomorrow”, the cast list was for something like “I Love Trouble” and the header was for “Kingdom of Heaven”. It was also apparently (badly) OCRed - the typos were all of the sort that one sees when reviewing an OCRed document.

True. I watch a LOT of foriegn films. I have quite a few myself.

Not long ago I bought a phillips all region DVD player, which opens the door to a lot of other good films from europe and asia I’d otherwise have to wait up to two years to get copies of.

This sadly is also true. Over the last few years I think I’ve picked up about half dozen of these without being aware of it at the time. I scrutinize my foriegn films a lot more carefully nowadays.

A woman I used to work with has parents who live in Hong Kong. They were constantly sending her DVD’s of the newest films, sometimes a week after they were released in movie theaters.

She lent me a few.

About 50% were perfect quality, and other than the Chinese subtitles, you would never know they were pirated copies.

The other 50% were crappy videos made in movie theaters, then transferred to DVD and were truly horrible to watch and unless you were really, really, really desperate to see the film, most likely you would turn it off after about 2 minutes.

So - I would never buy one. And she no longer works there, so I am not tempted to borrow them either.

Plus it just seems kind of wrong to do it. DVD’s aren’t really all that expensive if you only buy a few now and then - and giving money to video pirates just doesn’t seem quite fair.