DVD region code

DVD (digital versatile disc) region codes are a digital rights management technique designed to allow rights holders to control the international distribution of a DVD release, including its content, release date, and price, all according to the appropriate region.

This is achieved by way of region-locked DVD players, which will play back only DVDs encoded to their region (plus those without any region code). The American DVD Copy Control Association also requires that DVD player manufacturers incorporate the regional-playback control (RPC) system. However, region-free DVD players, which ignore region coding, are also commercially available,[1] and many DVD players can be modified to be region-free, allowing playback of all discs.[2]

DVDs may use one code, a combination of codes (multi-region), every code (all region) or no codes (region free).

DVD-Regions with key-2
DVD regions

Region codes and countries

Region code Area
1 North America + Central america
2 Europe + Egypt + West Asia + Japan + South Africa + Greenland + French Guiana
3 Southeast Asia + South Korea + Taiwan + Hong Kong + Macau
4 South America + Oceania + Australia
5 Africa (without Egypt and South Africa) + Russia + Central Asia + South Asia + Mongolia + North Korea
6 Mainland China
7 MPAA-related DVDs and "media copies" of pre-releases in Asia
8 International venues such as aircraft, cruise ships and spacecraft.
ALL These region discs have all 1-8 flags set, allowing the disc to be played in any location, on any player.

Any combination of regions can be applied to a single disc. For example, a DVD designated Region 2/4 is suitable for playback in Western Europe, Oceania, and any other Region 2 or Region 4 area. So-called "Region 0" and "ALL" discs are meant to be playable worldwide.

Most DVDs sold in Mexico and Latin America carry both region 1 and 4 codes.

DVDs sold in the Baltic states use both region 2 and 5 codes, having previously been in region 5 (due to historic links with the USSR) but EU single market law concerning the free movement of goods causing a switch to region 2.

North Korea and South Korea have different DVD region codes (North Korea: region 5, South Korea: region 3), but the same Blu-ray region code (region A).

Egypt and South Africa are in DVD region 2, while all other African countries are in region 5, but all African countries have the same Blu-ray region code (region B).

In China, two DVD region codes are used: Mainland China has region 6, but Hong Kong and Macau have region 3. There are also two Blu-ray regions used: Mainland China has region C, but Hong Kong and Macau have region A.

Region 0 (playable in all regions except 7 and 8) is widely used by China and the Philippines.

Most DVDs in India combine the region 2, region 4, and region 5 codes, or are region 0; Indian Disney discs contain only the region 3 code (India has region 5, so region-3 DVDs cannot be played there).

European region 2 DVDs may be sub-coded "D1" to "D4". "D1" are the UK only releases; "D2" and "D3" are not sold in the UK and Ireland; "D4" are distributed throughout Europe.

Overseas territories of the United Kingdom and France (both in region 2) often have other regions (4 or 5, depending on geographical situation) than their homelands.

The term "Region 0" also describes the DVD players designed or modified to incorporate Regions 1–6, thereby providing compatibility with most discs, regardless of region. This apparent solution was popular in the early days of the DVD format, but studios quickly responded by adjusting discs to refuse to play in such machines. This system is known as "Regional Coding Enhancement" (RCE).

Region-code enhanced

Region-code enhanced, also known as just "RCE" or "REA",[3] was a retroactive attempt to prevent the playing of one region's discs in another region, even if the disc was played in a region-free player. The scheme was deployed on only a handful of discs. The disc contained the main program material region coded as region 1. But it also contained a short video loop of a map of the world showing the regions, which was coded as region 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The intention was that when the disc was played in a non-region 1 player, the player would default to playing the material for its native region. This played the aforementioned video loop of a map, which was impossible to escape from, as the user controls were disabled.

The scheme was fundamentally flawed, as a region-free player tries to play a disc using the last region that worked with the previously inserted disc. If it cannot play the disc, then it tries another region until one is found that works. RCE could be defeated by briefly playing a "normal" region 1 disc, and then inserting the RCE protected region 1 disc, which would now play. RCE caused a few problems with genuine region 1 players.

Many "multi-region" DVD players defeated regional lockout and RCE by automatically identifying and matching a disc's region code or allowing the user to manually select a particular region.[4][5] Some manufacturers of DVD players now freely supply information on how to disable regional lockout, and on some recent models, it appears to be disabled by default.[6][7] Computer programs such as DVD Shrink, Digiarty WinX DVD Ripper Platinum can make copies of region-coded DVDs without RCE restriction.


One purpose of region coding is controlling release dates. A practice of movie marketing threatened by the advent of digital home video is to release a movie to cinemas, and then for general sale, later in some countries than in others. This is common partly because releasing a movie at the same time worldwide used to be prohibitively expensive. For example, a physical film copy for a cinema is expensive and the most copies are required for the first weeks after release, so a spread release allows for reuse of some copies in other regions. Videotapes were inherently regional since formats had to match those of the encoding system used by television stations in that particular region, such as NTSC and PAL, although from early 1990s PAL machines increasingly offered NTSC playback. DVDs are less restricted in this sense, and region coding allows movie studios to better control the global release dates of DVDs.

Also, the copyright in a title may be held by different entities in different territories. Region coding enables copyright holders to (attempt to) prevent a DVD from a region from which they do not derive royalties from being played on a DVD player inside their region. Region coding attempts to dissuade importing of DVDs from one region into another.


DVDs are also formatted for use on two conflicting regional television systems: 480i/60 Hz and 576i/50 Hz, which in analog contexts are often referred to as 525/60 (NTSC) and 625/50 (PAL/SECAM) respectively. Strictly speaking, PAL and SECAM are analog color television signal formats which have no relevance in the digital domain (as evident in the conflation of PAL and SECAM, which are actually two distinct analog color systems). However, the DVD system was originally designed to encode the information necessary to reproduce signals in these formats, and the terms continue to be used (incorrectly) as a method of identifying refresh rates and vertical resolution. However, an "NTSC", "PAL" or "SECAM" DVD player that has one or more analog composite video output (baseband or modulated) will only produce NTSC, PAL or SECAM signals, respectively, from those outputs, and may only play DVDs identified with the corresponding format.

NTSC is the analog TV format historically associated with the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Taiwan, and other countries. PAL is the analog color TV format historically associated with most of Europe, most of Africa, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, North Korea, and other countries (Brazil adopted the variant PAL-M, which uses the refresh rate and resolution commonly associated with NTSC). SECAM, a format associated with French-speaking Europe, while using the same resolution and refresh rate as PAL, is a distinct format which uses a very different system of color encoding. Some DVD players can only play discs identified as NTSC, PAL or SECAM, while others can play multiple standards.[8]

In general, it is easier for consumers in PAL/SECAM countries to view NTSC DVDs than vice versa. Almost all DVD players sold in PAL/SECAM countries are capable of playing both kinds of discs, and most modern PAL TVs can handle the converted signal. NTSC discs may be output from a PAL DVD player in three different ways:

However, most NTSC players cannot play PAL discs, and most NTSC TVs do not accept 576i video signals as used on PAL/SECAM DVDs. Those in NTSC countries, such as the United States, generally require both a region-free, multi-standard player and a multi-standard television to view PAL discs, or a converter box, whereas those in PAL countries generally require only a region-free player to view NTSC discs. There are also differences in pixel aspect ratio (720 × 480 vs. 720 × 576 with the same image aspect ratio) and display frame rate (29.97 vs. 25).

Most computer-based DVD software and hardware can play both NTSC and PAL video and both audio standards.[8]

Implementations of region codes

Standalone DVD players

Usually a configuration flag is set in each player's firmware at the factory. This flag holds the region number that the machine is allowed to play. Region-free players are DVD players shipped without the ability to enforce regional lockout (usually by means of a chip that ignores any region coding), or without this flag set.

However, if the player is not region-free, it can often be unlocked with an unlock code entered via the remote control. This code simply allows the user to change the factory-set configuration flag to another region, or to the special region "0". Once unlocked this way, the DVD player allows the owner to watch DVDs from any region. Many websites exist on the Internet offering these codes, often known informally as hacks. Many websites provide instructions for different models of standalone DVD players, to hack, and their factory codes.

Computer DVD drives

Older DVD drives use RPC-1 ("Regional Playback Control") firmware, which means the drive allows DVDs from any region to play. Newer drives use RPC-2 firmware, which enforces the DVD region coding at the hardware level. These drives can often be reflashed or hacked with RPC-1 firmware, effectively making the drive region-free. This may void the drive warranty.[9]

Some drives may come set as region-free, so the user is expected to assign their region when they buy it. In this case, some DVD programs may prompt the user to select a region, while others may actually assign the region automatically based on the locale set in the operating system.

In most computer drives, users are allowed to change the region code up to five times.[10] If the number of allowances reaches zero, the region last used will be permanent even if the drive is transferred to another computer. This limit is built into the drive's controller software, called firmware. Resetting the firmware count can be done with first- or third-party software tools, or by reflashing (see above) to RPC-1 firmware.

Since some software does not work correctly with RPC-1 drives, there is also the option of reflashing the drive with a so-called auto-reset firmware. This firmware appears as RPC-2 firmware to software, but will reset the region changes counter whenever power is cycled, reverting to the state of a drive that has never had its region code changed.

Software DVD players

Most freeware and open source DVD players ignore region coding. VLC, for example, does not attempt to enforce region coding; however, it requires access to the DVD's raw data to overcome CSS encryption, and such access may not be available on some drives with RPC-2 firmware when playing a disc from a different region than the region to which the drive is locked.[11] Most commercial players are locked to a region code, but can be easily changed with software.

Other software, known as DVD region killers, transparently remove (or hide) the DVD region code from the software player. Some can also work around locked RPC-2 firmware.


The region coding of a DVD can be circumvented by making a copy that adds flags for all region codes, creating an all-region DVD. DVD backup software can do this, and some can also remove Macrovision, CSS, and disabled user operations (UOps).

In common region-locked DVDs (but not in RCE-DVDs), the region code is stored in the file "VIDEO_TS.IFO" (table "VMGM_MAT"), byte offsets 34 and 35.[12] The eight regions each correspond to a value which is a power of 2: Region 1 corresponds to 1 (20), Region 2 to 2 (21), Region 3 to 4 (22), and so on through Region 8, which corresponds to 128 (27). The values of each region that the disc is not encoded for are added together to give the value in the file. For example, a disc that is encoded for Region 1 but not Regions 2–8 will have the value 2+4+8+16+32+64+128=254. A disc encoded for Regions 1, 2 and 4 will have the value 4+16+32+64+128=244. A region-free or RCE-protected DVD will carry the value zero, since no regions are excluded.

Video game consoles

The Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 consoles are all region-locked for DVD playback. The PlayStation 2[13] can be modified to have its regional-locking disabled through the use of modchips. Although region locked on film DVDs and film Blu-ray Discs, the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are region free for video games, though Add-on content on the online store is region locked and must match the region of the disc.

Blu-ray Disc region codes

Blu-ray-regions with key
Blu-ray regions

Blu-ray Discs use a much simpler region-code system than DVD with only three regions, labeled A, B and C. As with DVDs many Blu-rays are encoded region 0 (region free), making them suitable for players worldwide.

Region code Area
A The Americas and their dependencies, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia; excludes instances that fall under Region C
B Africa, Middle East, Southwest Asia, most of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and their dependencies; excludes instances that fall under Region C
C Central Asia, mainland China, Mongolia, South Asia, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and their dependencies
FREE Informal term meaning "worldwide". Region free is not an official setting; discs that bear the region FREE symbol either have no flags set or have all three flags set.

Unlike DVD regions, Blu-ray regions are verified only by the player software, not by the computer system or the drive. The region code is stored in a file and/or the registry, and there are hacks to reset the region counter of the player software. In stand-alone players, the region code is part of the firmware.

For bypassing region codes, there are software and multi-regional players available.

A new form of Blu-ray region coding tests not only the region of the player/player software, but also its country code. This means, for example, although both USA and Japan are Region A, some American discs will not play on devices/software installed in Japan or vice versa, since the two countries have different country codes (the United States has 21843 or Hex 5553 ("US" in ASCII, according to ISO 3166-1), and Japan has 19024, or Hex 4a50 ("JP"); Canada has 17217 or Hex 4341 ("CA")). Although there are only three Blu-ray regions, the country code allows a much more precise control of the regional distribution of Blu-ray discs than the six (or eight) DVD regions. In Blu-ray discs, there are no "special regions" such as the regions 7 and 8 in DVDs.

UMD region codes

For the UMD, a disc type used for the PlayStation Portable, UMD movies are region-locked, and use roughly the same regions as DVDs do, but UMD video games are region-free.

Criticism and legal concerns

Region-code enforcement has been discussed as a possible violation of World Trade Organization free trade agreements or competition law.[14] The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned that DVD players that enforce region-coding may violate their Competition and Consumer Act 2010.[15][16][17] Under New Zealand copyright law, DVD region codes and the mechanisms in DVD players to enforce them have no legal protection.[18] The practice has also been criticized by the European Commission[19] which as of 2001 March 14 is investigating whether the resulting price discrimination amounts to a violation of EU competition law.[20]

The only entities that seem to be really benefiting from DVD Region Coding are the movie studios, the marketers of Code-Free DVD players and DVD decrypters. The Washington Post has highlighted how DVD region-coding has been a major inconvenience for travelers who wish to legally purchase DVDs abroad and return with them to their countries of origin, students of foreign languages, immigrants who want to watch films from their homeland and foreign film enthusiasts.[1] Another criticism is that region-coding allows for local censorship. For example, the Region 1 DVD of the 1999 drama film Eyes Wide Shut contains the digital manipulations necessary for the film to secure an MPAA R-rating, whereas these manipulations are not evident in non–region 1 discs.[21]

See also


  1. ^ a b Luh, James C. (June 1, 2001). "Breaking Down DVD Borders". The Washington Post.
  2. ^ Jim Taylor. "DVD FAQ: DVD utilities and region-free information". Dvddemystified.com. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  3. ^ Regional Coding Enhancement FAQ from DVD Talk
  4. ^ "RCE/REA Info". Barrel-of-monkeys.com. Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  5. ^ Michael Demtschyna. "Regional Code Enhancement". Michaeldvd.com.au. Archived from the original on April 9, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  6. ^ "Cheap DVD players come at a cost". The Sydney Morning Herald. May 28, 2007. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
  7. ^ "The DVD Doctors". The Tribal Mind (of The Sydney Morning Herald). March 30, 2005. Retrieved August 22, 2007.
  8. ^ a b Taylor, Jim. "DVD FAQ: Is DVD Video a Worldwide Standard? Does it Work with NTSC, PAL and SECAM?". Dvddemystified.com. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  9. ^ Doom9 on RPC1.
  10. ^ "Rulemaking hearing: Exemptions from prohibitions on circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works" (PDF). May 15, 2003. p. 287, line 18. Retrieved June 1, 2009.
  11. ^ Does VLC support DVDs from all regions?
  12. ^ DVD-Replica Media LLC. "DVD Basic Data Structure Guide". Dvd-replica.com. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  13. ^ "Sony Playstation 2 Region Code". VideoHelp.com. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  14. ^ "Openlaw DVD FAQ". Cyber.law.harvard.edu. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  15. ^ "Restricting DVD's Illegal: ACCC". The Australian IT. March 27, 2001. Retrieved May 11, 2006.
  16. ^ "Consumers in Dark about DVD Imports". Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. December 21, 2000. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  17. ^ "Difficulties Between the Pro-Competitive Community and Intellectual Property (note: open one of the attachments and search for "RPC" to find the relevant section).
  18. ^ Copyright Act 1994 No 143 (as at 01 December 2008) section 226 part b.
  19. ^ "SPEECH/01/275: Content, Competition and Consumers: Innovation and Choice" (Press release). Europa. June 11, 2000. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  20. ^ Probes into Regional DVD Imperils Studio Strategy, Paul Sweeting, Variety, June 3, 2001.
  21. ^ Closed Borders and Open Secrets: Regional Lockout, the Film Industry and Code-Free DVD Players, Brian Hu, Mediascape: Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Vol. 1, Number 2

External links

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3 is a number, numeral, and glyph.

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AD 3, the third year of the AD era

3 BC, the third year before the AD era

March, the third month

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List of Compact Disc and DVD copy protection schemes

This is a list of notable copy protection schemes for CD and DVD.

For other medias, see List of Copy Protection Schemes.


MacTheRipper is a Mac OS X application that enables users to create a playable copy of the contents of a Video DVD by defeating the Content Scramble System. During this process it may optionally modify or disable the DVD region code or the User operation prohibition features of the copied data. The previous lack of an OS X equivalent to the PC software DVDShrink gave this standalone DVD ripper widespread popularity among Macintosh users.

The current public release is version 2.6.6. The latest version, v4.2.7, is available at the MTR-4 forum, which is accessible only after a registration with, and an approval from, an administrator. Even documentation such as pricing (it's no longer free) and the FAQ are locked off.


R6 or R-6 may be:

Line R6, a commuter rail service on the Llobregat–Anoia Line, in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Radial Road 6 or R-6, an arterial road of Manila, Philippines

R6 assault rifle, a South African shortened version of the R4 assault rifle

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Manayunk/Norristown Line (R6 Norristown)

R6: Explosive with or without contact with air, a risk phrase in chemistry

Caudron R.6, a French reconnaissance aircraft of World War I

R6 expressway (Czech Republic), a road in Czech Republic

R6 expressway (Slovakia)

R6, a building under construction as part of the Norwegian Government quarter (Norw. Regjeringskvartalet)

Ross R-6 glider

Tupolev R-6, a Soviet multi- role reconnaissance fighter

USS R-6 (SS-83), a 1919 R-class coastal and harbor defense submarine of the United States Navy

Yamaha YZF-R6, a 600cc Yamaha supersport-class motorcycle

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Rainbow Six, a Tom Clancy video game series and book, is sometimes abbreviated as R6

RACSA (airline) IATA code

Sikorsky R-6 helicopter

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an abbreviation for :

Region 6, the DVD region code for People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, North Korea

receptor 6, the sixth in line of a series of cellular receptors, generally at the end of an acronymR06 may refer to :

HMS Illustrious (R06), a 1976 Invincible-class British Royal Navy light aircraft carrier

ATC code R06 Antihistamines for systemic use, a subgroup of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System

Region 1

Region 1 or Region I can refer to:

Region 1, a DVD region code

Region 1, Northwest Territories

Region 1, one of the health regions of Canada managed by Horizon Health Network

Former Region 1 (Johannesburg), an administrative district in the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, from 2000 to 2006

Region 1, an administrative region in Iran

Tarapacá Region, Chile

Ilocos Region, Philippines

Regional Playback Control

RPC-1 and RPC-2 are designations applied to firmware for DVD drives. Older DVD drives use RPC-1 firmware, which allows DVDs from any region to play. Newer drives use RPC-2 firmware, which enforces DVD region coding at the hardware level. See DVD region code#Computer DVD drives for further information.

Some RPC-2 drives can be converted to RPC-1 with the same features as before by using alternative firmware on the drive, or on some drives by setting a secret flag in the drive's EEPROM.

Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters (traditional Chinese: 正體字/繁體字; simplified Chinese: 正体字/繁体字; Pinyin: Zhèngtǐzì/Fántǐzì) are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century (during the Southern and Northern Dynasties).

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Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau; as well as in Overseas Chinese communities outside Southeast Asia. In contrast, Simplified Chinese characters are used in mainland China, Singapore and Malaysia in official publications. However, several countries – such as Australia, the US and Canada – are increasing their number of printed materials in Simplified Chinese, to better accommodate citizens from mainland China.

The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities. Currently, a large number of overseas Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both character sets.

Trusted client

In computing, a trusted client is a device or program controlled by the user of a service, but with restrictions designed to prevent its use in ways not authorized by the provider of the service. That is, the client is a device that vendors trust and then sell to the consumers, whom they do not trust. Examples include video games played over a computer network or the Content Scramble System (CSS) in DVDs.

Trusted client software is considered fundamentally insecure: once the security is broken by one user, the break is trivially copyable and available to others. As computer security specialist Bruce Schneier states, "Against the average user, anything works; there's no need for complex security software. Against the skilled attacker, on the other hand, nothing works." Trusted client hardware is somewhat more secure, but not a complete solution.Trusted clients are attractive to business as a form of vendor lock-in: sell the trusted client at a loss and charge more than would be otherwise economically viable for the associated service. One early example was radio receivers that were subsidized by broadcasters, but restricted to receiving only their radio station. Modern examples include video recorders being forced by law to include Macrovision copy protection, the DVD region code system and region-coded video game consoles.

Technically knowledgeable consumers and other manufacturers frequently bypass the limiting features of trusted clients — from the simple replacement of the fixed tuning capacitor in the early locked radios to the successful DeCSS cryptographic attack on CSS in 1999. Manufacturers have resorted to legal threats via the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and similar laws to prevent their circumvention, with varying degrees of success. However, the nature of the internet enables any crack that is discovered and published to be virtually impossible to remove.

Trusted computing aims to create computer hardware which assists in the implementation of such restrictions in software, and attempts to make circumvention of these restrictions more difficult.


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