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Home > Zoom Player > Guides > DVD FAQ

What are Regions and how do they apply to me?

Shortly after the DVD format became standardized, the Movie industry decided to split the world into six distinct regions, which are:

  1. USA, Canada.
  2. Europe, Near East, South Africa, Japan.
  3. South East Asia.
  4. Australia, Middle & South America.
  5. Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe.
  6. People's Republic of China.

There were several reasons behind this move, mainly to stop the movement of movies across a region's boundries. This was deemed a black spot on the freedom of the world community by several programmers which have taken steps to remove this regional protection from various Hardware and Software devices.

The region code itself can reside in several locations:

  1. The DVD Disc itself (most common, and usually written on the back side of the DVD casing).
  2. The DVD Hardware device (the DVD Drive itself).
  3. Software decoders such as PowerDVD or WinDVD, or Hardware decoders such as the Hollywood-Plus or DXR3.

For the region protection to work, the disc itself must be set to a specific region code (which most discs are), and then either the disc reader (the DVD drive) or the playback software, must match the disc's code to their own code, for playback to work. If the drive itself is locked, the software or hardware decoder will rely on the drive to confirm the region match. If the drive itself is region free, the decoders try to enforce the region protection on their end.

If your drive itself is set to a specific region, you will be unable to play a disc from a different region. This can not be bypassed without replacing the checking mechanism within the drive itself. This can only be done with a firmware update. A firmware is a piece of software that resides within the drive itself and controls all of it's actions (including the region controls). Firmwares are unique for each drive model and there will never be a global fix. There is more firmware related information on the FAQ, continue reading.

If your drive itself is region free (does not have the mechanism to verify the disc's region), you will have to remove or bypass the region check on the playback software. There are several programs available to help you do just that.