About Blu-ray Discs Region Specifications

About Blu-ray Discs Region Specifications

How region coding works for Blu-ray discs

Many DVDs and Blu-rays are region-locked and cannot be played in other countries without region free

Blu-ray discs do not use either PAL or NTSC coding but rather are in the 1080p (p: pixels, of vertical resolution) worldwide high definition standard. Be aware that there are a tiny minority encoded at 1080i50Hz – sometimes called “1080p 25fps” on the sleeve. They’re basically 1080p content at PAL framerates, and may not be viewable on NTSC countries’ (US, Canada, etc) TVs without a framerate converter built into the player. It will either send out a signal your TV can’t display properly, or just default to a black screen.

Some Blu-ray players can be harmlessly modified to become region free too, though in this case it’s then usually necessary to enter a four digit code each time you want to change the region. This is not as annoying as you might think: it only takes seconds and the vast majority of Blu-rays, as much as 70%, are actually region free anyway.

Note that if you live in a non-PAL country, even if you buy a region 0 foreign Blu-ray, any standard definition menu screens and extra features may still be in PAL.

There are four region codes for Blu-ray:

  • Region 0/free/ABC – no coding, playable anywhere. Note that any standard definition extras will still be in the NTSC or PAL DVD format
  • Region A – Alaska, Canada, North and South America, East and Southeast Asia, including Japan
  • Region B – Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, Australia and New Zealand
  • Region C – Central and Southern Asia, including China, and Russia

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