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Unraveling DVD Region Coding.

While DVD has cut down some of the problems usually associated with the VHS video format there’s still plenty of room for confusion. Regions & formats are often confused as the same thing when in fact they’re not.

Basically the zones have been created around some of the old video formats of PAL, NTSC and Secam.

Need to know the video format for a specific country? Then view our guide to world video formats here.

The DVD Forum when developing the DVD format decided to create 6 distinct regions for the world market and an ‘All Region’ or ‘Region Free’ allocation. Namely Regions 0 1 2 3 4 5 & 6.

Designed primarily to only allow DVDs to play on machines of a specific region (to help control release times and marketing) it is now common to find a number of players that can be easily converted to play discs from all regions. The Disc Region is typically shown on the artwork of commercial DVD release as an icon with a number within a globe that correlates with the regions below.

  • Region 1: U.S., Canada, U.S. Territories
  • Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa & The Middle East (Inc. Egypt)
  • Region 3: Southeast Asia & East Asia (Inc. Hong Kong)
  • Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America & The Caribbean.
  • Region 5: Eastern Europe, (former Soviet Union), Indian Sub Continent, Africa, North Korea & Mongolia.
  • Region 6: China
  • Region 0: Will play on all DVD players worldwide (Also know as Region Free or All Regions)

Multi-region players should play ‘all regions’ coded discs and websites exist where you can find information to easily convert most players to accept discs of any region. Please note however that you may also have to have a television that will also detect & play other formats. For example if you purchase discs from the USA (Region 1) and want to play them in Australia then your TV will also have to be able to accept an NTSC signal from the DVD player. You may find that you get a black and white picture or no picture at all if your TV is not compatible.