DVD Recordings playable in Europe?
May 5, 2005 11:29 AM   Subscribe

I understand that I can transfer my home movies to DVD by using a dvd recorder. But can those dvd's then be played by my European friends on the DVD players or pc they've purchased in Europe? I know that movies have to be played in the zones they're coded for - or I should say, on a player accepting that code. I guess what I'm asking is if CD-R's and DVD-R's are zone coded like movie dvd's are? Thanks!
posted by LadyBonita to Technology (7 answers total)
Most software that allows you to copy DVDs, like CloneDVD2 or DVDxCopy remove region encoding as they go along. So unless you're leaving the coding on on purpose you should be fine.

I know for sure that this product removes region encoding, allowing you to burn the movies to disk with Nero or similar with no problems
posted by tiamat at 11:38 AM on May 5, 2005

I'm not sure that your home movies will have a region code. You may not have to worry about this. You need to be concerned more about PAL vs. NTSC encoding. The encoding in the US and, I believe, Japan is NTSC, while most of Europe is PAL. There are differences in these frequencies that prohibit viewing one type on a television of the other type, without special equipment.
posted by xorowo at 11:46 AM on May 5, 2005

Xorowo is right. Home movies won't have a region code but you could be tripped up by the NTSC / PAL thing. That said, most TVs and I believe DVD players in Europe play NTSC standard as well as PAL. Ask your friends first to be sure.

It doesn't work the other way though - most of the standard TVs and players in US don't play PAL.
posted by gfrobe at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2005

If it gives you a zone option, region 0 is regionless. I would assume regionless is the default for consumer DVD recorders. The purpose of zones is to allow distributors to break the free market and price fix (though the PR spin is anti-piracy), and consumers generally have no use for that and plenty of reason not to use it. I would have thought it's a safe bet that you can create something regionless, but I don't know whether it's universally the default setting.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2005

To elaborate on what gfrobe said:

Your US home movie will be in NTSC. Your friends in Europe watch in PAL. Most European DVD players will play both NTSC and PAL. All European TVs will play both NTSC and PAL, because all TVs are made NTSC, and then a PAL converter is added for the European market. That's why you can't watch a PAL signal in the US - because US TVs don't have the converter.

Also, region coding is a tool for territorizing DVD releases by the studios, thus it does not effect home movies.
posted by forallmankind at 12:23 PM on May 5, 2005

All European TVs will play both NTSC and PAL, because all TVs are made NTSC, and then a PAL converter is added for the European market.

This isn't the case. There are dedicated PAL televisions as well as multi-system televisions that accept both PAL and NTSC signals. Dedicated, PAL-only televisions are still sold. All TVs aren't made NTSC and then converted.

That's why you can't watch a PAL signal in the US - because US TVs don't have the converter.

You can purchase a multi-system television in the US, just like you can in the UK -- they're just not common because there historically hasn't been a lot of imported content. But they're often found in places where imported content is common, like universities, and in the homes of individuals who travel frequently overseas.

But here's the deal -- that's all moot if you have a multi-system DVD player. Many multi-system DVD players can output PAL to an NTSC TV, or NTSC to PAL, and they're commonly found both in the US and overseas. My Philips player plays region-free PAL discs on my NTSC set without a hitch out of the box, and players in the UK can do the reverse. Many players even have little NTSC/PAL logos to indicate they can do the conversion.

LadyBonita: since multi-system DVD players are common in Europe, you can assume that it's likely they'd be able to play the disc, but it's not guaranteed. You can also author the disc in PAL using many DVD authoring packages, which would get around the problem as well (but would be slightly inconvenient if you're burning multiple copies of the home movies.)
posted by eschatfische at 2:02 PM on May 5, 2005

Response by poster: I have the Philips, too, love it. Thanks all for the explanations and answers.
posted by LadyBonita at 3:21 PM on May 5, 2005

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