TAIYO YUDEN DVD-R
Taiyo Yuden DVD-R media are known for quality, though they are rare outside of Japan and are often made for other manufacturers, under more famous brand labels. But while it's possible to get Taiyo Yuden DVD-R discs outside of Japan, it can be difficult finding certain DVDs outside of the designated regions - and even when you do, different discs from different parts of the world may not play back at all due to regional coding mechanisms.
The legality of DVD regional coding is a matter that has warranted the highest of official attention from various national and international bodies. Many believe the scheme to be a violation of the World Trade Organization’s free trade agreements, while in Australia and New Zealand regional coding practices are not offered any protection by the law.
The key argument for regional coding by the entertainment industry has been its needs to flexibly schedule release dates, but this justification is belied by the fact that so-called catalog titles, older materials previously released, are (re-) released with full regional coding. Such catalog titles are already available on the market – albeit in slightly different form, given the ability of DVDs to offer supplemental materials, also known as “extras” or “special features.” Nevertheless, none other than the European Union is concerned that DVD regional coding is merely an attempt at price discrimination and detrimental to free trade in general.
Thus a proliferation of region-free DVD players have become available. Players are supposed to be manufactured to enforce the DVD regional coding scheme. Each player’s firmware is set at the factory to ensure that it will only play back content provided by a disc matching the regional code it has been set to recognize. Region-free players are sold without this kind of preset configuration and thus able to play DVDs coded for anywhere in the world.
Other region-free DVD players are region-free after the fact, in that they are shipped as per official DVD specifications, which call for regional coding implementation, but are then unlocked via special codes input through the player’s remote control. Such codes allow the player to change its own regional coding status to simply recognize all regions or to recognize a different region at a time. That is, the player will then either player any disc at all, or will have to be reset for each disc with a different regional statwith a different regional status than what the player currently recognizes.
Such workarounds only affect older players, however; newer players have regional coding implemented at the hardware level, requiring the devices to be reflashed or hacked with the older firmware. This requires special hardware to do, and will often void the manufacturer’s warranty. The situation is a lot more convenient with computer-based DVD players, as most free and open source playback software like VLC ignore regional coding altogether. Even commercial software players can be region-free, once simple-to-use and easily available hacks are used on them. Finally, software capable of copying commercial DVDs can add flags for all regional codes, thus creating an all-region disc, even as it removes copy-protection mechanisms like Macrovision, CSS, and UOPs.