Do burned DVDs work cross region?
April 23, 2014 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Will a DVD burned with Windows DVD Maker on my PC in the US work in DVD players in the EU?

I go to a bunch of trade shows every year around the US. I give out a 1-hour DVD (that I burn myself on a spare Win 7 machine) that contains 6 ten-minute video clips that can be navigated to through the DVDs root graphic menu. Works 100%. Never had a complaint.

Will that same DVD work if I give it to someone in the EU, specifically, Germany.

I am heading to a trade show there next month and thought I might like to bring a couple dozen, but I won't if they won't work :-)

If they wont, is there anything I can do before burning new ones to make them work?

Thanks in advance, gang!
posted by sandra_s to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Your home-made DVDs are region-free, so there's no problem there.
posted by pipeski at 4:34 PM on April 23, 2014

Yes. Region-free, sometimes called Region 0.

There's an unlikely catch that they may not be playable in some players; not all older players support both DVD-R and DVD+R, but it's rare these days to encounter that. Leave your contact information with anyone you give the DVD to and they can contact you for a replacement... but you're probably already doing that.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:08 PM on April 23, 2014

Probably. The US uses one video standard (NTSC) and EU uses another (PAL). However, nearly all EU DVD players play PAL and NTSC and can perform a standards conversion on-the-fly to display NTSC on PAL televisions.

The absolute best thing you can do is mail a disc burned in the US to Germany ahead of time and have a confederate confirm it plays on a number of players in-country.

I've worked on commercial discs for both US and EU distribution. If you need a bulletproof solution for Germany, MeMail me and we can talk about it.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:11 PM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your home-made DVDs are region-free, so there's no problem there.
Not necessarily - while the canonical region info for a disk is contained in a pressed header/lead-in part of the disk (i.e. it's not available for writing on a burned disk), non-canonical copies are also present in the VIDEO_TS.IFO & associated BUP file (offset 0x23?).

On writeable DVDs the pressed-in canonical region info is typically set to region-free, but the non-canonical copies can be set by the authoring software. There's a small - but not insignificant - number of DVD players, particularly very cheap ones, that ignore the canonical "pressed" info in the disk lead-in/header, and rely on the non-canonical "burned" region info copies in the VIDEO_TS.IFO file.

That said, AFAIK (though it's been a while since I played with it) Windows DVD Maker sets those copies as "region free" - though theres still the video format issue to be aware of. I agree with infinitewindow; NTSC-land to PAL-land is usually OK since multi-standard players & TVs have long been the norm outside the US, but if possible mail a copy ahead of time to make sure it works on their hardware.
posted by Pinback at 9:51 PM on April 23, 2014

Most likely:

- Use DVD-R media instead of DVD+R. I'm not even sure if they sell +R anymore (it's been years since I bought any media), but -R is more compatible. +R discs won't work at all on Macs, for example.

- European DVD players and TVs are usually compatible with NTSC, so you're fine there. If you're worried about this you can always convert your video to PAL (depending on the sophistication of your encoding/authoring software) and burn it that way.

- Region locking should not be a problem, assuming your authoring software doesn't do some weirdness like Pinback describes.

- You're giving these out? Lots of people will probably just play them on their PC anyways.
posted by neckro23 at 3:55 AM on April 24, 2014

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