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Q: DVD Compatibility - UK situation & outlook ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: DVD Compatibility - UK situation & outlook
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Movies and Film
Asked by: probonopublico-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 18 Nov 2002 23:34 PST
Expires: 18 Dec 2002 23:34 PST
Question ID: 110445
I am thinking of buying a DVD video player (not a DVD computer drive).

Throughout the world, DVD video players are 'regionalised', supposedly
to restrict their use to disks that are commercially available within
each region. (The UK is in Region 2).

In practice, many machines can be 'hacked' to remove the
regionalisation lock and one vendor in particular (Richer Sounds)
supplies its own Multi-Region players.

Are there any other compatibility issues that I should consider? (For
example, sound systems.)
Subject: Re: DVD Compatibility - UK situation & outlook
Answered By: cobrien-ga on 19 Nov 2002 03:05 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi probonopublico-ga

First off, I should say that buying a multi-region DVD player and
modifying a player are two different things. If you or a dealer make
any unauthorised alterations to the regional settings on your DVD
player, you may void your warranty.

“Remember though, if you or the dealer tampers with the machine
internally you will invalidate the manufacturer's guarantee.”

Plus, as you’ll see below, you’re less likely to run into problems
with a ‘multi-region’ DVD player than you are with a ‘region-free’

There are two main problems you might come across when trying to play
DVDs from different regions on a UK machine. Different TV formats are
used throughout the world: The US, Canada and Japan uses NTSC; France
works on SECAM; and most of Europe, including the UK, works on PAL.

Home Theater Info has this advice: 
“For example, both England and Japan are included in Region 2.
Unfortunately, England users the PAL video formatting while Japan is
NTSC. In order to play a disc intended for England in Japan you will
also have to have equipment that recognizes the video format. There
are converters that will permit the mixing of PAL and NTSC so if you
plan on using discs from different countries consider investing in
such an additional box.”

The good news is that most modern PAL sets are NTSC compatible. 

“The good news is that most modern TV sets from International
manufacturers have multi-standard decoders fitted as standard. Signals
can fed into the set via the multi pin 'SCART' connector on the back
of the set and most modern TV's
will 'sense' the TV standard being inputted and automatically switch
to accommodate it.”

The second problem you might encounter is the recent moves by the film
industry to prevent people from using certain discs with region-free,
or hacked, DVD players.

From Home Theater Info: 
“One new aspect of region coding is Region Code Enhancement (RCE).
This is designed by the studios to prevent viewing a Region One disc
on a Region Free DVD player. It will not prevent watching the movie on
a MultiRegion Player. The reason for this is to prevent people from
the popular practice of hacking the player to be able to view all
region discs.”

This page goes into more detail about how RCE works.

As mentioned above, RCE is unlikely to affect a Multi-Region DVD
player, but it’s probably better to check before you buy.

“Warner Bros, New Line, Columbia and select MGM DVD's have recently
added a Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE) to some Region 1 titles. The
enhancement is added to stop region 1 (R1) DVDs from playing on what
are called 'Region-free' DVD players. Some, but not all, have had
problems playing these enhanced discs on region-free DVD players.
Multi-Region players are not known to be affected by RCE. If you have
a Multi-Region player, you shouldn't have any problems with RCE.”

Rewind mentions that it shouldn’t affect multi-region DVD players, but
that it doesn’t guarantee the disc will play. You can find a list of
the discs currently known to contain RCE on the site.

“RCE mainly affects region free players as opposed to multi-region
players. A region free player is Region 0 whereas multi-region players
can have their region changed either automatically or manually
depending on what region disc is currently in the player. However,
just because you may own a multi-region player doesn't guarantee the
disc will play…

…The best way to use RCE discs on your multi-region player is to
manually enter the region as opposed to letting it be automatically

I haven’t found any evidence to suggest that sound may be an issue;
the main problems I have found are the two listed above. Total DVD has
this information on sound on DVD players:

“All DVD players support Dolby Pro-Logic and Dolby Digital 5.1
multi-channel sound. Dolby Pro-Logic uses four channels (left, right,
centre, and a rear channel split between two speakers), while Dolby
digital uses 5.1 channels  left, right, centre, rear left, rear right,
and a low-frequency 'subwoofer' channel. Most DVD players also support
MPEG, though this standard is little used. DVD players also support
PCM, the system used for stereo audio from CDs.
To translate the signal on the discs into multi-channel sound, a Dolby
Pro-Logic or Dolby Digital decoder is needed. This can be built into
the player, and its separate audio outputs connected directly to a
multi-channel power amplifier.
Alternatively, the DVD player can be designed without a built-in
decoder, but with a digital output which can be connected to an
Audio/Video amplifier with a built-in decoder.”

The sound appears to be more standard and unaffected by region codes.

Looking Glass & Veggie Global has tips for buying DVD players in the
UK and US:

The DVD Centre has a list of Frequently Asked Questions about DVD

The BBC’s Website also has an interesting article on multi-region DVD

Pop Garcia has a note about region coding for DVD players:

Search terms used:
“DVD players+regions”
“DVD regions+compatibility”
“DVD regions+sound”
“multi-region dvd”
“region free dvd”

I hope that this information satisfies your request. If any of my
answer is unclear, please request clarification and I will be happy to



Request for Answer Clarification by probonopublico-ga on 19 Nov 2002 11:59 PST
Hi, Cobrien

Many thanks for your prompt & informative answer.

Just a minor clarification before you get your well-deserved 5 points & a tip ...

Half way through your answer, you start a paragraph 'Rewind says ...'

Who or what is 'Rewind'?

Kindest regards


Clarification of Answer by cobrien-ga on 20 Nov 2002 02:30 PST
Hi probonopublico,

First of all, let me say thank you for your comments, the rating and
the tip. I was glad to have helped.
Now, on to your clarification request. "Rewind" is a DVD website
located at It carries out DVD comparisons, so
if you have a multi-region/region-free DVD player, you can find out
what version of a DVD film is the best to buy. If you want to find out
a bit more about the site and its background, try:

I hope this helps.


probonopublico-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Hi, Cobrien

Many thanks for your informative and timely answer: it was just what I
needed before I took my daughter, Samantha, to Richer Sounds to buy
her a Christmas present.

Before you provided the insight, I was unaware of RCE but the
assistant-manager who served me did, and she also convinced me of the
merits of buying a multi-region player.

I now have complete peace of mind as well as a very happy daughter.

Kindest regards


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