You have got with you that British TV series DVD that you have been after for ages. Now you are back home in USA. You are waiting impatiently to put it in your DVD player and watch the series. Something wrong! The only thing that you can see is the display, “Wrong Region" or words to that effect. You are quite amazed to see that. Is your DVD player not working? Or is the DVD faulty? Which one is it? The box, in which the DVD came in, says that the disc is Region Free, which would mean that it is meant for Region 0 or All Region. Doesn’t it mean that the DVD will play anywhere in the world? Well, good news is, that there is nothing wrong with your DVD player or the DVD disc. The bad news id that you are experiencing the wonderful world of DVD Region Coding or Region Locking as sometimes termed as. Are you asking me, what is DVD Region Coding and why it is needed?
A Region Free, Region Free, Region Zero or All Region disc is supposed to play on any Region Locked player, but there is that question of compatibility between PAL and NTSC video formats. For example, suppose you got a Region Free DVD from UK and try to play it in a US NTSC player. The DVD will not play, since the disc is in PAL video format. There is a misconception that since the DVD is based on digital format, it matters less if your player plays NTSC or PAL. All digital video formats are based on either PAL or NTSC video systems.
But what are PAL and NTSC video systems? Let me briefly explain.
Countries all over the world use one of the three main TV broadcast standards. These three standards are - PAL NTSC and SECAM. But these three standards are incomplete with the other. Take for example the Region Free DVD, which you purchased in UK. It did not play correctly on a US NTSC DVD player because the DVD is in PAL video format. That misconception that I mentioned somewhere in my discussion above, does not hold good and as I said, all digital video formats, including DVD are still based on the PAL or NTSC video systems.
Let me briefly outline PAL and NTSC systems for a better understanding.
The first ever colour broadcast came to USA in 1953. This was based on NTSC - National Television System Committee standard. NTSC is being used by many countries in the American continent and as well as in Asia too, in countries including Japan. NTSC runs on 525 lines/frame.
Phase Alternating Line (PAL) system was introduced in early 1960s and was available in most European countries except France. PAL utilises a wider chanel-bandwidth than NTSC, which provides a better picture quality. This system runs on 625 lines/frame.
Sequential Couleur Avec Memoire or Sequential Colour with Memory (SECAM) standard was introduced in early 1960s and was implemented in France. SECAM transmits colour information sequentially but uses the same bandwidth as PAL. The standard runs on 625 lines/frame.
For a better understanding the following is presented:
SYSTEM NTSC M
Horizontal Frequency 15.734 kHz
Vertical Frequency 60 Hz
Video Bandwidth 4.2 MHz
Sound Carrier 4.5 MHz
B, G, H PAL
Line/Field 625/50 625/50 625/50 625/50 525/60
Horizontal Frequency 50 Hz 50 Hz 50 Hz 50 Hz 60 Hz
Colour Sub-carrier Frequency 4.433618 MHz 4.433618 MHz 4.433618 MHz 3.582056 MHz 3.575611 MHz
Video Bandwidth 5.0 MHz 5.5 MHz 6.0 MHz 4.2 MHz 4.2 MHz
Sound Carrier 5.5 MHz 6.0 MHz 6.5 MHz 4.5 MHz 4.5 MHz
SYSTEM SECAM B, G, H SECAM D, K, K1, L
Line/Field 625/50 625/50
Horizontal Frequency 15.625 kHz 15.625 kHz
Vertical Frequency 50 Hz 50 Hz
Video Bandwidth 5.0 MHz 6.0 MHz
Sound Carrier 5.5 MHz 6.5 MHz
Similar to multi-system VCRs, DVD players will not convert video standards. A PAL standard DVD player will not accept a DVD disc formatted in SECAM.
There is a point to consider to end your despair. If you have a multi-system TV, which is able to receive both PAL and NTSC video signals, you can very well watch that DVD you got from UK. You could also use a converter, which would convert a PAL into NTSC and vice-versa. In that way you can watch that DVD from UK, played on a standard NTSC TV, with converter doing all the processing for you. You could very well purchase a Region Free DVD Player, also known as a Multi Region DVD Player or a Code Free DVD Player, with a built in video standards converter.
The so called regions, that we hear so much about when buying a DVD disc or a player, are catagorised in the following way:
1. Region 1 - The U. S. , U. S. territories and Canada
2. Region 2 - Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Egypt, South Africa, Greenland
3. Region 3 - Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong
4. Region 4 - Mexico, South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Caribbean
5. Region 5 - Russia (okay, former Russia), Eastern Europe, India, most of Africa, North Korea, Mongolia
6. Region 6 – China
In a conventional manner, statistics say that, people in Region 1 get to see the DVD first. Region 2 will have to wait another 6 months and Region 3 people will have a year to see their favorite movie on DVD.
The DVD has brought home entertainment to life. Players and movie DVD discs have been selling like hot cakes through-out the world as prices tumble for both the products. The concept of the Home Theater comes along, with the superior quality of audio visual presented by the DVD. Entire rooms in many homes are kept reserved just for the home theater. . However, with this success of DVD, comes that dirty little secret: Region Coding or the Region Lock.
Why this coding, you might want to know. Well, what they tell us is it is the way that they wish to protect the copyright. However, another aspect of this Region Coding is surfacing lately. It is perhaps because of price fixing of the DVDs at different regions.
According to many views, code enforcement is a violation under WTO free trade agreement, which reflects at the competition law. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken a serious view to this coding and warned that such coding may violate the Trade Practices Act. A similar ruling has been done by the government of New Zealand. Therefore in practice, the DVD players sold in their countries have to be of Region 0. The Region 0 DVD players are required to incorporate Region 1 to 6 simultaneously, there-by providing the capability to plat any disc, no matter what region it belongs to.
Where to get REGION FREE DVD players/recorders and High Definition, HD DVD players, Blu-ray, Advanced Optical players/recorders in Blu-Ray DVD players/recorders. A multi region (aka codefree) DVD player or recorder is capable of playing DVD discs from anywhere in the world, that is all 8 regions and both PAL and NTSC standards. http://www.mindlogic.com has many. Many not only play them but convert from one standard to the other for showing movies on any TV on earth. There are also PAL-NTSC 110-220 volts DVD/VCR Combos for use worldwide. CODEFREE DVD / PAL-NTSC VCR combos and MULTISTANDARD VCRs will play 100% all known DVD discs including FRENCH DVDs. You can buy region free and region free converting DVD players and region free DVD recorders from http://www.mindlogic.com in California. They give you a LIFETIME Warranty and ship worldwide. They also carry PAL-SECAM-NTSC TVs, PAL plasma, PAL LCD and PAL DLP multisystem TVs and multisystem converting and non-converting VCRs, voltage transformers, video standards converters and more than 140,000 products. Tel.800-514-2984 or tel. 925-686-994