What are region codes?
Region encoding is the mechanism that enables movie studios to control the worldwide release of their movies. It's required by the DVD Forum 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
8: Special international venues, such as airplanes and cruise ships
How is the region code set?
The first time you insert a DVD-Video disk into your DVD drive:
- If the DVD supports only one region, the DVD drive is set to that region. This automatically counts against the number of times you can change the region setting of the DVD drive.
- If the disc supports more than one region, or is region-free, you're asked to select the region for your DVD drive:
If you later insert a DVD disc that uses a different region, you're asked again to set the region. You can change the region setting up to five times. The fifth time you change the region, the drive is permanently set to play DVDs only for that region.
Discs with the region byte set to all zeros (sometimes called Region 0) can be played in any part of the world. Region 0 DVDs such as those created by iDVD, don't 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 DVDs with the DVD Player app.
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 play only Region 1 DVD-Video discs.