An Introduction to Multi-region DVD Players


Benefits
Region Breakdown
Multi-region Ready or Multi-region Capable?
RCE Capable Players
Television Compatibility
Warranty
More Information

One of the most requested DVD player features in the UK is multi-region playback--the ability for a DVD player to play discs intended for other countries. The reason for this is because DVDs are encoded to play in their set "region" or geographical location, so having a multi-region DVD player instantly allows you to purchase and play DVD titles from anywhere in the world. If you're new to DVD, this guide will tell you all need to know about multi-region DVD players.


Benefits

Having the ability to play DVDs from anywhere in the world instantly gives you access to a larger catalogue of DVDs. In addition to this you can often purchase DVDs from another country that contain additional material; this may be anything from extra scenes and audio commentary to a different cut of the film.

Region Breakdown

The world is split into eight regions and a "free" region 0. Europe is region 2, while North America and Canada is region 1.


Region 0: Region-free (plays on any DVD player)
Region 1: US, Canada, US Territories
Region 2: Europe, Japan (region 2 NTSC), South Africa, and Middle East (including Egypt)
Region 3: South East Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong)
Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean
Region 5: Eastern Europe (Former Soviet Union), Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia
Region 6: Peoples Republic of China
Region 7: Reserved
Region 8: Special Venues (aeroplanes, cruise ships)

Multi-region Ready or Multi-region Capable?

If you want to purchase a multi-region DVD player you'll have a choice of either "multi-region ready" or "multi-region capable". All of our players sold as multi-region have been modified to play DVDs from all regions. Some of these players are pre-modified region 2 players and so will state that they are region 2 on the box and on the back of the player.

DVD players we list as "multi-region capable" such as the Philips DVD625 are sold as region 2 only, but with a few presses on the remote control, can be made multi-region.

RCE Capable Players

There are a handful of region 1 DVD titles that have additional region encoding called RCE (Region Coding Enhancement) that effectively stop a disc from playing on a non-region 1 DVD player. However, most multi-region DVD players will play these discs so check a player can play RCE discs if you plan to buy region 1 DVD discs.

Television Compatibility

If you're thinking of purchasing a multi-region DVD player with the intention of play non-UK discs (i.e., non-region 2) do be aware that if you plan to watch them on an old television they may not play in colour. This is because UK televisions output a PAL signal and other countries output an NTSC signal. Without getting too technical it's all down to the signal frequency and the amount of frames per second each standard plays--PAL and NTSC run at different rates. This isn't an issue with new televisions as most of these are "multi-standard" and are capable of displaying both PAL and NTSC signals in colour.

If you're unsure about whether your television will output an NTSC signal in colour, our recommendation is that you purchase a DVD player such as the Yamada 5520 that can convert an NTSC signal to what is known as Pseudo-PAL or PAL60. This basically converts an NTSC signal into a modified PAL signal--although it won't work on all televisions. If your television has multiple video input connections, you may find that NTSC is only possible from one video input--consult your television manual for more information on this.

Warranty

Buying a DVD player that has been modified to provide multi-region playback can sometimes invalidate the manufacturer's warranty. However, on any occasion where this would be the case, Amazon.co.uk will honour an equivalent warranty period. So if you experience any difficulties during the manufacturer's warranty period you should contact us directly.

More Information

For more information on what DVD can offer, read our in-depth guide.

Related Products

See our range of multi-region DVD players.