Question about "All Region" DVD Player

I recently purchased a DVD player that claims it can play DVD’s from “any region”. I was under the impression that most countries other than the U. S. use PAL format rather than NTSC format. So, my question is can I really play DVD"s from “all regions” or do I need some kind of adapter to convert PAL format to NTSC format?

Apparently you do, unless it has a built-in converter. Check the documentation that came with the player.

A list of countries using the PAL standard
A list of countries using the NTSC standard
And the countries who use Secam. Never heard of this one before.

It might have a built-in converter. What model player is it?

It depends on the individual player. Some players have inbuilt PAL/NTSC convertors, but they can screw up the aspect ratio. If it’s been hacked through hardware, then it will probably have problems reading any RCE encoded US discs.

I think most mid to uprange players of well known brands do this, i.e. convert PAL/NTSC. You want to check on your tv, though. American standard for the picture is 60hz, while PAL is 50. Unless your tv can handle that conversion, it won’t matter how region free your player is, you’ll only get a garbled picture.

I may be mistaken but I think you’re talking about the mains AC electricity cycles there; the frame rates for pal and NTSC are 24 and 25 fps (can’t remember which is which.)

Oops; NTSC is 30fps, PAL is 25

Hmm… wouldn’t some parts of the system use the mains AC frequency as reference for the scan frequency? Or has that all been taken over by self-contained circuitry, eh…

Anyway – Region Codes and TV Picture Format Standards are separate things, indeed. One large market segment in the USA for all-region players are Anime fans, because Japan does use NTSC video standard for TV signal, BUT uses Region Code 2 (EU) for DVDs (While the EU uses Region 2 but scans in either PAL or SECAM). The player documentation should indicate if it has a built-in converter.

Some players have 2 decode chips in them so that one can do PAL > NTSC and the other can handle the aspect ratio. I know my player does this; it’s one of the main reasons I bought it.

You’re right about the RCE discs, but it also depends on how the region-free setting is actually set on the player. Many region-free players can have a region “assigned” to the player until power-off (which is what mine does); others that have “hacked” firmware cannot do this and will probably choke on an RCE disc. AFAIK, RCE only checks the player’s region setting and will not play if REGIONSETTING=0. Setting it to region 1 means that the disc will see REGIONSETTING=1 which is what it wants and playback will begin.

Well, if the DVD player doesn’t have a built in NTSC/PAL converter, you might be stuck unless you have a multi-system TV. My television automatically detects both NTSC and PAL signals and displays both flawlessly…so, if the player doesn’t automatically convert, you might look into getting a new TV with that.


I doubt it. Half of Japan uses 50Hz and the other half uses 60Hz. Both use NTSC. I’ve never seen a warning label on a TV saying it won’t work in the other half of the country. (Though household appliances containing AC motors often come with such warnings.)

Nope. I’m talking about the updating frequency. A PAL tv will update a picture 50 times per second, a NTSC 60 times (compare that with your computer monitor, where you can set that manually, should you chose). A big seller in Europe these past few years have been 100hz tvs. It draws the same picture twice, giving (in theory) a sharper, crisper image.
My DVD is all region and when I put in NTSC and play it on my 100hz tv, it comes out normal. However, I couldn’t watch NTSC with my old 50hz tv.

Ack. Youre quite right; sorry for the interruption.

Thanks for your help.

Most DVD players in “PAL” countries will read both DV-NTSC and DV-PAL discs (there is no DV-SECAM), and output a “60 Hz PAL” signal to the TV.

Most DVD players in the USA will only read DV-NTSC discs.


Close, since both PAL and NTSC are interlaced formats, the whole image may be updated 50 (or 60) times per second, but any particular line will only be updated 25 (or 30) times per second. Speaking of computer monitors, you may have noticed that there aren’t any interlaced graphics formats anymore, they were just horrible to look at, think about that the next time you’re watching TV (PAL images are worse for me in this respect YMMV)

I believe that the 480p format does something similar in the states. Also if your DVD has “progressive scan” output, it might be able to take advantage of the format.

How normal? I think your 100hz TV might be doing some additional tricks. Because not only is it 25 vs 30 fps, I believe PAL has about 100 more lines than NTSC (sorry all my references are at work). So you should see black (or grey) bars at the top and bottom (unless the TV or DVD player resizes to fit the screen).

My goodness, looking back at this post, I hope it doesn’t appear that I have an axe to grind with The Gaspode. I really don’t. Most of the other points have already been addressed, especially the fact that region encoding and video formats are two different things. It’s just that I was really excited to actually be able to contribute (minorly, probably somewhat nitpicky) to a GQ. (Now watch my meager infromation be corrected, with REAL cites).

Take care,


I can’t belive they can sell a DVD player as “region-free” and not have the proper converters built in… What’s the point if it doesn’t actually work? Isn’t that false advertising?

There’s no “letterboxing” when I play my NTSC DVDs on my PAL TV - the aspect ratio is as intended. As I mentioned earlier (check out that link, if you haven’t already: it’s very useful) the DVD player outputs a pseudo-PAL signal called “60-Hz PAL” which my TV is capable of displaying as normal.

I’m a little confused here; apparently region 0 DVDs will play in all players; this would seem to imply that the footage is stored on the dics in the same format regardless and is then ‘rendered’ by the player to be shown on whatever TV format that player is designed for (subject to zone restriction).

Are we sure that the terms PAL and NTSC aren’t being superfluously applied to DVDs?

Absolutely. A PAL signal comes out like garbage on an NTSC TV. Been there, done that.

Looking at some DVDs reveals that Region 1 DVDs are (usually) labelled NTSC and Region 2 are (usually) labelled PAL.