There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings regarding where DVDs will or will not work at and which DVDs from which country will work in other countries. Of course it would be simple if DVD manufacturers didn’t put region locks on the DVDs and allowed them to play anywhere, but unfortunately they did not do that!
There are basically 8 different regions that DVDs can come in but in regards to the United States and Canada there is only one region that should matter to you. That is Region 1. All DVDs that are produced for the USA and Canada are Region 1 discs and will work in DVD players in both of those countries.
Canadian DVDs will work in the United States and US DVDs will work in Canada since both countries have Region 1 coding on the DVDs and DVD players. The only thing when you are buying Canadian DVDs is to make sure that it has English as a language option as French is commonly spoken in Canada and smaller DVD companies might only produce their content in French.
You can normally find the language option on the back of the DVD that you are looking to buy or if you are buying online you can ask the seller what languages are included on the discs.
Anytime that you are buying DVDs online it is important to make sure that the Region code for those DVDs will work with the Region that you are in. If you are in the United States and buy a DVD with a region 2 lock on it then you will be unable to play that DVD in the USA (assuming that you don’t have a region unlocked DVD player).
Before purchasing any DVDs it is important for the buyer to make sure that the DVD that they are purchasing will work in the Region that they are in. We, at Blaze DVDs, only sell Region 1 DVDs as we are located in the USA but there are many online companies (including Amazon) that sell a variety of regions so knowing whether a DVD is the correct region and will work for you is something that you need to make sure of before ever placing an order.
In the rest of this article we will dive a little bit deeper into this subject of Region codes as well as answer some common questions that we often receive.
Can Canadian DVDs be played on USA DVD players?
The answer to this question is certainly yes, they will. DVDs have been manufactured in such a way that they will only work in one geographical region. The USA and the Canada region is known as Region 1 (as mentioned above). Europe and Japan are considered to be the region 2. Australia is the region 4 and the list goes on and on. Since the US and Canada are a part of the same region coding on DVDs then Canadian DVDs will work fine in America.
Surprisingly, Mexico is Region 4 so DVDs from the USA will not play on players in Mexico!
Also, one thing that must never be forgotten is that the video standard is very important to take note of. Countries like Japan, the USA and Canada and a couple of various ones prefer to use the 525/60 NTSC standard. Whereas other parts of the world tend to use the 625/50 PAL. Also, it must be noted that most European DVD players are capable of playing both the standards i.e the NTSC and the PAL. But, this is not the case with Canada and the US. Most of their DVD players are not able to play the PAL discs. Therefore, unless one plans to import discs from Europe itself, there wouldn’t be any issues with playing DVDs in Canada or the USA.
What are the different regions for?
Differences are all about the systems. They differ from region to region suggesting their compatibility. A Region 4 DVD will require a Region 4 dvd player or a Region free DVD player (yes, they make DVD players that can play discs from all of the Regions.
There are some important things to know about the different regions and what areas they cover.
Due to several issues (mainly DVD companies not being able to control the movement of DVDs) the manufacturers came up with region codes. This was done in order to do away with the rights issue and the pricing differences that can be prevalent across many different countries. You can often buy DVDs far cheaper in poorer areas of the world and the DVD manufacturers didn’t want everyone to buy DVDs from that Region and not buy them from their local ones. The Region code can be found mainly on the back of the DVD and it is normally a number on top of a small world symbol. The various regions are:
Region 1:refers to the US territories, Canada, and the USA itself.
Region 2: refers to the Middle East, South Africa, UK, Europe, and Japan.
Region 3: refers to East Asia which includes Thailand, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.
Region 4: refers to the Caribbean, South America, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia.
Region 5: refers to China.
Region 7: is reserved.
Region 8: is basically meant for the special international venues such as the Ships, Planes etc.
Region 0: refers to region free DVDs.
The DVDs of Region 1 are generally in the NTSC format. Others, as already stated, can be either in both NTSC or PAL format. The major difference that lies between the North American systems and other countries is that TV systems of other countries are able to play either of the formats. Whereas this is not the case in the USA and Canada, as the TV systems can only play DVDs in NTSC formats.
What is NTSC and PAL?
Actually, every DVD is composed of data. This data is usually stored in a digital format that could be either PAL or NTSC. These are the two standard TV formats. Countries like the UK, Australia and Europe use the PAL system which is a 625 line 50 Hz. Whereas, Canada, Japan and the USA tend to use the 525 line 60 Hz NTSC system. Therefore, next time if you are unable to play a PAL format DVD in your multi region DVD players then it could be that the issue lies with the whole TV set and not the DVD player.
What is all about Compatibility?
Be aware of the compatibility of the DVD players. As we all know, since the PAL countries are able to play DVD discs in both the formats, it does not imply at all that any DVD can be played in them. This is mainly due to the region restrictions. Therefore, it must be noted that a basic European DVD player which is of PAL region 2 can play NTSC Region 2 Japanese discs. They cannot play a USA variant marked as NTSC Region 1 as the DVD player would only work with Region 2 discs. Therefore, in other words, buyers must be aware of the compatibility of the DVD players before making a purchase.
Candian DVDs will work in the United States and USA DVDs will work just fine in Canada. Since both the USA and Canada are Region 1 then the DVDs are compatible in both countries. Anytime you are buying DVDs online it is important to buy only discs that will work in your country.
We have heard of many people buying discs from other countries because they were cheaper only to realize a little later that the “cheaper” items that they purchased were for a different region of the world and would not work in the United States.
Here at Blaze DVDs, everything that we sell will work in the United States and in Canada as we are located in the USA and everything that we sell is Region 1.