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Regional coding

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Regional coding

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Ever thought of buying a game or television programme not available in your home country when overseas? Ever learnt a foreign language and thought of buying a show in its original language when travelling in its country of origin? While these may sound attractive, it may get more complicated than it seems as many companies use regional coding, in other words DVD's bought overseas may not work on your DVD player. Why this phenomenon? It's all about money spinning. A French video game usually sells for a higher price in France than in Canada, so by using regional coding, developers can ensure that French gamers would not import games from Canada as they would not be able to play the Canadian version on their French consoles, thus ensuring that they would buy the higher priced French version.

Video games[edit]

Video games typically have one of four regional codes. The list below shows the areas covered by each code:

  • NTSC-U/C - United States, Canada, Caribbean, Central America Mexico, South America
  • NTSC-J - Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Southeast Asia
  • NTSC-C - mainland China
  • PAL - Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa


DVDs are divided into 8 different regions, labelled 1-8. In addition, there are region code "0" DVD's which would work in regions 1-6 and region "ALL" DVD's which work in all regions. For more details, see this website.

Blu-ray Discs[edit]

Blu-ray discs have 3 different region codes. For more information see this website

Circumventing regional coding[edit]

Some shops can modify your player or console such that it would support all region codes. The legality of this varies from country to country. Most notably, such modifications are illegal in the United States. However, in other places like Hong Kong and Australia, such practices are encouraged as long as they only circumvent regional lockout but do not enable illegally copied media to be played, as their governments claim that regional lockout is contrary to free trade practices. In fact, Australian law requires all DVD players sold to be either region free or to come with instructions on how to disable regional lockout. For the rest of the world, check your own local laws.

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