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Region 1 - Region 2 - Region 3 - Region 4 - Region 0 - Box Sets

What are regions?
DVD regions are codes for specifications that require a DVD player to be "hard-coded" to accept the disc's particular region. For example a region 1 disc cannot play in a region 3 DVD player. Their are eight regions in total, six of which are designated for world regions.

What regions apply to which area?
Region 1 - United States and Canada
Region 2 - Japan, Europe, Middle East and South Africa
Region 3 - Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo and Indonesia
Region 4 - Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean
Region 5 - Russia, North Korea, India, Africa, Mongolia and former USSR countries
Region 6 - China
Region 7 - For private use
Region 8 - For commercial use

What is region 0?
Region 0, or region free as they are sometimes called, are DVDs with no region. They are meant to play on all DVD players. These discs are often illegal, coming from firms who have not licensed the material, however that is not always the case.

What is the purpose of different regions?
Most films are released theatrically in the United States first. Around three to six months later, those same movies are released in Japan, Europe and other nations It is then around five through ten months after the initial release that the film will come out on DVD in the States. Unfortunately, this DVD release conflicts with the theatrical showing of the film in other nations of the world. So, in order to stop people from importing the movie, instead of seeing it in the theaters, different regions were created. Furthermore, regions also allow companies to charge different prices for the discs depending on location, usually commanding a premium in the US and Japan while the products will sell for much less in most other nations.

Is there a way around different regions?
There are several companies that sell region free, sometimes called code free, DVD players. Unfortunately, the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) created a technology called Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE) in response, that is included on most region 1 titles. This technology allows the DVD to check the region of your player and if it detects a setting of 0 (region free) it will not play. Newer region free players, though, change their setting depending on what region the disc is, instead of using 0, so this should only be a problem on older hardware units.

If you have a DVD-R drive on your computer than you can use a DVD decoder, which will allow the drive to work much in the same way that modern region free players do.

It should be noted that all DVD players sold in Australia and New Zealand are set to region 0, after their courts deemed that region encoding was in violation of the Trade Practices Act.