Everything you need to know about DVD Regions, Codefree DVD
and what you really need.
Motion picture studios in the USA wanted to control the release of movies around the world using DVD region codes. Movies are released on DVD at different times around the world, typically America and Canada first, Australia and Japan 6 months later, and Europe 12 months after US release. In some instances, DVD movies are available for purchase in America and Canada before they are released in European cinemas. Due to the high quality of DVD and the movie release system used by Hollywood, 6 regions were establish to prevent people from watching Region 1 movies before they were released on Regions 2-6.
DVD Region Locking is a system used to control which DVD movies play on which DVD Players. The regions are broken down as follow:
Region 1 :USA & Canada
Region 2 :Mexico, Europe & Japan
Region 3 :The Orient (exc Japan)
Region 4 :Australia and New Zealand
Region 5 :Asia and Africa
Region 6 :China
How does this affect you the consumer?
Region coding means that movies from Region 1 (USA & Canada) WILL NOT play on a DVD player manufactured for Regions 2-6. Effectively Region 1 discs play only on Region 1 DVD players, Region 2 discs play only on Region 2 DVD players and so on.
What is a codefree or Multiregion DVD player?
With a codefree or multiregion player the player will recognize discs from any region basically by-passing the region coding. Most codefree or multiregional dvd players are modified by a technician after manufacture with the installation of a board and micro-chip(s), Pioneer and Toshiba, to allow the viewer to program his/her player to set it to the specific region of the disc they are trying to watch. Since setting of the region of the player is really done by the player's operating system software, there are sometimes hidden "Loopholes Menus" in the OS software that, if you know how to get into them, will allow you to change the region of the player so it will recognize all discs-- this is how regions are changed by most international dvd players.
What are PAL, NTSC, and SECAM standards?
PAL, NTSC, and SECAM Standards refer to the hz that a signal is recorded at or sent. In the USA, and other NTSC countries, we use a 60 hz signal. Unless we travel abroad we don't come into contact with these other signals. In much of Europe and South America it's PAL or 50 hz signal. France, Russia and a few other countries use SECAM. What this means is a DVD disc or videotape and TV must be of the same standards type to view properly. I.E. A PAL recorded dvd or videotape will not play properly on a USA-made NTSC TV- it will actually appear in b&w and will roll vertically uncontrollably. For the same reason, you can't take your USA made NTSC TV to Europe with you and watch their PAL TV signal.
Thus aside from being regionally coded, DVDs are formatted for different TV systems. Most the codefree, all region dvd players we sell can output both formats and can switch the format of the disc to either PAL or NTSC depending on the type of standard your TV uses.