BLU RAY RELEASES
Blu Ray releases are eagerly anticipated now that the format has caught on with mainstream audiences. However, the old concerns about regional coding remain with Blu-Ray Disc, though the specification only calls for three regional codes for the world, in contrast to the original eight or so of DVD proper. Also, despite vastly increased capacities, many Blu Ray releases are available with only a minimum of special features, a throw-back to the old days of DVD.
Speaking of the old days, it should be mentioned that DVD region codes is part and parcel of the format, designed from the get-go to alleviate Hollywoods intellectual property concerns. Blu Ray releases today are no different in that regard, except for the reduction of regions mentioned previously. Dividing the market into different zones is a method that allows motion picture studios to control the worldwide timing of a release. Region coding restricts the area of the world in which a disc may be played, as most players will abide by the DVD region code specified by a particular title. DVD player rules also require that players set up for one region may not be sold in or to another region. There are, however, players which have been hacked, or modified, to ignore all region encoding. Discs also exist which are region free, also known as Region 0 DVDs, that will allow playback on any machine regardless of coding.
While Blu Ray releases fall under any one of three different regions, for DVD proper the world is divided into six zones for purposes of regional coding. Japan and Europe have both been assigned Region 2, allowing for the free exchange of discs between these two areas. With Blue-Ray Disc, however, the United States and Japan are both designated as Region A while Europe is in Region B.
The Region Code for DVDs are as follows:
0, or sometimes signified by 1-6, is an informal though widely recognized and often used term to designate those discs which may be played back on any machine anywhere
1 is for Canada, the United States, United States territories, and Bermuda
2 is assigned to Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, as well as Turkey, Israel, Egypt, and Iran, along with South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho. Finally, Japan and all French overseas territories also share this Region Code
3 refers to Southeast Asia as well as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau
4 has been set aside for Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean (except Bermuda), Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania
5 is used by the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, in addition to continental Africa (excluding Egypt, South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho); Central and South Asia, along with Mongolia and North Korea also share this Region Code
6 is reserved for The People's Republic of China (which now also includes Hong Kong, which is thus covered by two Region Codes)
In addition to the usual six above, 7 has been set aside for future use, and can also be found on screener copies and media copies of pre-releases in the United States and Asia, respectively, while 8 covers international venues such as aircraft and cruise ships. Finally, Region ALL discs are playable in any player; note that unlike 0 or 1-6 above, Region ALL is an official setting. Exceptions exist, such as the sub-codes of D1 through D4 for releases particular to one specific country.