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Life (Blu-ray, UK version) region free?


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#1 of 7 smithb

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Posted September 27 2010 - 03:25 AM

Just wanted to get some clarification on whether the Blu-ray version of Life sold on Amazon UK is region free before purchasing. My guess is that it would be since it is also sold on Amazon US, but I wanted to make sure since it would be harder to return, and I don't know if there is a difference between the two for any reason.

 

On Amazon US it goes for around $57 US while on Amazon UK it is around $27 US shipped. A fairly significant difference in price.



#2 of 7 AndyMcKinney

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Posted September 27 2010 - 06:10 AM

If you're planning on ordering this, make sure your BluRay player and/or TV support 50hz (1080/50i) content.

 

Many US collectors are unaware that even though the NTSC/PAL incompatibility is pretty much a thing of the past, there is a similar incompatibility in the HD world, and it's more difficult to overcome (i.e. not all players can convert it and not all TVs can display it natively).

 

Long story short: American TV shows on HD are often encoded at 1080/60hz (which matches the US refresh rate) and UK television shows are--more often than not--finished in post-production at 1080/50hz (which matches the UK refresh rate).

 

Here is a good thread for you to do your research before buying: http://forum.blu-ray...patibility.html

 

As you'll find, some players can convert the 50hz signal to the 60hz signal our US TVs like, others can play 50hz material, but only if the TV also supports 50hz, others can play and convert, and others can't deal with 50hz material at all. This is one of the big reasons I bought an Oppo (along with its capability of being rendered region/zone free).

 

As a means of shorthand, if you're using the American PS3 to play BluRays, you can forget about importing this title: they are 100% incompatible with 50hz 1080 content.



#3 of 7 smithb

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Posted September 27 2010 - 09:11 AM

Good point. All too often region free capabilities are recommended without always discussing the capabilities of the display device.

I have a Marantz DVD player that is region free that has already allowed me to purchase several DVD's from the UK. Of which I output as PAL to my Sony VPL-HW10 projector instead of having it converted to NTSC. One of the caveats of the player is that the PAL -> NTSC conversion is only available from the component and not the HDMI connectors.

 

I probably should have listed my capabilities as well. My projector can output both NTSC and PAL 1080 native. I also have the Oppo 83, which I assumed would be okay based on Oppo's reputation for PAL/NTSC support. However, as stated, DVD and Blu-ray support can be different based on the stiffer restrictions. I wasn't planning on making my Oppo region free, which is part of my reasoning for trying to find out if the "Life" UK disk is region locked.

 

Does anyone know if the BBC version of "Life" sold in the US is any different then the one sold in the UK from a region locking perspective?



#4 of 7 AndyMcKinney

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Posted September 27 2010 - 09:25 AM

Since you have an Oppo, you are indeed fine equipment-wise. It is on hte shortlist of players that can not only output 1080/50i natively, but can also convert it to 1080/60 if the TV can't handle 50hz signals.

 

You might still want to check out that thread I mentioned. I know when I was doing my research on the topic that one of the big points of discussion was the "Life" disc. Might also help to check Amazon.co.uk's review section for the title. I know for "Being Human", there were reviews there from the US saying "it won't work in my player" etc.

 

I don't think it's region-locked, though. I seem to remember someone saying that the 2|entertain logo screen, etc. played okay, then it just went blank on them (rather than a "wrong zone" message).



#5 of 7 CraigF

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Posted September 27 2010 - 09:53 AM

Life is fine with the Oppo BDP-83, but not with the (R1) PS3. Besides those I also have a region-free no-name BDP and it plays in that regardless if I have it set to A/B/C (there is no "all region" setting like for DVDs) so I assume Life isn't region-locked. Pretty much just repeating what you guys already said...Posted Image

 

Edit: to clarify, I was speaking of the UK BD version of Life.



#6 of 7 smithb

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Posted September 27 2010 - 09:56 AM

Thanks for confirming some of the details of the Oppo, I didn't really check through it's capabilities that closely. I was able to find more details of the UK disk across a few sites and it does appear to be region free 1080/50i, so it should work fine for me. Now it is quite possible that the US version is 1080/60i since many that had problems playing the UK version on a US PS3 did not have problems with the US BBC version of Life. In any case, I'm fine with the 1080/50i UK version with the cost savings.



#7 of 7 AndyMcKinney

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Posted September 27 2010 - 03:38 PM


 

Originally Posted by smithb 

Thanks for confirming some of the details of the Oppo, I didn't really check through it's capabilities that closely. I was able to find more details of the UK disk across a few sites and it does appear to be region free 1080/50i, so it should work fine for me. Now it is quite possible that the US version is 1080/60i since many that had problems playing the UK version on a US PS3 did not have problems with the US BBC version of Life. In any case, I'm fine with the 1080/50i UK version with the cost savings.


Yes, the US version would be 1080/60 to make it compatible for the American market. All UK releases that are encoded 1080/50 are 'standards-converted' (for lack of a better term) to 1080/60 (Stephen Fry in America,  the individual Doctor Who: Series Five volumes and Being Human are some examples).

 

Unfortunately for the UK market--and those with 50hz-compatible TVs--the BBC have sometimes cut corners witih series they expected to 'export' well worldwide by refusing to make separete 50hz masters for the UK/Australian markets, meaning that British consumers actually end up with an inferior product to what was on their terrestrial HD broadcasts. In those instances (all BD releases of Torchwood and the Doctor Who: The Specials boxset are examples), the UK and US editions are identical in video quality worldwide.






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