There is additional hitch in this madness. Since the world is also divided into the NTSC and PAL video systems, as outlined in my previous article: Who's Your PAL? ), the consumer may need a multi-system TV to access DVDs pressed in one of these systems. Although this is difficult in the U.S. market, where all video is based on the NTSC system, most consumers in Europe and some other parts of the world do own Televisions that can view DVDs pressed in either NTSC or PAL.
DVD Price Fixing and Movie Release Dates
I can see the need for some region coding in order to protect movie release dates, but if issues such as price-fixing of DVD product is also involved, Hollywood may end up being in deep trouble on this one.
With the increase in communication and travel, information and entertainment can be accessed just about anywhere at anytime and perhaps Hollywood would best be served by releasing films and videos at the same time everywhere. Not only would consumers be better served, but the cost of region coding and the need for the aftermarket Code-Free DVD player would be eliminated.
The Consumer Impatience Factor
Also, I realize it's nice to purchase the DVD version of the latest blockbuster just six months after theatrical release. It is a minor inconvenience to wait another month or so if it means the film is still in theatrical release somewhere else in the world. If the movie is worthy, fans will wait for the DVD. I doubt if the sales of blockbuster DVD releases, such as Star Wars: Episode II, Lord Of The Rings, etc... suffer because we had to wait over a year to get it. I, for one, will always be in line for those major DVD releases.
The Real Beneficiaries Of DVD Region Coding
The only entities that seem to be really benefiting from DVD Region Coding are the movie studios and the marketers of Code-Free DVD players. Under this current system, my vote is for the marketers of the Code-Free players. Even the International Space Station has Code-Free DVD players (for obvious practical reasons).
For a list of dealers that sell modified Code-Free DVD players, check the listings in the linkboxes below this article of (Guide Note: The dealer listings are purely informational, I do not vouch for the quality of the products and services offered).
Home DVD Recording
With the advent of DVD Recorders and DVD Camcorders for consumer use, the question comes up as to how this is affected by DVD Region Coding. The good news is that since DVD Region Coding is a commercial application, any DVD recordings you make on a consumer-based DVD recorder, DVD camcorder, or even a PC, are not Region Coded. If the DVD you record made in the NTSC video system, it will be playable on DVD players in countries that use that system, and the same for PAL; there is no further region code restriction on home recorded DVDs.
For additional information on consumer DVD recording, check out my DVD Recorder FAQs
However, if you choose to implement Region Coding on your own DVD recordings, you need access to software or a service that is able to implement the region code designation.
Now that you know about DVD region coding, that isn't the only dirty little secret of DVD. There also the issue of anti-copy encoding technology, but that is another story....
How do you feel about DVD region coding? Just join in on my DVD Region Coding Forum.