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DVD Player: About DVD-Video regions

Learn how DVD Player in OS X uses DVD-Video disc region codes.

What are region codes?

Region encoding is the mechanism that enables motion picture studios to control the worldwide release of their movies. It is required by the DVD Forum (http://www.dvdforum.org/forum.shtml) in all commercial hardware DVD players. Every DVD-Video disc contains one byte of data representing a region code, which limits where the disc can be played. Region codes correspond to the following areas of the globe:

  1. Canada, United States, and U.S. territories
  2. Japan, Middle East, South Africa, Western Europe
  3. East Asia, Southeast Asia
  4. Australia, Caribbean islands, Central America, Mexico, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, South America
  5. Africa, Eastern Europe, India, Mongolia, North Korea
  6. China
  7. Reserved
  8. Special international venues (airplanes, cruise ships, and so forth)

How is the region code set?

The first time you insert a DVD disc in Mac OS X v10.3 or later:

  • If the disc only supports one region, the DVD drive is set to that region. No dialog box appears if you are logged in as an admin user. This will automatically count against the number of times you can change the region setting (see below).
  • If the disc supports more than one region, or is region-free, the below dialog appears asking you to choose a region for your DVD drive.

If you later insert a DVD that uses a different region, the above dialog will appear.

You can change the region setting up to 5 times, as indicated in the dialog box. On the fifth time, the drive is permanently set to use that region, and you cannot make any more changes. For example, imagine you have both a Region 1 and Region 2 DVD-Video disc. You insert the Region 1 disc and DVD Player is now set to play only Region 1 discs. You insert the Region 2 disc, and set the drive to play only Region 2 discs. If you continue to switch between the discs, on the fifth time the DVD drive is permanently set to use the region of that disc.

Additional Information

Discs with the region byte set to all zeros (sometimes called Region 0) can be played in any part of the world. Region 0 DVD-Video discs, such as those created by iDVD, do not have a geographical boundary. However, your DVD player and television must be compatible with the video standard used to record the movie on the disc. You should be able to play any Region 0 DVD disc with the DVD Player application since it is compatible with these video standards.

DVD players are generally limited to playing discs of only one region—usually the region where the DVD player was purchased. For example, DVD players purchased in Canada usually only play Region 1 DVD-Video discs.

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Last Modified: Aug 25, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Aug 25, 2014
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