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Blu-Ray Players and Blu-Ray Discs Region Codes – What Does This Mean?
Blu-ray players are manufactured to play only certain discs authorized for a specific geographic region. It is very similar to region codes for DVDs, but instead of using numbers, Blu-ray uses the letters A, B, and C to differentiate between regions. You can usually tell which region your player is in by looking at the bottom of the player or in the instruction manual. The three different regions are distributed as follows:
Region A – This region encompasses almost all of North, Central, and South America, as well as Southeast Asian countries, including the Republic of China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, Japan, and Korea.
Region B – This region includes most of Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia, as well as New Zealand and Australia.
Region C – This region covers the remaining Central and South Asian countries, including Russia and the People’s Republic of China.
In particle terms, this means that if you have a Blu-ray movie disc with region code A, you will need a region A player to view the movie. The reason behind region codes is to allow movie providers, producers or movie studios to regulate different content, release dates, prices, etc. for each region. However, while gamers are required to support region coding, content providers are not. There is even a current trend of movie studios producing region-free discs so that they can be played on any player, regardless of their region code.
Film studios such as Universal and Paramount Pictures have released their films region-free. Sony and Warner Bros. also released most of their movies for free. Walt Disney and Lionsgate tend to have a mix of region-free and region-coded movie releases. Whereas MGM and Twentieth Century movies almost always come out with region codes.
Region-free Blu-ray discs sound great, but there are some factors you need to be aware of. Most discs have additional standard resolution features. Things like director interviews, deleted or extra scenes and trailers. These additional features can be in NTSC or PAL. So, if you are in a PAL-based region, you may not be able to access NTSC-recorded features on the disc. Another thing to look for is subtitles in your language.
Multi-Region Blu-Ray Players
Multi-region Blu-ray players are capable of playing all 3 regions, A, B and C. These players do not need a PAL-NSTC TV to watch Blu-ray discs. Any normal TV with HDMI inputs can display movies without the need for a converter box. There should be no issues with video standards, with 50/60Hz, resolution, voltage, etc. Some region-free Blu-ray players:
– Oppo BDP-83
– Oppo BDP-80
– Sony BDPS1000ES
-Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD
– Pioneer BDP-120
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