DVD Region Codes for Recordable Discs

By | 4th February 2014

Multistandard PlayerIn this article we explain the ins and outs of regional encoding and other frequently asked questions in relation to recordable DVD Video discs.

Regional encoding is intended to control the sale of retail DVDs in different parts of the world. Retail discs can have more than one Region Code or none at all.┬áStandard DVD players and computer drives only play either discs carrying the Region Code for the area in which the player was sold or discs with no region encoding data. Some “Region Free” players can bypass this limitation.

Recordable DVDs do not support regional encoding. It doesn’t matter whether the discs are DVD-R, DVD+R or any of the RW types – they are not constrained or limited to playback in any particular territory. A disc with no Region Code is sometimes described as Region 0 or Region Zero.

Retail DVDs may also be subject to encryption to prevent casual copying. Recordable DVD Video discs do not support standard types of encryption. There are some non-standard techniques designed to make copying of recordable discs difficult but in general most recordable discs are not encrypted.

The Region Code is completely separate from the video format of the disc. In the UK and Europe most discs are 50i or 25p (often incorrectly described as PAL). American, Canadian and Japanese DVDs are usually 60i or 30p (often described incorrectly as NTSC). Similarly SECAM is an analogue transmission standard. DVDs and DVD players sold in SECAM countries are usually 50i/25p. There are no SECAM DVD players or DVDs.

It used to be the case that in the UK everything had to be PAL to guarantee it would work on older CRT type televisions. Later CRT TVs and almost all LCD and Plasma displays are quite happy with either PAL or NTSC type footage. This is also true for most DVD and all Blu-ray players – they can pretty much play anything.

In summary:

  • Recordable DVD Video discs don’t carry or need a Region Code
  • Recorded DVD Video discs are not normally encrypted
  • LCD & Plasma TVs can show PAL or NTSC type pictures
  • Modern DVD and Blu-ray players can play almost any recordable DVD Video discs
  • Computers with DVD playback software and hardware can play PAL or NTSC recordable discs

We hope you’ve found this article helpful & welcome your thoughts or questions in the comments below.

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