DVDs and geographic regions

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Tom

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We have a DVD player that is multi-standard. i.e. it plays DVDs in either NTSC or PAL format. We occasionally receive DVDs from the UK (PAL system), some of which play just fine on our system and some of which result in a "wrong region" message on the screen, and the DVD refuses to play. You may recall that, when you first fire up a new DVD player you're asked for your geographic location and this gets programmed into the machine as your "region".

Is there any way to get around this "wrong region" issue?

TIA
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I know you can buy DVD players that handle more than one region - they are called multi-region players and cost extra.      I've also seen a place online that advertises players that will play ANY region. Never looked into the details of how they do that, i.e. whether it is legit or some method of bypasssing the region code protection thing. See www.regionfreedvd.net/    They even have a Christmas sale going on!
 

Tom

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Thanks Gary. I'm not looking to buy another DVD player but, like you, I wonder how they bypass the region issue. I can't figure out why only some PAL DVDs get trapped in ours, which makes me wonder if this player was intended to be multi-region. Given that it has an option to switch between PAL and NTSC (a button on the remote), I can't imagine that it wouldn't be multi-region. I can't think of any single region that uses both TV standards. Europe has two standards, but they're PAL and Secam, not PAL and NTSC, and this player doesn't play Secam format DVDs.
 

John From Detroit

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DVD'S come in 3 varieties

Regular DVD's are region encoded and will play only on machines that are coded either with that region or.. Region ZERO (which is not a valid reagon, it means "uncoded"

Reagion ZERO DVDS, will play in any dvd player

Now,  Since there is that trick of hard coding for region zero, some enterprising types have found a way to foul it up so that a region encoded DVD won't play on a zero'd player.

That said, I jsut copy the DVD's with DVD Shrink (You can have multiple dvd readers on your comptuer and set each to a different region if you wish) it converts the dvd to "Region free" (or zero if you prefer) so it plays everywhere
 

Tom

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John In Detroit said:
I jsut copy the DVD's with DVD Shrink (You can have multiple dvd readers on your comptuer and set each to a different region if you wish) it converts the dvd to "Region free" (or zero if you prefer) so it plays everywhere

I learn something new every day. Thanks John. Looks like that software is available online.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Tom,
The UK and Japan are both Region 2, but Japan uses NTSC and the UK uses PAL and some other Region 2 countries use SECAM (e.g. France). Region and video format are independent of each other.  And by now you have figured out that "region" has nothing to do with geography either.  It's all about the media market and copyright protection.

Technically there is no "Region 0" - a 0 in the region code field on a DVD indicates "no region" and thus is ignored by the region checking in the player.  It's there for compatibility with DVDs recorded prior to the Region scheme, but  a region code of 0 can be used to mean "playble in ALL regions".  One could encode a video DVD in the UK in PAL video format but use a Region of 0 to allow its use in any PAL country (e.g Australia).  There are about 80 countries using PAL, but many are not  Region 2 like the UK.

A Region Free player will ignore the region code and play any DVD, but now Hollywood and other media producers are pushing something called Region Code Enhancement, that would block playing on Region Free players as well.

May I recommend this article - it's a painless read and very informative.

http://hometheater.about.com/cs/dvdlaserdisc/a/aaregioncodesa.htm
 
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