Many of the DVDs that we carry (sell from our stock) are coded for Region 4 and are not intended (and unsuitable) for sale outside of Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.
Q: What is regional coding, and what does it do? Is it possible to change the regional coding of my DVD player?
A: Regional coding limits what countries a disc can be used in. A disc coded for North America (region 1) will not play back on a player sold in Australia (Region 4). Right now the world is divided into six regions as below:
Canada, U.S., U.S. Territories
Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East (including Egypt)
Southeast Asia, East Asia (including Hong Kong)
Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, Caribbean
Former Soviet Union, Indian Subcontinent, Africa (also North Korea, Mongolia)
A player's region code is set by the manufacturer according to where it will be sold. This disc coding cannot be changed by the consumer. Manufacturers can opt to program a disc to play in any combination of the world's regions. Some DVD players may have been altered unlawfully by consumers or companies to play DVDs coded for more than one region. However, some new DVDs are now employing RCE (Regional Code Enhancement), a more robust technology designed to halt this unauthorised practice. A disc's regional coding is listed on its product page. dvdorchard will not accept returns if your player is altered and unable to play a RCE disc.
The majority of the DVDs that we carry (and on-sell to you) are coded for Region 4 and are not intended (and unsuitable) for sale outside of Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean.
In order to play these discs you would need to have either a Region 4 DVD player or a player modified to read such discs. Note that modifications to DVD players differ from player to player and that there are two basic methods. The first method is that the player is modified to become a Region 0 player, or a player that effectively ignores the region coding - note that movie studio's are starting to cater for this modification in their protection methods. The second method, and perhaps more long-term, is that the player is modified so that the user can instruct it to behave like a player from the region required to play an individual disc. Often the instruction to the dvd player is via a security code entered by the remote control. With this method the coding on the disc sees the player as being of the correct region.
You can determine the region number of your disc or player by looking for a small, standardized globe icon with the region number superimposed on it. If a disc plays in more than one region it will have more than one number on the globe. If a disc does not have any regional coding it will say "ALL" for all regions.
Q: Why are there six regions ?
A. Coding allows disc manufacturers to control the release pattern of movies on DVD. This means that movies from Region 1 (USA & Canada) WILL NOT play on an unmodified DVD player coded for regions 2 through to 6. Effectively, Region 1 discs play only on Region 1 unmodified DVD players, Region 4 discs play only on Region 4 unmodified DVD players and so on.
Hollywood movies are released on DVD at different times around the world, typically America and Canada first, Australia and Japan 6 months later, and Europe 12 months after US release. (This is similar to the worldwide release pattern of major U.S.-made motion pictures.) In some instances, DVD movies are available for purchase in America and Canada before they are released in European and Australian cinemas. Due to the high quality of DVD and the movie release system used by Hollywood, 6 regions were established to prevent people from watching Region 1 movies before they were released in Regions 2 to 6.
Q: What is the difference between PAL and NTSC ? A: PAL is the format used in Australia, parts of Asia, and some European countries. PAL stands for Phase Alternation Lines (625 lines) and offers more picture detail and wider luminance (color signal) bandwidth. PAL has been adopted by almost all 50 Hz countries in the world.
NTSC is the format used in the United States and Canada. NTSC stands for National Television Standard Committee which established the American TV broadcast TV standard as a 525 line broadcast. The NTSC system has higher frame rate (60 Hz) which reduces visible flicker and picture noise.
PAL delivers a scanning/frame rate of 25 fps (frames per second) with 625 lines, while NTSC delivers a scanning/frame rate of 29.97 fps using 525 lines. A TV signal is made from interlaced half-frames, hence the 25 fps in 50 Hz countries, and 30 fps in 60 Hz countries. The color information of the signal is also encoded differently. Although most TVs have the ability to display both 50 and 60 Hz signals, without proper decoding of the PAL or NTSC signal the color information will be lost and the picture appears black and white. These technical differences are the reason for an intrinsic incompatibility of PAL and NTSC DVDs/DVD Players/TVs/Games/Games consoles.
Most DVDs and ALL games sold by dvdorchard are designed for PAL systems and will not work with NTSC systems (unless you have a PAL converter). Most if not all DVD Players sold in Australia are PAL/NTSC compatible - check with your manufacturer; Most TVs sold recently in Australia are Multi System - PAL/NTSC compatible - but once again check with your manufacturer. All Games and Games Consoles sold in Australia are PAL only.
A problem that is indirectly related to PAL and NTSC is the power supply. Countries that use the PAL standard usually have AC current of 50 Hz, with voltages of 220 V or more. In contrast, countries that use the NTSC system use AC current of 60 Hz, with voltages of around 100-120 V. This means that if you intend to buy a peice of electrical equipment from a different country, you may need a voltage converter (a step-up or step-down transformer, respectively).