HD DVD currently has no region coding scheme whatsoever implemented (although I've heard one is being planned for the future). The titles linked to in this thread will play in all HD DVD players currently available in North America.
A number of the titles being released in the UK are ether allready released here or going to be by december. There was only one title that is not on the release schedule here that I want. (The Crow)
Maybe I might pickup that title once there is some more information available on it. Like what surround formats are available on the disc and if its a VC-1 encoded disc. And maybe I might look for a review to check if the quality of the disc is good or bad.
This is a fairly large concern of mine. What if somebody such as myself was to import discs from the US to the UK. They'd play now - sure. But what if some clever sod decides to engage region coding in 12 months time? Or I upgrade my player in 2-3 years time to a machine that IS region coded? Will that affect the imported discs I'd already bought? Or would they continue to play fine? This would affect users in the US who import films from the UK too.
I'm guessing it *shouldn't* have an effect and, even if they do, I'm sure region-hacking won't be too far away. But I wouldn't put anything past these people...
I'm just speculating, but since the current software titles themselves do not have any region coding, any such region-free software you imported from the US or elsewhere should continue to play even though a later-model player you bought had implemented region coding in the firmware.
But here's another scenario. What might happen if you try and play a future region-coded disc on an existing un-regionalised player? Is the player likely to mis-read the coding on the disc as an incompatable region and refuse to play it? I'm just speculating here you understand...
I will have no problem getting HD-DVD's form other regions then as long as I can player them on my player. Its only a matter of if its a title that I can not currently purchase here and if its a version that includes DTS-HD or Dolby True HD when a version here in the US does not include them.
I wish I had a definitive answer to this question. Currently, HD DVD is the format that would better suit my purposes due to the absence of region coding, but I hesitate buying into it since the region-free future is uncertain.
Resurrecting this thread to provide a link to a thread over at AV Forums where a podcast featuring an interview with a Toshiba representative is being discussed. I'm downloading this podcast and haven't listened to it yet, but reportedly Toshiba is saying that the first-generation European players, at least, will not be upgradable to support region coding via firmware updates.