Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DVD and Blu-Ray Region Codes

Funny but true story: President Obama gave Prime Minister Gordon Brown twenty-five DVDs as a symbol of the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. A geography fail occurred when Prime Minister Brown found out the hard way that the DVDs are not playable in the United Kingdom.

Region codes were invited to control where moves were distributed so the film companies could maximize profits and releases using economical geography. There are nine codes for DVDs. Strange Maps has a map of the six geographical zones. The other zones include 0 (works in any DVD player), 7 (screener copies of DVDs, invented to fight Chinese movie piracy), and 8 (international venues like airplanes, cruse ships, etc). Most computer DVD-viewing software can play any region while hacking is necessary to reformat one's DVD player to be region free.

The HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray war is over and the victor, Blu-Ray, is currently changing the geography of movie players. Blu-Ray has three regions.
A: East Asia and North America sans French Guiana
B: Middle East, Europe, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand
C: Russia, People's Republic of China, India and a few others

Blu-Ray Regions

Sadly, HD-DVD, now discontinued, was region free. So in the future international tourists, and international leaders, will still have to be conscience of regions when they buy or gift movies and video games.


Dan tdaxp said...

Fascinating that Japan has gone from being a European (DVD) to an American (Blu-Ray) country!

Ben said...

the only catch being that in china and at least also vietnam, they make dvd players that play dvds from any region, including, i assume, the mysterious "7". i'm not sure how blue-ray will work out, but there's so much money to be made in piracy here i'm sure someone will figure it out.