There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about DVD playability worldwide. Many sellers say that DVDs will play on any DVD player when this may not be the case. Most of the problems concern US and Canadian Ebayers who have a DVD and TV system called NTSC whereas basically the rest of the world has a system called PAL. The differences in systems are explained below. Simple incompatibility of systems/regions can prevent playback or the disc may play but with a distorted or jumping picture. As a seller who always tries to warn bidders/buyers about these issues before a purchase is made, even I have buyers who simply refuse to read the listing properly and end up with a DVD they can‘t watch. REMEMBER that the onus is always on the buyer to ensure they have a compatible DVD and TV system. Sellers cannot know what system a buyer has or whether the DVD is being purchased for that Ebayer or as a present for somebody else. Hopefully this guide will help Ebayers understand compatibility issues. At the end of the day sellers want happy buyers and buyers want a DVD they can watch.
Due to rights issues, the staggered theatrical release of films worldwide and pricing differences, DVDs are issued with a Region code (shown on reverse of sleeve often in a small world symbol) as follows
Region 1 USA, Canada, US Territories
Region 2 Japan, UK Europe, South Africa, Middle East
Region 3 Southeast Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong and Thailand)
Region 4 Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South America, Caribbean
Region 5 Eastern Europe, Indian Subcontinent, Africa,
Region 6 China
Region 7 Reserved
Region 8 Special International Venues (Planes, Ships etc)
Region 0 Region Free DVD's
All Region 1 DVDs are NTSC format. DVDs from other Regions may however be in either PAL or NTSC format. The main difference between North American systems and other countries is that other countries TV systems can play either PAL or NTSC DVDs whereas most US and Canadian TVs are NTSC only. Most North American DVD players are NTSC Region 1 only players.
PAL AND NTSC
Film on a DVD is stored in digital format, and is formatted for one of two TV standards (NTSC or PAL). So apart from the region code issue there is the problem of disc format (two different formats of DVD, NTSC or PAL).
The UK, Europe, Australia, etc use the 625 line 50Hz PAL system.
Japan, USA and Canada use the 525 line 60Hz NTSC system.
If you can't play a PAL format DVD, although you have a multi-region DVD player, it's most likely to be your TV that is the problem and not the DVD.
Most DVD players and TVs sold in PAL countries can play both formats of discs, however, this does not mean they can play any DVD (because of region restrictions). For example, a basic European DVD player (PAL Region 2 only) will be able to play a Japanese disc (NTSC Region 2), but not necessarily a US (NTSC Region 1) disc. An American basic DVD player (NTSC Region 1) will not play any other Region DVD irrespective of format.
Many Ebayers have multi-region DVD players. Ebayers in regions other than Region 1 who have a multi-region DVD player can play any region’s DVD in ether format. US and Canadian Ebayers however may have a multi-region DVD player but if their TV has not been converted or is not PAL compatible then play will be affected.
Most NTSC DVD players can't play PAL discs.
Basically if North Americans want to purchase DVDs from around the world then they must have a multi region DVD player and a PAL compatible TV system.
The USA (Region 1) is by far the biggest market, so it makes economic sense to manufacture DVD players solely for that Region. Basic Region 1 DVD players can rarely be modified to play DVDs from other regions. Even if they are, US TV systems will rarely handle the signal from other region PAL DVDs. Basically, the USA is a self-contained market. Most DVDs are released/sold there, and are often cheaper there than elsewhere, so most American buyers don‘t need to go outside their own country.
However there are always different versions/deleted/oop DVDs and films not released in some countries which buyers are after. So if you still want to play other Region DVDs the equipment you'll need is:
1. A multi-region DVD player.
2. A PAL compatible TV set or a PAL/NTSC signal converter. Or alternatively you can watch a DVD via your DVD ROM drive on your PC/Laptop.
British, European and Australian Ebayers really have few problems playing any countries/other region DVDs in whatever format as long as they have a multi-region DVD player.
If you've found this guide helpful then please tick the box. Cheers and happy viewing.