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Enhanced Regional Coding


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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   dcaconnolly

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Posted May 09 2001 - 07:45 AM

Outside the US/Canada there is a significant but small demand for R1 DVD. They are often (but by no means always) available slightly earlier than the local versions (in my case R3) but for the mass market in Asia they will never be popular because of the lack of Asian script subtitles. So why do Columbia Tristar use 'Enhanced' Regional Coding? The latest two examples are Finding Forrester and All The Pretty Horses. They won't play on most all-code machines, including those used in the US/Canada. So the more broadminded/enthusiastic DVD users in the US are disadvantaged just as much as we Asians. What's more, the VHS versions of these titles are priced up to $80 more than the DVD, for the rental market. I could buy an extra R1 DVD player for $150 to play just these discs, but I don't see how Columbia Tristar benefits from this. It seems to me they don't understand the reality of the mass markets outside Region 1, which need the R3 version for subtitles in Asia, and are shooting themselves in the foot by disadvantaging not just us Asians but maybe also the most avid supporters of DVD in the US/Canada. Is this something (like DIVX or anamorphic) that the studios need to hear about from us users? Are there users in the US who are equally disturbed by this development?
David

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   Matt_Stevens

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Posted May 09 2001 - 09:54 AM

The studios have a financial interest in keeping the regions apart. They do not want releases from one country canabilizing the releases in another country. Columbia lost a lot of region 1 sales when they released the region 3 CROUCHING TIGER with ENglish subtitles & dubbing.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   dcaconnolly

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Posted May 10 2001 - 08:22 AM

Just a moment - the studios should get essentially the same income from an R3 disc as an R1 disc, so it's the distributors who MIGHT be upset, not the studios. In the case of Crouching Tiger it was released on R3 very early, while still playing in the theatres, which was a surprise to me. But that was the studio/distributor decision and it may have hurt the distributors in theatre and R1 sales, but surely not the studio? At present,'Enhanced' Regional Coding only exists on R1 discs and my point is that this is hurting US DVDphiles who can't watch them, as well as us in Asia and elsewhere. The studio doesn't win with ERC, though some distributors might get a small benefit. Maybe the long term answer here is to better synchronise release dates across countries, as in the music world, so that customers can get what they prefer simultaneously - the local disc with the appropriate subtitles. But meanwhile, ERC is bad for consumers and of little value to the studios.
David

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   andrew markworthy

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Posted May 10 2001 - 10:31 AM

I note from the number of previous posts that you're a relative newcomer to the forum. I don't mean this with any hint of criticism at all, but this particular discussion crops up every couple of months (no bad thing, because manufacturers do read this forum, and they may eventually start paying attention to the important point you've raised). I think the consensus view is that we generally agree that regional coding is a bad thing. The only way for it not to be a bad thing is if the release dates for movies are the same (more or less) around the world, with the same movie (i.e. no censorship differences) and with comparable extras in every region (at the moment, R2 really gets stung in this department, though there are signs at last of some improvement). I don't think anyone would object to being forced to buy from their own region if these were the circumstances. However, the ridiculous state of affairs where DVDs have radically different release dates and extras in different regions guarantees that non-R1 users will continue to buy from R1. An I agree about Region Coding Enhancement - a lot of players (mine included) aren't affected by it, so it just discriminates against people who have bought one of a particular range of players.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   dcaconnolly

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Posted May 10 2001 - 05:21 PM

Andrew, Thanks for your comments and support. Actually I have no problem with Regional coding, because it's a sensible way to deal with the massive number of subtitled languages worldwide. What I am concerned about is the new RCE 'feature' that Columbia are using on a few R1 titles, and which doesn't seem to make sense. So let's hope they read this! David
David




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