Only One Third of Domestic Blu-ray Discs are Region Coded

Posted by Dave Cowl on February 23, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Format War, Studios

bluraystats.thumbnail.jpgRegion Coding was been a contentious issue in the format war, with the benefits and disadvantages often argued. While HD DVD had no region based restrictions, allowing importation of titles from anywhere on the map, some say that the lack of region coding cost HD DVD studio support from the likes of Fox and Disney, and especially New Line who went on record as saying that they would hold back HD DVD releases due to lack of region coding on the format.

Today Blu-ray Stats is reporting that, after updating their region code database to 90% of US domestic titles, only 1/3 titles are restrictively region coded. Fox is the biggest fan with all of their discs coded Region A, and New Line only has one title coded for all regions. At the other end of the spectrum, studios that released on HD DVD, namely Warner, Paramount and DreamWorks have unrestricted Blu-ray titles also. Sony, Disney and Lionsgate have a mix, with typically the DVD Day and Date releases being Region A and the catalogue titles being unrestricted.

It will be interesting to see if the ‘end of the format war’ will result in any studio policy changes with regard to region coding.

Related posts:

  1. Men in Black and Bone Collector Get UK Blu-ray Release Date
  2. Sony To Launch Video Download Service
  3. Blu-ray New Releases for 2-10-2009
  4. Blu-ray New Releases for October 28th 2008
  5. Blu-ray New Releases for 6-16-2009


15 Responses to “Only One Third of Domestic Blu-ray Discs are Region Coded”

  1. Ben Drawbaugh on February 23rd, 2008 2:33 pm

    Don’t you mean you’re reporting?

    Congrats on your new site btw.

  2. Dave Cowl on February 23rd, 2008 3:10 pm

    Thanks. Yeah I have somewhat of a split personality at the moment. :D

    Will try to keep the topic and depth of the postings relevant to the purpose of each site and see how it goes…

    I hope to eventually have other contributors also down the line…

  3. Kevin Murphy on February 24th, 2008 12:02 am

    I kind of doubt that the war ending means that New Line and Fox will drop region coding, but maybe that’s not what you were suggesting.

    I’m a bit more worried about the ICT flag rearing its head. During the war, any side that used it would have lost, but now…?

  4. Dave Cowl on February 24th, 2008 12:25 am

    Actually I am wondering if Paramount and Warner (and Universal) will use Region Coding.

    And hope that Fox stops Region Coding *everything*.

    Fox is really the strangest studio – perhaps the only one that treats catalogue releases like they are new releases for pricing and Region Code. I hope that the extra competition will help change their ways.

    New Line at least did not Region Code their catalogue title.

  5. Mehar on February 24th, 2008 8:36 am

    Kevin: The Resident Evil Series on HD DVD (From Europe of course) were the only ones to use ICT flags on the HD DVD side.

    Theirs no use in doing region free now, theirs no format war, hence no importing needed.

  6. Rob on February 24th, 2008 10:13 am

    That’s one third too many. I don’t feel like playing “region lock lottery” every time I invest in media.

  7. Rob on February 24th, 2008 10:14 am

    > Theirs no use in doing region free now, theirs no format war, hence no importing needed.

    Stupidest comment I’ve heard all month.

  8. Dave Cowl on February 24th, 2008 11:10 am

    Rob: I am not sure why you consider it a lottery. If you buy discs in your local region there is no problem playing them (unless your player is not from your local region). Plus most discs are labeled and there are a number of websites that will tell you if discs are region locked or not.

    For a number of studios, without region coding you effectively say goodbye to day and date releases…

  9. Mehar on February 24th, 2008 11:30 am

    Rob: How? All the major studios are Blu now so importing is a miniscule factor.

  10. paulw on February 24th, 2008 11:43 am


    I suspect that you live in the US where you can buy from Amazon cheap BD disks. The rest of the world has to pay usually Twice that price for their “regionally coded” BD movies if thay can actually buy it in their country..

  11. Dave Cowl on February 24th, 2008 12:06 pm

    I do live in the USA now, and when I was last back home in NZ the price and availability of BDs was bad on both counts.

    That said, aside from Fox/MGM, the studios in the US use the region coding to protect the theatrical release window rather than the pricing, so if it is not a ‘new release’ movie, you should be able to import the disc with no worries.

    Unfortunately for new titles they will mostly be region locked.

    However region free players are starting to show up in Europe and I imagine that at least for most of the rest of the world they will not be illegal like they probably are here due to the DMCA laws.

  12. Jesterrace on February 24th, 2008 1:51 pm

    Yeah, but only at premium prices and who knows how long these hacks will last. I am curious as to the development into the PS3 region hacks that have started. That would be much easier to deal with since it doesn’t require any hardware modification.

  13. Jonsson on February 24th, 2008 11:38 pm


    What do you mean by premium prices (with respect ot region free players)?

    I have to confess that I have not checked Blu-ray prices yet (waiting for the market to stabilize and the product to become mature first) but when I picked up my zone-free DVD player it was certainly not more pricey than the normal list price.

    I bought that player in a perfectly legal manner at one of the biggest electronics chain in Europe (no special hacking to make it region free). I’ve had that player for 7 years now and it still runs perfectly well.

    Having said that, it’s my view that region coding is stupid and I’m against it out of principle. BUT, I have really never been bothered by it either. I have TWO titles which is not from “my” zone out of many hundreds and I got those ONLY because I was eager to get them quickly. I could just as easily just have waited.

    I’m much more pissed off by the non-skippable scenes. When you have legally bought hundreds of disks you do NOT want to read that idiotic copyright message again. You KNOW what it says. Not to mention unskippable commercials. That really get’s me going. I would happily hack a player just to get rid of that.

    I only want to slip in the disk, possibly select language / audio quality etc. and then whatch the damned movie. No bloody extras that get’s in my way, no commercials etc etc…JUST THE MOVIE!

  14. Dave Cowl on February 25th, 2008 9:12 am

    Like region coding, those forced FBI warnings etc. are really there to please the ‘legal’ team.

    One of my modded DVD players allowed the skipping of messages – it was really nice :D

  15. Belard on February 25th, 2008 10:24 am

    You know – THAT is one PETITION we should start. Demanding the studios to STOP forcing us to watch the ADS!!

    We already bought the movie, and we don’t want to spend minutes pressing Chapter skip or FF since some DON’T let your chapter skip and worse – some force you to go through the whole ADs!

    Its a simple concept, IF the customer WANTS to SKIP the ADs, why PISS THEM OFF by preventing them? I’ve had a DVD or 2 I don’t watch because it was that bothersome!

    Whats also idiotic, is that sometimes there is no menu access to the previews *IF YOU WANT* to see them! “Wait, I want to see that again” – but you can’t rewind, etc… idiots.

    PS: I wonder how that HD petition work out? 33,546 signed, but a large amount of it is actuallly anti-HDDVD. And some are repeat voters. Some are childish dis-information like “blu is not DVD compatible!” – ugh?

Feel free to leave a comment...If you have not commented before, your comment will be held for moderation.
and oh, if you want an Avatar to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!