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The DVD Region Coding and its Technical Implemenation

Info by Technokrat | 24/04/2014 at 15:19

Every DVD has a so called Region Coding, Country Code or Regional Lockout. The device manufacturers and the film industry together have developed this code to ensure that DVDs can be sold to different times in different countries all over the world without that it is possible for example, to play a DVD in the USA that was purchased in Europe.

8 Different Region Lockouts

All in all, there are eight different regional codes that are listed in the following table.

Code Region
1USA, Canada, Bermuda, Caribbean, US-Territories
2West- and Middle Europe (including French Overseas territories and Greenland), South Africa, Egypt and Middle East, Japan
3Taiwan Southeast Asia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines, Macau
4Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Central America, South America, Papua New Guinea and much of Oceania
5Russia and other countries of the former USSR, Eastern Europe, India, Pakistan and other countries of Asia and Africa (except Egypt and South Africa)
6China
7Reserved for future use, sometimes used for press samples and test purposes
8International venues such as aircraft, ships, spacecraft

Technical Implementation of the Regional Codings

The Regional Codings are stored in the file VIDEO_TS > VMG > VIDEO_TS.IFO (table VMGM_MAT) in the byte at offset 35. Depending on the Region Lockout, the bits of this byte are set differently:

Region CodeBits
11111 1110
21111 1101
31111 1011
41111 0111
51110 1111
61101 1111
71011 1111
80111 1111

In the case, a DVD should support multiple region codes, more than one bit has not to be set. For instance 1111 1100 to support both, region 1 as well as region 2.

Region Free DVDs

According to the DVD specification, also so called region free DVDs has to have the byte containing the regional lockout. Sometimes, the region free DVDs are referred to as Region 0 DVDs.

Accordingly, when having a region free DVD, all of the 8 bits are not set. The critical byte would be 0000 0000. However, there are also DVDs that are tagged as region free that are only supporting region 1 to 6. In this case, the critical byte is 1100 0000.

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