Region 1 DVDs - only played in USA?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan_M_M, Sep 6, 2001.

  1. Ryan_M_M

    Ryan_M_M Stunt Coordinator

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    In the UK and Europe, R1 DVD titles are widely owned and readily available, as are the players, but why in the states is it a problem to find a reasonable cheap priced DVD player that plays PAL DVDs? There seems to be problems with US TVs being suited to the PAL signal. Is some US manufacturers generally ignorant that many US folks do want to be able to Play PAL DVDs without it costing them a bomb?
     
  2. Sarah S

    Sarah S Second Unit

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    Currently, the tv manufacturers do not perceive a demand for tvs that convert a pal signal. Since it is considered a niche market, people pay niche market prices. If hordes of people were to suddenly want to have pal converters, then the price would go down. Many people in the US (myself included) do not consider it to be "necessary" and are happy with the entertainment options available.
     
  3. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Frankly, most Americans are oblivious to the world around them, at least when it comes to entertainment. This is why subtitled films are shunned (except crouching tiger) and those that do make it are often dubbed, edited and homogonized to fit what the marketers think is what the "customer wants"
    I can count on 1 hand the number of domestic retailers that carry non-Region 1 DVDs, and even in the high-end HT stores, I've never seen a dual-standard TV.
    I did ask one manufacturer (JVC) why they just didn't leave the ability in there. I was told that it made it cheaper to produce. If anyone here wants to watch PAL DVDs, they can aquire an HK DVD player that converts, or there are $300 boxes that do it as well. INCREDIBLY annoying
    Jeff Kleist
    [Edited last by Jeff Kleist on September 06, 2001 at 11:35 PM]
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    In the U.K. and Europe the home video industry took off later than that in the U.S. So by the time the VCR was ready to really move into homes there was already a huge catalog of NTSC video tapes available on this side of the Atlantic. That created instant demand for NTSC playback ability. In addition Hollywood is still the movie capital of the world, and still produces the films most in demand elsewhere. U.S. demand for foreign films is much lower, and the ones that are such huge hits overseas that they come to the attention of U.S. audiences are invariably released in NTSC domestic editions.
    What was true of VHS tape is still true in the age of DVD. There was never much demand in the U.S. for PAL, so there is no market for it. (Nor is there in Cananda - which is also NTSC and where multistandard video equipment is also rarer than hen's teeth - so let's stop beating up on the insular, ignorant Americans, shall we?.)
    I doubt that foreign language films do significantly better in the U.K. outside of London, or in France outside of Paris, than they do outside of New York and Los Angeles in the U.S. It isn't so much that the Europeans are generally "more open" to non-domestic cinema in each country, it is that they are specifically interested in U.S. titles. They want to see American movies. So do most Americans. [​IMG])
    Supply and demand fellas. If there ain't no demand, there isn't going to be much supply.
    Regards,
    Joe
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  5. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    I believe that TV's in the US are indeed quite a bit cheaper than they are here, too. Adding PAL capability to them would mean nothing to the vast majority of americans but the increased cost probably would.
    Over here in Finland, many of the people I know who are into DVD buy the vast majority of their DVD titles directly via the Internet, and most of those are R1's. Why? R1's come out sooner, usually have more or better extras and hardly ever has forced subtitling or lack 5.1 mixes.
    In R2 that is not necessarily the case; in Sweden a while ago they even released Titan AE in Pro Logic - and the soundtrack on the R1 is in both DD 5.1 or DTS and is frequently mentioned as a reference track for really putting your sub through its paces.
    Oh, and I save a great deal of money buying R1's over R2's too! Something is weird when it is cheaper to buy a product halfway across the globe and even with shipping - you save!
    I'm straying off the issue, but I believe the situation is vastly different here as compared to living in the US. Most american consumers probably don't feel any need whatsoever to look beyond the US borders to find their entertainment, whereas we here in Europe do. For me it's not so much about catalog titles as it is about getting newly released movies with great quality and better prices than I can locally.
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    /Kimmo
     
  6. DannyS

    DannyS Second Unit

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    I agree! the majority of US discs are vastly superior extras wise and sometime the prints are better too. The UK is s l o w l y catching on in the "how should we produce good quality DVD"? stakes. My collection of 100 discs is 40 % UK 60% US
    The only thing that sometimes throws a disc for me is the extra pal resolution. But then wiegh that up with sped up sound.... ARGH!
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    Panasonic TX-21M2T TV
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    Old Panasonic Stereo! :)
     
  7. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    I can't really notice the sound speed up. It's noticeable on music if you play them both and compare but for speech it really matters very little (try recording some on the computer and applying a 4% speed up to see).
    Conversely the pulldown effect of NTSC, much more than the resolution, makes me go for PAL. One day I will have Progressive Scan to get round pulldown I suppose but not today or soon even!
    I think the point has been made, however. Europe and Britain specifically represents the most expensive place in the world to buy goods. I suggest you take a look at something like www.pricerunner.co.uk and see how much we have to pay for things.
    There are many R1 editions that are the best. Even when they are superceded it tends to only be where the R1 edition was an original DVD and then a massive SE comes along to set things back as they were.
    Additionally there are titles like Die Hard With A Vengeance that aren't own by Fox outside the U.S. so it's unlikely we'll ever see the extras on that film you guys got.
    Oh and don't forget the many varied issues with our censors. There are plenty of movies out there that could be released uncut but the studio decides they want a lower rating so we get stuck with a tonne of cuts. Bleugh!
    The most recent slap in the face has been Fox's outrageous decision to charge the U.S. customer $40 for The Simpsons but the UK customer £40!!! Go to www.play247.com and you can grab the U.S. version for £18 quid but the UK can only be dropped down to £33.
    Incidentally, I'm intrigued by the idea that there are shops on the U.S. that see R2-6 DVDs. Over here it is illegal and the only way to get them is through mailorder, risking customs duty if it exceeds the 18 pound minimum.
    Phew. Rant over, I think. :)
    Theo
     
  8. Doug Bull

    Doug Bull Advanced Member

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    What hasn't been mentioned is the fact that a large number of important American Region 1 Widescreen DVDs are NON ANAMORPHIC.
    In most cases these same titles feature STUNNING ANAMORPHIC TRANSFERS in the so called non important Pal Region 2 and 4 Countries.
    You will also find that there are some American films, not to mention TV Programs that are only available on DVD in other countries.
    That is why there is a growing interest in what is happening outside the U.S.
    Region 1 has by far the biggest collection of titles, but for those who want that little bit extra then Regions 2 and 4 is certainly worth consideration.
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  9. MikeSerrano

    MikeSerrano Second Unit

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    quote: I agree! the majority of US discs are vastly superior extras wise and sometime the prints are better too.[/quote]
    quote: What hasn't been mentioned is the fact that a large number of important American Region 1 Widescreen DVDs are NON ANAMORPHIC.[/quote]
    Perhaps "the grass is greener" syndrome? [​IMG]
    I've only recently become interested in non-region-1 titles when I found out about the Hong Kong Legends collection in R2. (R1 may never see quality releases of many (most?) HKL titles).
    Fortunately, my region-hacked HTPC does all the video-format converting for me (both NTSC and PAL to 1080i) so I don't have to worry about getting a multi-standard TV or converter box. However, if I weren't going the HTPC route I'd just pick up a Malata multi-region progressive-scan DVD player (built-in scaling and PAL-conversion).
    -Mike
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    .o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o 0o.
    void *: Finger to spiritual emptiness underlying everything
    .o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o0o.o 0o.

    [Edited last by MikeSerrano on September 07, 2001 at 10:29 AM]
     
  10. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  11. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Modifying your player is illegal and there used to shops selling the R1 stuff second hand but that was made illegal as well.
    However, there are at least two or three players on the market that have a handset hack to change their region. Apparently aboveboard. And as I understand it you can buy multiregion players from a number of companies that are totally okay and not tampered with. Don't know how that works but there you go.
    We are really lucky that Japan is R2 as this means we have NTSC as standard in our players. Also as PAL resolution is better it seems easier to make a TV read and NTSC picture.
     
  12. Kimmo Jaskari

    Kimmo Jaskari Screenwriter

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    Nobody is debating whether or not there is a market for R2 in the USA too. I'm sure there is... but it is bound to be much more of a niche market than it is in Europe.
    Here, people who come perilously close to being called J6P's actually buy R1's over R2's. Quite a few DVD-buyers know that they want a region free machine and that they will wind up buying R1 discs via the Internet.
    The Swedish organisation known as SVF (Swedish Video Distributors association) has a web site now that would have looked fine for the National socialists in Germany in the mid-thirties if they would just be allowed to substitute phrases like "store illegally selling R1 discs" with "store owned by jews". They are prosecuting stores left and right because that is the only way they can get to sell their R2's. Obviously, competing on price and technical presentation never occurred to them, much easier to just use the legal system to slam the door shut.
    Ah well, it's an inherently biased organisation, so I guess I can't blame them for doing what they are supposed to be doing.
    Amazingly it will probably become illegal to import music CD's in the EU too now, or at least import and resell discs from outside the union. Wheee.
    I have no problem with buying my discs locally, IF they are technically equal with the R1's and priced at the same level. Neither of those two criteria can be applied now for many of the releases, thus my trusty credit card gets excercised regularly at US retailer sites.
    ------------------
    /Kimmo
     
  13. Ryan_M_M

    Ryan_M_M Stunt Coordinator

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    It shocked me also to realise that some of the non-anamorphic titles released in R1 were anamorphic in R2. There seems to be a general negative feedback in the United States concerning PAL, despite it having having a higher resolution (though some anamorphic R1 titles can look better depending on the transfer). The speed issue at 4 percent is not really an issue when it comes to voices. The only time I did notice a difference with PAL and NTSC in the speed up department was Superman during John Willaim's score. Some guys really blow the PAL nagatively thing to the extreme.
     
  14. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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  15. TheoGB

    TheoGB Screenwriter

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    Hmm. Well Rob, you should have seen how cagey the guys on Tottenham Ct. Rd. got when I mentioned it. I look pretty square (http://www.mokita.net/band.htm) and they obviously figured I was something odd.
    However, there are those mailorder places too. I dunno. Maybe it's not illegal but I was given the impression it was.
    PAL: You guys know what Pulldown is? You won't once you see PAL! :)
     
  16. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Perhaps the situation has changed. It certainly wasn't a problem earlier in the year and you can still buy players now that actually include instructions on how to disable the regional check.
     
  17. Ryan_M_M

    Ryan_M_M Stunt Coordinator

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    In the UK and Ireland, many DVD Roms are region free. Are US DVD Roms region free.
     
  18. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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  19. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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