DVD region codes are today the most active digital-rights management on DVD media. Region code technique is created on the first years of worldwide DVD releases. Codes are mainly setting by film distributors. Main aim is controlling information like content, price and release date. Control is making by DVD player’s software and The American DVD Copy Control Association is controlling DVD player manufacturers for production of coded DVD players. System’s main name is regional-playback control and it’s known as RPC. DVD’s mostly use one region code but there are also multi code DVDs. How many DVD regions are there?
Today there are six official DVD regions. Also there are two informal DVD regions. DVD players are mostly region locked but today it’s possible to find region-free DVD players in the market. Also some modifications are possible to turning players to region free.
One of the informal codes in DVD region code system is 0. 0 mainly means “worldwide” but it’s not official. In some DVD’s 0 means “Region Free” but also there are some DVD’s with 0 that means locked to special usage.
Region 1 in DVD Region code system is United States. It also includes Canada, U.S. territories and Bermuda. Bermuda joined Region 1 after some controversies about copyright protection problems.
Region 2 in DVD Region code system includes Europe mainly. After Region 2’s release problems, system rejected join of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine to Region 2. Countries and areas like Middle East, Japan, South Africa and Greenland is in the Region 2. After France’s request, French Overseas departments and territories also added to them.
Region 3 in DVD region code system includes Southeast Asia countries like South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. DVD releases with Region 3 code is very rare because companies mostly prefer to release DVD of these region in China DVD code.
Region 4 was including Mexico and South America in first release. But today it’s possible to find Central America countries in it. Companies added Australia and New Zealand into this region code after 2000s.
Region 5 DVD code is including the biggest area. Main country in this code releases is India. Also countries like Bangladesh, Russia, North Korea and South Asia are included in this region. Companies always find this region some problematic because of copy and similar situations. Region 6 is including only China but release companies mostly use Region 6 for some other countries.
Region 7 DVD region code is not using now and it’s registered as “Reserved for future use”. Sometimes it’s possible to see Region 7 DVD code for MPAA-related DVDs. Also some pre-releases in Asia use this region code.
Region code 8 is using for cruise ships, aircraft and similar vehicles. Today usage of Region code 8 is not frequents but some big flight companies’ use this code.
Region Code “All” means DVD can be played on all regions. Also Baltic States use two regions codes on 2 and 5. Hong Kong was using Region 3 but some political changes also changed their region code to 6.
Standalone DVD players include a special firmware for accessing region codes but it’s possible to unlock region locked DVD players with entering unlock code from remote control.
Computer DVD drivers also use region-lock system. Their firmware is called RPC-1 and RPC-2. RPC-1 is for old DVD systems and today computer DVD drives use RPC-2 firmware. RPC-2 firmware is released after RPC-1 firmware is hacked and RPC-2 wants hardware lock control. But it’s possible to downgrade RPC-2 software to RPC-1 software. Some computer DVD players allow to change region code for 5 times.