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Regional Codes
Regional codes (also called zone codes) are a feature built into the DVD system that allows the publishers to control where their discs are viewed and distributed. All DVD hardware and software is regionally coded using one of six codes (0, 7 & 8 are special cases - see below).

These codes control where the discs can be played, and you cannot normally buy DVDs in a different region and play them at home. The exception to this rule is Region 0 discs (mostly older films, specialist titles and documentaries), that can be played anywhere in the world, although some are recorded in the American NTSC TV format (we use PAL in Europe), which may not play well on older TVs (see below).

DVD players can of course be engineered to played be multi-region and therefore play discs from outside of your region.
Region 0
Region Free. Will play on any player, in any region.
Region 1
Canada, USA and US Territories
Region 2
UK, Europe, Japan, South Africa, Middle East, Egypt
Region 3
Southeast Asia, East Asia, Hong Kong
Region 4
Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central & South America, Caribbean
Region 5
Former Soviet Union, Indian Subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, Mongolia
Region 6
Region 7&8
Reserved for special and international venues (planes, cruise ships, etc.)