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Blu-Rays and Regional Settings

Regional settings for BDs can look very complicated - so here's a simple break-down!

The world of technology is constantly moving forwards and the latest addition to the world of discs is the Blu-Ray discs. However there have been some problems and confusion over Blu-Ray regional settings: Not only are they different from DVD regions, they are also not very well labelled!
So, to save the confusion, here is a list of the DVD regions:

1 – US and Canada
2 – Europe, Japan and the Middle East
3 – Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong
4 – South America, Australia and New Zealand
5 – Russia, Eastern Europe, India, most of Africa and North Korea
6 – China

And here is a list of the Blu-Ray regions, which use the ‘ABC region code scheme’:

A – North America, South America, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong
B – Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Autsralia and New Zealand
C – India, China and Russia

While it is worth bearing in mind that only about one third of Blu-Rays have regional settings, for those that do, it is very often marked on the packaging very poorly or not at all! Mass Blu-Ray duplication companies have been asked by the BD license to mark on the packaging somewhere what region the disc is, however very often the writing is miniscule and only says ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ which is meaningless to most people anyway! Some companies have also been guilty of leaving off the region setting altogether and have not been questioned on this: Therefore no marking could mean no regional code but it could also mean it’s simply missing or that you haven’t found the tiny writing it’s in yet!
Not only this, but some companies have started renaming the coding systems: Amazon has turned ‘A, B, C’ into ‘1, 2, 3’ but does host a page explaining this in its FAQ section to counterbalance confusion. The BDA (Blu-Ray Disc Association) has been made aware of this situation.
But many of you may well remember that when DVDs first started out they were avidly restricted to region settings and it was not until ‘hacked’ DVD players with no coding came out that the DVD market really took off, mainly because there were more DVDs in some regions then in others, thus when the regions were taken out of the equation, consumers were given much more choice as to what they could buy. Perhaps mass Blu-Ray duplication companies are hoping for the same thing because recently a ‘hacked’ Blu-Ray player, which is BD-Live enabled, has become available and, as yet, has also not been made illegal even though it breaks the coding laws!
Whilst I obviously cannot condone a ‘hacked’ machine, it does seem to be the underground answer to the confusing labeling of Blu-Ray discs. The other option is from the BDA to finally call the mass Bly-Ray duplications companies to task and force them to properly label discs, not just send them the document which states that’s what they should be doing!

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