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Why Buy a Multi-Region DVD Player? More Options Become Open to You

By Edited Mar 6, 2014 3 3

Multi-Region DVD Players are Essential

Standard DVD Players Just Aren't Versatile Enough

For Watching Movies and TV Shows from ANY Other Country

There are quite a few reasons why you should consider buying a multi-region DVD player. Do you want to watch the best foreign films, movies and DVDs from around the world? Do you want to view DVDs from any locale around the world? If the answer to these questions is yes, then read on. You will find that a multi-region DVD player is a must-have item in many homes for several important reasons.

A few format basics pertinent to all-region DVD players need to be understood first. In short, all DVD players and all DVD movies are region-coded by country or by a specified geographic region. DVD movies and standard DVD players are set for one region code only, making the playback of another country’s DVD release or region-coded movies impossible. This is because standard DVD players are set to playback only DVDs encoded for the region in which the players are sold.

For Viewing From More DVD Regions and for Watching Both PAL and NTSC DVDs

Similarly, DVDs and DVD players are generally either formatted in either the NTSC or PAL format.  These DVD formats also vary by geographic region. If you live in a country that uses the NTSC broadcast standard, you cannot play PAL DVD discs on any standard NTSC DVD player.

DVD Region Map - Understanding Multi-Region DVD Player Benefits

Why Buy a Multi-Region DVD Player?

DVDs and DVD players sold in the US and Canada are coded Region 1 and use the NTSC format.  There are 6 various DVD regions for designated geographic regions or countries.  DVDs from the UK use the PAL format and are coded Region 2 and so on.  DVD region maps, for more information, can easily be found by doing a simple Google search. For every commercial and legally distributed DVD sold worldwide, the region is noted on the DVD case usually on the back side of the case. 

If you live in the US, you can only play a PAL DVD on an all-region DVD player. A standard US NTSC DVD player also cannot play a PAL DVD because standard NTSC players only support NTSC video signals. Solve both the region and format systems problems by buying a multi-region DVD player to play movies titles sold in any worldwide region and to play DVDs in either the NTSC or PAL DVD format.

For More Available Movies, More Buying Options and to Save Money

Here’s yet another reason to purchase one of these versatile machines. Purchase a multi-region DVD player to save money on DVD movie titles available for sale for less money in another country or on another country’s online website. Amazon.co.uk, for example, will occasionally have a better price on DVDs sold into the UK market than the same DVDs sold on Amazon.com.  A good example is a great BBC drama entitled North & South that is available for sale in the US and in the UK on both the US and UK Amazon sites. However, the UK region 2 copy of the DVD, even with the expense of the exchange rate, postage and VAT fees, costs about half the price of the film’s US region 1 DVD on Amazon.com. There are many, excellent region 2 DVD movies from the UK to watch and enjoy.

Not all movies will be released for sale in all DVD regions around the world. A film or TV distributor may not license a particular film or television show for sale in every country or region around the world.

For Impatient Fans That Just Can’t Wait to Watch or Catch Up

Here’s another fact.  If you wish to watch movies or the best foreign films not yet released in your home country or if you want to watch a movie that is currently released on DVD in another country, and it might be a year or more before that same DVD is even available for sale in your own region, you can take advantage of having an all-region DVD player to buy DVDs released elsewhere and enjoy DVDs sooner rather than later.

Many fans are impatient when it comes to waiting for DVD releases for their favorite TV series like Heartland for instance. This top TV show in Canada is already in its fifth season, however US audiences and other fans around the world are just able to view the first few broadcast seasons of the program on either on television or on DVD. For fans that just can’t wait to see the TV shows they are watching with keen interest and for those that wish to watch all the available episodes as soon as possible, these fans are able to use their region-free DVD players to do just that and catch up on their shows and their respective storylines all that much more quickly.

For Alternate Versions, Bonus Content and Extended Versions of Your Favorite Movies

When there are multiple version of films out on DVD and when another country's DVDs have additional scenes, deleted scenes or bonus features not available for sale or included in your domestic region, you will need a multi-region player to view these scenes and bonus content after you have bought the film for sale from another country.

Buy a Cheap Multi-Region DVD Player
Multi-region players can be bought inexpensively. I found one on Craigslist for $15. Amazon.com also sells many good multi-region players for under $50. Naturally, the prices of these machines vary and players can cost $100 dollars or more for high-end region-free models. However, the price for most region-free players is very reasonable and not at all cost prohibitive. 

It's thrilling to realize that you will now be able to view alternate versions or extended versions of movies that you enjoy which are not otherwise for sale where you live. One example, for me, is being able to watch missing scenes not available to U.S. consumers for the Australian film, The Man from Snowy River.  Only the Australian region 4 DVD release of this movie has a key scene, a wedding scene, for the two main characters. This pivotal scene for many fans was not shown in theaters in the U.S. nor included on the US or UK DVDs of this movie. Many other numerous films also have alternate versions for sale in other countries.

For Fewer Bulky Home Entertainment Components in Your Home

Eliminate the need for more than one DVD deck by buying an all-region DVD player which will play DVDs from your own region, those from any other another region and for multiple regions via just one DVD machine. One less home entertainment component in your system to hook-up, operate and maintain is a big plus.

To Avoid Having to Buy Your Collection of Movies All Over Again

Also avoid the need to re-purchase or buy your favorite movies on DVD in another format should you ever take a job or move overseas and where the country you will be residing in uses another broadcast standard. As mentioned earlier, the US uses the NTSC format. If you move to Europe for instance, the PAL DVD format and the use of PAL video signals are the norm and standard for many European countries.

Simply watch your collection of movies you have already purchased in your new home country on your region-free player.

As a side note to buying a multi-region player, make sure to buy one with the proper voltage or dual voltage options for use in not just one but several countries around the world. As an added bonus, you will also then be able to bring your region-free machine back to the country you depart from and more easily return there later with all the belongings you have already purchased.

To Broaden Your Exposure to Many More Great Movies and International Films

Relocation aside, enjoy and increase your overall film watching habits to include some fantastic International films that you might not ordinarily get to watch along with the ability to greatly expand your buying options by owning an all-region DVD player.

Don’t be so constrained by domestic retailers, DVD prices, release dates or even DVD content or the lack of it. Make it possible to play more formats, to watch the best foreign films and view more available movie titles with a multi-region DVD player. You will discover that owning a multi-region DVD player will become essential to your enjoyment of your DVDs. What new movies that you have never seen, will you view first and enjoy with a multi-region DVD player? Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Related article on saving money on DVDs:

How I Find Great Deals and Locate Lower Prices for DVD Movies And New Blu-ray Releases



Jan 30, 2012 2:26pm
I don't really understand why there exist multiple DVD regions? It just doesn't really make sense to me on the surface. Still, having a multi-region DVD player is pretty vital; especially if you are like me and into independent and foreign movies and shows. Good work on this article by the way! Thumbs up for you!
Mar 2, 2012 12:13am
Great info. Being from Scotland I have had need for a multi-region format for quite some time. Almost all DVD players actually have the capability, and there are hacks than you can punch into the remote to unlock the function. I have had a multi-region DVD player for as long as I can remember, but never actually bought it that way.
Mar 2, 2012 12:22am
They are indispensable as far as I am concerned. I have quite a few R2 movies in addition to my US region 1 titles and I have two R4 movies as well. It's great to be able to view extra scenes that are not on domestic releases. Thank you both for your comments.
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