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How to Decode DVD Region Codes

DVD region codes, which you may see in catalogs or on DVDs themselves, enable movie studios to control who can watch DVDs. DVD region codes are embedded in the DVD itself and also coded into the circuitry of the DVD player primarily so that movie studios can release movies and DVDs at different times in different places.

A movie may be released theatrically in the United States first, and then, several months later, it is released theatrically in Europe and also released on DVD in North America. The region code prevents North American retailers from selling the DVD to European customers while the movie is still in theaters there.

If you dig around on the Internet, you can find region-free programs for the PC or modified, universal, region-free DVD players. However, the movie studios are really down on this concept, and often aggressively pursue legal actions (including jail time) against people who try to crack the region codes.

Here are the DVD region codes and the areas they represent:

Region 1: North America
Region 2: Western Europe, Middle East, Japan, and South Africa
Region 3: South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia
Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America
Region 5: Eastern Europe, Africa, and India
Region 6: China
Region 7: Reserved
Region 8: Special international venues (such as cruise ships and airplanes)
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