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Those searching for "Blu ray price" on the internet also need to consider the matter of compatibility on account of regional coding. Cheap prices won't mean much if you need to buy a specially hacked region-free or all-region player just to play the disc!

Region coding of Blu-ray Discs differs dramatically from that used for standard DVDs. Whereas today’s DVD uses almost twenty different categories, from the most common official designations of “1” through “ALL” and sub-codes like “D1” through “D4” to the informal labels “0” and “1-6,” Blu-ray Disc utilizes only three to cover the entire world. Thus the geographical regions differ dramatically as well, such that while under standard DVD’s coding system Japan and Europe have been assigned Region 2 while the United States is under Region 1, Blu-ray Disc has grouped Japan and the United States together under Region A while Europe is placed within Region B.

Regional coding is a way for motion picture studios to control the worldwide timing of a release. It restricts the area of the world in which a disc may be played, as players are manufactured to abide by the region code specified by a disc. Regional coding also allows Hollywood to engage in price discrimination, in which different prices are charged in different places for the exact same movie in order to maximize profits as well as marketing efficiency. In the case of standard DVDs, discs and players exist which circumvent the system. However, a substantial majority of Blu-ray releases have been region-free. Interestingly, different studios have different policies governing regional coding of DVDs. Major-league powers like Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. release most of their movies region-free, while 20th Century Fox releases most of its titles locked and coded.

A quick rundown of the Blu-ray regional coding system follows:

“A” is for the Western Hemisphere and dependencies of any of the countries of North, South, and Central America. It has also been assigned to most of East and Southeast Asia, the exceptions being Mainland China and Mongolia, and is sometimes denoted by a simple “1.”

“B” covers Africa, Southwest Asia, Oceania, and Europe with the exception of Russia. It is sometimes designated with a “2.”

“C” or “3” has been assigned to South, Central and East Asia (or, more specifically, Mainland China and Mongolia), and much of Eurasia, including Russia.

As might be expected, certain Blu-ray Disc players are modifiable to allow playback regardless of the regional coding specified by a title. The European Union is concerned about regional lockouts, and has been looking into whether legal charges may apply to the practice. But if history is any guide, history will repeat itself, and the situation that evolved with respect to DVD regional codes should also take place with Blu-ray Disc’s regional coding, where eventually even player manufacturers themselves provide helpful instructions on how to circumvent region codes!