That is the question I repeatedly ask, and yet come up with no sensible answer, except it is yet another way that the consumer can be manipulated. What is it? Well the big league players in the DVD world decided that a great way to screw the consumer would be to make a DVD that would only play on certain DVD units. It breaks down like this:

REGION 1 — USA, Canada
REGION 2 — Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, Greenland
REGION 3 — S.Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Parts of South East Asia
REGION 4 — Australia, New Zealand, Latin America (including Mexico)
REGION 5 — Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Africa
REGION 6 — China
REGION 7 — Reserved for Unspecified Special Use
REGION 8 — Reserved for Cruise Ships, Airlines, etc…
REGION 0 or REGION ALL — Discs are uncoded and can be played Worldwide, however, PAL discs must be played in a PAL-compatible unit and NTSC discs must be played in an NTSC-compatible unit.

What does this mean? Well in a nutshell, if you go to England and attend a concert that you really like, and buy the DVD of the event, there is a sporting chance that you not be able to play it in your DVD unit in Boston or New York.

The question I have is why do they do this? I have looked high and low for an answer, and I cannot find a sensible answer. It obviously costs the hardware manufacturers more money to have to implement the “Error, Wrong Region Code” message, and the underlying infrastructure to stop out of region DVD’s playing. This certainly looks like a great case of the tail wagging the dog. It is the content providers that came up with this silly system, and the hardware folks have gone along with it like Sheep to the slaughter.

This is a pointless and worthless feature, that no one wants. Research reveals little about it’s origins, but you can bet your bottom dollar the MPAA are involved.
I am a firm believer in ‘what is mine, is mine, I should be able to tweak it, mess with it, and break it’, the DVD industry obviously does not share my ideas.

Simon Barrett

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