A guide by rainbowtrax
I've been selling entertainment products for over 20 years and, most recently, the one thing which confuses more customers than any other is the format and region encoding of DVDs. Before you buy a DVD, you need to be sure that it is compatible with your DVD player and TV otherwise it won't play properly and probably won't play at all.
As a starting point, you need to check the region code of the DVD; this is shown on the back of the DVD packaging and is usually a number inside a globe symbol. Sellers should state in the listing what region the DVD is - if they don't then make sure you ask. If you DO NOT have a multi-region DVD player, you will NOT be able to play DVDs from any other region than your own and (some) Region 0 discs. You can find your own country's region code from the list below:
Region 0: Multi-Region (aka Region Free) (This is quite often used for legitimate releases such as music and concert recordings issued by smaller companies. However, it is also used for bootleg and pirate releases as well so be aware of this.)
Region 1: USA, Canada, US Territories (eg: Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands)
Region 2: UK, Europe, Japan, South Africa, The Middle East
Region 3: South East & East Asia (eg: Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan)
Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Central & South America
Region 5: Africa, Indian Sub-Continent, Russia, all former USSR countries, North Korea, Mongolia
Region 6: China
Region 7: Not used (reserved)
Region 8: International Territories (eg: aeroplanes)
Unfortunately, it's not as simple as just getting the correct region code. In addition to this, you need to make sure that the format is also correct. There are 2 main formats: PAL and NTSC.
PAL is the standard format in the UK, Europe, Australia and China among others so DVDs from those countries will be PAL.
NTSC is the standard format in the USA, Canada and Japan among others so DVDs from those countries will be NTSC.
If you are in a PAL country then virtually all DVD players and televisions are capable of playing both PAL and NTSC format discs.
Therefore, with a standard DVD player, you'll be able to play all DVDs from your region and all Region 0 DVDs regardless of whether they are PAL or NTSC.
With a multi-region DVD player, you'll be able to play all DVDs from all regions regardless of whether they are PAL or NTSC.
If you are in an NTSC country then things are a bit more complicated. Virtually all standard DVD players and televisions are NOT capable of playing PAL format discs.
Therefore, with a standard DVD player, you'll be able to play all NTSC DVDs from your region and all NTSC format Region 0 DVDs only.
With a multi-region DVD player, it must be PAL-compatible and your TV must also be PAL-compatible. Only then will you be able to play all DVDs from all regions regardless of whether they are PAL or NTSC.
If you have a PAL-compatible, multi-region DVD player but your TV is not PAL-compatible, then you will be able to play all NTSC DVDs from all regions but no PAL format DVDs at all.
If you are in an NTSC country and are not equipped to watch PAL DVDs on your TV system, the other possibility is that you may be able to play them in the DVD drive of your PC - maybe not ideal but at least you can watch them.
Well, thanks for taking the time to read my guide - hope it's been of some use; if so then please register a yes vote and take a look at my other guides. Don't forget to visit my ebay shop for hundreds of 100% official Buy-It-Now DVDs, most at just £4.99. I offer speedy delivery and reasonable postage rates; check out my feedback before you buy. If you like my items, please add me to your favourites list.
Best regards, rainbowtrax