Region encoding, PAL, confusion, and cheese

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Broadman, Sep 2, 2001.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I have a pretty basic question.
    I understand that DVDs are encoded for different "regions." I'm guessing region 1 is North America, region 2 is Europe, Region 3 is Asia?
    Anyway, I was wondering if this region thing is that same as NTSC vs PAL. Is PAL the same thing as region 2 and NTSC the same as region 3? If so, what's region 3 called?
    I have a DVD player that doesn't play PAL. I guess that means I'm limited to region 1 / NTSC. Is there some way to play PAL without getting a new DVD player? I don't want to get a new player yet because other than the PAL thing it's really good and I want to wait until I get an HDTV so I can get a DVD player with progressive scan.
    I know this region thingy is around for legal reasons, copyright and such, but damn, what a pain in the ass. I bet the stuff gets pirated anyway.
     
  2. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Region 2 and PAL aren't the same. PAL is the encoding format of the video, you can get PAL on VHS also I believe. Since Europe uses PAL, and Europe is Region 2, most, if not all, Region 2 releases are PAL. You might be able to use PAL on an NTSC set, but it will look real funny. You can get external PAL to NTSC converters but I hear they cost a lot. You could also get a TV capable of using both, but I have no idea what that might run you.
    Probably the easiest and cheapest way to do this is buy one of the code free players that do PAL to NTSC conversion. I got the Malata from avdeals.com for less than $300. I have yet to get a region 2 PAL disc, it should be arriving soon though, but others have reported that it does a good job. If you're concerned about the quality of the player, just use it to supplement your existing player.
    In order to see region 2 PAL discs you'll need a code free dvd player, or mod your player, and some way to convert it. IMHO going with something like the Malata is a no brainer compared to the alternatives.
     
  3. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  4. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Oops, my bad. I forgot about the Japan issue. Most of my region 2 interests lie in England.
     
  5. DannyS

    DannyS Second Unit

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    Hi! Seeing as I'm in the uk I'll offer my advice. Japan is region 2 NTSC, so you'll have no worries there. Everything else in the UK is PAL so you'll have to get a convertor. We are dead lucky really here, all TV's in the UK play pure PAL and pure NTSC so we have the best of both worlds. (sorry to rub it in)
    ------------------
    Panasonic TX-21M2T TV
    Sony DVP 536
    Old Panasonic Stereo! :)
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Ah.
    So the real issue in terms of compatibility is NTSC vs PAL, then? That is, if I get a DVD from Japan which is region 2 and NTSC, it will work on my player?
    I'm hesitating to buy a new player because I only have mine for a few months (got it as a present) and want to wait until I upgrade my TV first.
     
  7. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    What kind of player do you have now? If its not one of the Chinese brands that are advertised as code-free, or it hasn't been modified, then you can't play Region 2 regardless of whether its PAL or NTSC. The region coding blocks you from playing a disc from another region on your player, whereas PAL makes it incompatible with your TV.
     
  8. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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  9. Ali B

    Ali B Second Unit

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    Just to muddy the waters even further, there are some UK Region 2 discs that use NTSC as their video format, although they are marked as such, and are usually already available in the US anyhow. As I live in the UK, I get the best of both worlds - multi-region DVD players are very easy to find due to the substandard R2 releases and all TVs play pure signals for both TV systems.
    The 2 problems you face are:
    - will your DVD player play discs with region codes other than 1?
    - does your DVD player have an option to convert PAL video to NTSC before it hits the TV? If not, does your TV support PAL? If I remember correctly, very few US TVs do...
    ali
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    No, my TV doesn't play PAL, nor does my DVD player do the conversion. My player is a pretty standard store-bought model, so I don't think it plays non-region 1 discs, either.
    Oh, bother.
    Now I must decide whether or not to get a new player. I would also like it to play DVD-A, CD-R(W), have a multi-disc changer, and maybe porg scan.
    Here's a silly question: why are DVDs region encoded but videos are not? Are laserdiscs?
     
  11. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Consider the Malata, it does pretty much everything you want. It has near perfect PAL to NTSC conversion, is progressive scan, region free, and will apparently have a firmware upgrade to support DVD-Audio soon. Hell of a deal for under $300 delivered.
    The reason videos and laserdisc don't have the protection is because people didn't worry that much about it back when those came around. The movie industry was worried about the quality of DVD and the risk of piracy and so on. LD was always a pretty small market compared to where DVD is now and VHS has been for quite some time. Plus I imagine the internet has made it easier to get hold of all sorts of stuff, so they needed more controls in place. With VHS being of such poor quality, its not like people went out of their way to collect it. But with DVD its a whole different story. The DVD's quality makes it such that some people feel its almost not worth it to go to the movies, and with DVDs being released here before the movie is released in other countries, it could really cut into ticket sales. That's really their main excuse I think.
    Of course, it doesn't make sense that a lot of stuff that has limited appeal outside of a specific country has region coding. If they don't see enough potential to market something over here, they ought to at least let us get hold of it ourselves even if it costs more. But then again corporations aren't known for thinking things through very well.
     

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