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What are RegionCodes ?

In a nutshell:
Regioncodes is used by the film industry for commercial purposes.

The tricks seems to be (there is no other technical or anyway sane reason) that movies are not available at the same time all over the world.

For example, the latest Star Wars movie might be available on DVD in the USA (region 1) but the movie is still active in the cinema's in the Netherlands (region 2). Usually there is a time gap of about 2 to 3 months.

Note: We have made an improved version of this article available at Tweaking4All.com.


Fan's being not THAT patient, order their DVD via the Web and get the DVD before the movie is even in the cinema.

Wow! MPAA most have thought,... we're gonna lose a bundle of money on that !

Weird enough, they didn't work on a more safe plan (ie. publishing movies world-wide at the same time), but decided to invent something pretty stupid... regioncodes.

A movie for region 1, as mentioned in the example, therefor should not be playable on a region 2 player.

Excuses like TV-system (PAL for Region 3 and NTSC for region 1) or subtitles did not stop DVD fanatics. They decided to "hack" the regioncode. And guess what: to reduce production costs, most DVD players are capable of doing both NTSC and PAL.

Playback of a region code 1 was just a matter of authentication since video did not seem to be a problem. So the next logical step was to "hack" this authentication. As with all encryption, protection, etc, this was just a matter of time. Regioncodes, in most players, can be changed without too much effort.

Good examples for even more advanced tricks are DeCSS, MulitMod, DVDGenie, etc... all very usefull tools for DVD users, enabling the user to even copy the entire DVD and strip the movie from regioncode and even macrovision. Sometimes, a hacked firmware version can do the trick too.

So what region do I live in ?

Take a look the map below and locate your current position ...

Regioncodes used for DVD





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