Why do DVD releases differ by region?

Overlooking the fact that DVD regions are now almost totally irrelevant since every man, woman, and domesticated animal on the planet has a multi-region DVD player (or one that can be made multi-region via the entering of codes on the remote control handset), I’ve noticed that a lot of DVD releases of movies and TV shows will have different “Special Features” depending what Region they’re released in.

Family Guy DVDs are especially notable for this- the Region 1 DVD releases are chock-full of extras and commentaries, but the Region 2 and 4 releases have… the episodes, and not much else.

Why do they release different versions? Wouldn’t it just be easier to have the R1 release the same as the versions for everywhere else? Why do they bother changing them?


I don’t have a multi-region DVD.

Several reasons.

Release dates differ, and sometimes a feature is not ready by an international launch date, but three months later it is ready, just in time for the US release.

Rights. Sometimes the broadcast rights for a feature are only given for certain countries and not others. I have no idea why.

Space on the discs. Because PAL encoded video is slightly more information than NTSC, there is less room on a disc for certain features. Often it is commentaries that are sacrificed for this reason.

And, like lissener suggests, there is also for money reasons. They know international geeks will buy their local version, then later the international version, despite the fact it goes against their own imposed Region Code rules, therefore making them the big bucks.

I am particularly annoyed that the Deadwood DVDs here in Australia do not have commentaries. I am considering buying the Region 1 versions just for them, even though I already own Region 4 copies.

If you were to do a google search for your model of DVD player and the words “handset hack”, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised to find that you may indeed own a multi-region DVD player. :wink:

I think we’ve had some threads on this already.
When I was first buying a DVD, I noticed that multi-region cost more. “No problem” said some pupils at my school, “we’ll download stuff from the Internet and hack in.”
I asked them if it was legal and they shrugged. (These are the same pupils I had to explain ‘software piracy is illegal’ to.)

I don’t like the phrase ‘handset hack’!

Last time I bought a DVD, I just asked the salesman and he gave me a printout.

It’s not illegal. It may void your warranty on your player, though.