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.