DVD & Blu-ray Region Codes Explained

DVDs and standard Blu-ray discs have region codes that lock them down for playback in specific areas of the world. Region Codes were developed so that studios could control the release and distribution of their movies and shows. Although it be can tricky, we’ll ensure that DVD & Blu-Ray Region Codes explained.

When it comes to DVD and Blu-ray players, you’ll need a compatible device to view them. Otherwise, you’ll receive a “region error” when your player reads them. However, if you digitize your movies by ripping them you can get around the region lock. Then watch the MKV (or MP4) video from a drive. So, you always have options available!

DVD Region Codes

There are many DVD Region Codes. Many DVD players do allow you to change the region, allowing you to view another region outside of your area. However, certain regions (such as: UK PAL format) use a distinct framerate and resolution that requires a TV that supports those settings.

Most DVD players also limit how many times you can change your DVD Region Code. One alternative option for many DVD owners is to acquire a Region Free DVD Player. But we prefer to rip our movies and add them to our PLEX server.

DVD Region Codes Map

DVD Region Codes:

Region 0 or All: Region free, generally playable across all regions.

Region 1: Canada, United States, and U.S. territories.

Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East (including Egypt), and Greenland.

Region 3: Southeast Asia, and East Asia (including Hong Kong).

Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.

Region 5: Eastern Europe, Russia, Indian Subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia.

Region 6: China.

Region 7: reserved for unspecified special use.a

Region 8: Special international venues for air and oceanic travel.

Blu-Ray Region Codes

Before we get into Blu-ray Region Codes, please note that UHD Blu-ray does not have any region settings. Region Codes only apply to standard Blu-ray discs. UHD Blu-rays also go up to a max 4K resolution, in comparison to standard Blu-ray 1080p.

Blu-ray regions are trimmed down to three options. The perk of this setup over DVDs is that someone in the USA can purchase a South Korean Blu-ray and play it without issue. Similarly, those located in Australia can purchase UK Blu-rays and avoid any region lock issues. As long as you have subtitles or understand the language, you can purchase Blu-rays from other countries within your matching region.

Blu-ray region map

Blu-Ray Region Codes:
  • Region A: North America, South America, U.S. Territories, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and certain areas of Southeast Asia.
  • Region B: Europe, Africa, Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Region C: Asia (except for Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and certain areas of Southeast Asia).
  • Region ABC: Region-free, playable across all regions.

Other Disc Formats: VCD, HD-DVD, Laserdisc

Lesser-Known Formats: VCD, HD-DVD, Laserdisc
VCDs, HD-DVDs, and Laserdiscs do not contain region locking. As long as your TV supports the output, you can watch these across all devices.

VCD (Video Compact Discs) are a limited media format with a low resolution developed by Philips, Sony, Panasonic, and JVC. Mainly proliferating across the Asian continent and the Middle East, it was created to compete against VHS. Despite the lack of region locks, VCDs require TVs that support the output. Similar to NTSC vs PAL on DVDs.

HD-DVDs had a limited run while competing against the Blu-ray format. Developed by Toshiba, one of th developers of the DVD, HD-DVD was actually expected to win the war against Blu-ray. But the PS3 became a major factor in the format ultimately dying out two years following release. Many complained that HD-DVD’s lower max resolution of 1080i and lesser disc space were contributing factors as well.

Laserdiscs were developed by Philips, MCA, and Pioneer back in 1978 as an alternative to VHS and Betamax. Using analog technology similar to vinyl records, grooves on the disc would be translated into video by laser scanning. The format was quite popular for a long time in Japan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. With a picture quality superior to VHS and VCD. As it had a higher number of vertical lines. The discs were also large and are considered highly collectable by cinephiles.

We hope you enjoyed our breakdown on DVD & Blu-ray Region Codes explained. Along with our coverage of other media disc formats!

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