DVD Region Information and NTSC / PAL Formats Explained

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There are any number of websites and Ebay guides that explain DVD regions and the NTSC and PAL formats in great depth. Region and format information is technically complex, and at times, confusing for buyers. In this guide I'll a) try to simplify things for Australian buyers plus b) open up a whole new world of potential viewing pleasure for you!

FIRSTLY, HERE IS SOME GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING DVD REGIONS AND FORMATS:

Basically, dvds are encoded per various geographic regions of the world, broken down as follows:

Region 1 - The USA and Canada
Region 2 - Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Egypt, South Africa, Greenland
Region 3 - Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong
Region 4 - Mexico, South America, Central America, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Caribbean
Region 5 - (the former) USSR and States, Eastern Europe, India, most of Africa, North Korea, Mongolia
Region 6 - China
Region 0 (otherwise known as "All" or "Free" Region) - these can be played on any player worldwide and are not locked per any region.

Typically, on a dvd's back cover there will be a symbol with a number indicating its region (or "0", "All" or "Free" in the case of All Region dvds)

NTSC, PAL AND SECAM FORMATS:

To complicate matters even further the world is also broken down into 3 main television picture formats comprising PAL, NTSC and the rarer SECAM. You therefore ALSO need to have a television monitor capable of displaying one of the above dvd formats in order to watch a given dvd. Again the dvd format (i.e. if it is PAL, NTSC or SECAM) will generally be indicated somewhere on the dvd's back cover.

NOW, SOME CUSTOMISED INFORMATION FOR AUSTRALIAN BUYERS:

Here, I will focus on 3 different types of dvds. N.B. - Please see other guides on Ebay if the dvd you are interested in purchasing does not equate to the 3 types of dvds I will be discussing.

  1. The first type of dvds are Region 4, PAL format dvds, both of which are Australia's standard dvd region and format type. Such dvds have been sourced from Australia, and in short, any Australian dvd player and television will be able to cope with playing these dvds.
  2. The second type of dvds are Region 1 (USA/Canada) NTSC format dvds which require a multi-region dvd player and a television that can cope with the NTSC format when the dvd is played back.
  3. The third type of dvds are All Region, NTSC format dvds. Theoretically, an All Region dvd can be played worldwide in any dvd player, however, Australia's standard television display format is PAL (the USA's format is NTSC). Therefore, with All Region, NTSC format dvds you require either a multi-region dvd player and/or a television that displays the NTSC format.

N.B. - All Region, NTSC dvds can generally be played on computers as most monitors play both NTSC and PAL formats.

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!

Many recently manufactured Australian dvd players are already multi-region by default, and furthermore, if your television is under ten years old, in all likelihood, it can probably play NTSC format dvds. A non-NTSC compatible television may not display NTSC pictures at all or will only display in black and white. To check if you have a multi-region player, and to see if your television supports the NTSC format, please consult your user manuals and/or check with the manufacturer for advice. Another simple way to test compatibility is to borrow a Region 1 dvd or an All Region (NTSC format) dvd from a friend if they hold such dvds in their collection. If these dvds work on your player and television, then you're set for some great viewing!

If you are thinking of buying a new dvd player then I'd suggest you choose a multi-region player. After all, there's a huge, wide world of viewing out there and Ebay is a world market, so why restrict yourself to Region 4 dvds only? Not all titles are available in Australia, so think big picture and globally!

DON'T FORGET TO RATE MY GUIDE IF YOU FOUND IT USEFUL!   :-)

 
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