Are DVDs Still Region Locked?

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Are DVDs Still Region Locked?

If you are a DVD user then you will probably know that DVDs have been region locked for quite some time. Region locking is something where DVDs can be only used in a DVD player which has the code of the same area where DVD is being sold. If you have bought a DVD from some other place or some other country then you may face the problem of region locks. 

If you found this article then it is likely that you know about region locks but are wondering if DVDs still have them. If that is your question then you are in the right spot. 

So, do DVDs still have region locks on them? 

Unfortunately DVDs do still have region locks on them and you cannot play a DVD from another region in your normal DVD player. However in recent years it has become considerably easier to buy a region free DVD player and they can now be found on Amazon for quite reasonable prices. Buying a region free DVD player is the easiest way to make all DVDs from all over the world work!

Every time you try a DVD that is from the wrong region you will get a disc error. The problem is that almost all DVDs that are present on the market have these region locks on them so unless you buy a region free player (as mentioned above) then they will only work in your region.  

Region locks are used to protect the profits of the DVD manufacturers as well as to prevent newly released DVDs from flooding into other areas of the world too soon. DVDs have staggered releases around the world so the manufacturers don’t want the people in some countries to be able to sell the newest releases before they are actually released in other areas. 

This would also cut into the manufacturers profits as they have different pricing all over the world so if people could buy the cheap ones in bulk and resell them then the manufacturers would lose out on a good chunk of profit and that might ultimately make them stop releasing DVDs in those cheaper countries.  

Why are DVDs region locked?

The world is all about competition and everybody is busy trying to achieve success at the same time.. To protect the copyright of the DVD, region codes are used on every DVD that contains movies, TV shows, etc. If the region lock was not there, then anyone could buy them for cheap in other countries and ship them in bulk into the USA flooding the market with cheaper options. 

This of course would result in the DVD manufacturers either changing their processes or having to not release any of their movies and shows overseas at all. Even though region free DVD players can easily be purchased online the majority of the major brand DVD players will still have locks on them which in turn helps preserve the profits of the DVD manufacturers. 

Ultimately DVD region locks are only there for one reason and that is to protect the interests and profits of the manufacturers. They are certainly not in place to help the end consumer at all. 

Are region locks still there or have they been lifted?

Over time, usage of DVDs has decreased a large amount so with this decline some people assume that region locks have been lifted. Unfortunately as of now that is not the case. It would seem to be easier to just create one DVD that would work everywhere in the world so that way they wouldn;t have to create new ones for new areas but as of now they have not done that.  

In my opinion at some point the demand for DVDs will drop low enough that it won’t make financial sense to make different discs for different areas of the world and they will simply combine the manufacturing process and remove the region locks but as of now this has not happened. 

What is a region code?

A region code is a type of code that was given to DVDs so that the protection of  their copyrights can be maintained. Region codes are different for different regions and people in a region can’t use the DVD of another region. If they try to use DVDs from a different region then they will not be able to play the DVD as a disc error will appear and not allow the disc to be played. 

Due to the restrictions of the region code, users can only use DVDs of their own region or they have to purchase a region free player or region unlock their current one. 

Can a region lock be fixed?

This is a big worry for anyone who has bought a DVD from some other region without realizing that there were still region codes or without knowing that there even was such a thing. If your money can’t be refunded the only option is to find a way to play that DVD. 

Due to the strict restriction of region codes, it may be hard to decode the region code of the DVD and use it in the DVD player of some other region code. Depending on the player you might be able to search the make and model of your DVD player and see if there is a code that you can use to region unlock it. Many modern players will not only have codes that you can use to unlock your DVD player but they might also have step by step instructions as well. 

If you are unable to unlock your current DVD player then your next option is to buy a new player. As mentioned above, this can be done on Amazon (by clicking here) but obviously that will cost you some money so you have to weigh the amount that you spent on the DVD vs the cost of a brand new DVD player. 

In most cases buying a new region free DVD player is well worth the cost. 


DVDs are still region locked but that will likely change in the future (in my opinion).  As the demand for DVDs continues to go down at some point it will stop making financial sense to make 9 different types of DVDs for the same movie or TV show just because of the different regions. For example right now Mexico has a different region of DVDs than just a few miles away in California, Texas, or Arizona do. Once DVD sales go down far enough making all countries the same region or decreasing the number of regions substantially is likely to happen. 

Ultimately DVDs being region locked is all about keeping the profits as high as possible for the manufacturers and allowing them to stagger the release of DVDs across the globe without worrying about those people selling to other areas where the DVDs have not been released as of yet. 

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