Image Processing Reference
In-Depth Information
Table 18-1 DVD Regions
Countries served
No region coding applied to disk or player is region free
The United States, its territories, and Canada
Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Egypt, South Africa, Greenland
Only released in the United Kingdom
European disk not sold in the United Kingdom
European disk not sold in the United Kingdom
Available across Europe
Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong
Mexico, South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand,
Pacific Islands, the Caribbean
Former USSR, Eastern Europe, India, Africa other than RSA,
North Korea, Mongolia
People's Republic of China
Unused (reserved for future use)
Aircraft and cruise ships
This territorial control is largely unnecessary. The majority of people in Europe don't
care enough to go to the trouble of importing DVDs from the United States. Those few
people that want to do this would have found a way around the region coding anyway.
The arguments in favor of region coding might be supportable if the digital-video
formats had been made compatible everywhere in the world. We had a chance to do that
with the introduction of digital TV but it slipped away. We have another opportunity with
HDTV and it is marginally possible that the whole world will end up adopting a common
format for that.
If the distributors had genuinely made all their material available in every territory,
the region-coding scheme might have been vindicated. Unfortunately they did not. In fact
a significant proportion of DVD-based material can only be purchased in the United
States. It is not distributed worldwide and the only way it can be viewed in Europe and
elsewhere is to watch Region 1 disks on chipped players. The excuse that region codes
control distribution is undermined by the fact that there is no distribution. Rather than
strangling the distribution process you would think that the content owners would be
seeking to maximize distribution in order to yield the largest possible revenues.
Blockbuster movies are not the problem because they are made available worldwide.
The more interesting, esoteric cult films or documentaries are hard to obtain in some
markets. Thankfully, some distributors do understand this and they code their disks as
Region 0, which ensures compatibility worldwide. The distribution in Europe is patchy but
imports are not hard to organize, and a Region 0 disk will play in an unchipped player.
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