What are Region Codes?

When DVDs were introduced, studios wanted the ability to combat piracy and control release dates throughout the world. As a result, region codes were developed. Region codes restrict where (what region of the world) a DVD can be viewed. Each area of the globe, or region, is assigned it’s own specific number or region code. The regions are as follows.

Playable Region Codes:
1 – North America
2 – Europe, South Africa, Japan
3 – Far East
4 – Latin America, Australia
5 – Africa, India, Russia
6 – China
7 – Reserved
8 – In Flight Entertainment

So how does a region code restrict playback?
DVD players have chips that restrict playback of DVDs not encoded for that region. A DVD player sold in the US will only play back DVDs encoded for region 1.* Players sold in region 2 can only play DVDs encoded for region 2. If you want to author a DVD that can play in all regions, it must be encoded for all regions or region 0.** This means that each region is checked or turned on during the authoring process.

*There are some multi-region players that can play a DVD from any region, but these are the exception to the rule.

**Region 0 can be somewhat misleading. Technically there is no region 0 but this has become an accepted term so it needs defining. Region 0 means that all regions have been selected – 1 – 6 and 8.

Keep in mind that region coding is a separate issue from Video Standards – PAL, NTSC, SECAM. Video created in different areas of the world may not play correctly or at all even if you have selected the correct region code.

Have questions about authoring and DVD production? Check out our FAQ online, or email authoring@discmakers.com.

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