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  1. #1
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    I'm familiar with PAL in video, but what does it mean when a DVD is PAL? Does that refer to the region it's made to play in? Or does it mean region free? TIA

  2. #2
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    As far as I am aware PAL is a television broadcast standard, similar to SECAM or NTSC and has no bearing on DVD. It's all to do with the number/frequency of lines scanned



    I don't think PAL DVD discs exist.



    The regional coding is something totally different, which is built into some DVD's, simply to stop discs being played in different parts of the world.



    Mr. D.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    name='Mr. Denning']As far as I am aware PAL is a television broadcast standard, similar to SECAM or NTSC and has no bearing on DVD. It's all to do with the number/frequency of lines scanned



    I don't think PAL DVD discs exist.



    The regional coding is something totally different, which is built into some DVD's, simply to stop discs being played in different parts of the world.



    Mr. D.


    Thanks, I was looking at a DVD online that had the PAL attached to it which made me wonder. Something didn't sound right there, but I wanted to make sure.

  4. #4
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    Yes, it's to do with the way the information is encoded / formatted on the DVD. It's nothing directly to do with region coding although you will find that most north American DVDs are region 1 coded and are in the NTSC format and most European DVDs are region 2 coded and are in the PAL format.



    But there are exceptions, like Japanese DVDs which are region 1 coded but are in PAL format.



    Region coding isn't anything to do with the format. It's a system laid over the top of the actual data that attempts to restrict access to the DVD. Although it's easy to get around and is actually of dubious legality ecause it goes against the ethos of free trade and all the GATT agreements



    Steve

  5. #5
    Senior Member Country: England darrenburnfan's Avatar
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    Ah, that would be a professional DVD, which are stamped and not burned like a DVD-R. I have sent DVD-R's to America and, although they have been transferred from a video recorded off a PAL television broadcast, they play without a hitch in the USA, because the disc contains a transfer from a video recording that is region free. Uploading a DVD to your computer and then burning the disc copy of it on your computer also results in a region free recording.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    name='Steve Crook']Yes, it's to do with the way the information is encoded / formatted on the DVD. It's nothing directly to do with region coding although you will find that most north American DVDs are region 1 coded and are in the NTSC format and most European DVDs are region 2 coded and are in the PAL format.



    But there are exceptions, like Japanese DVDs which are region 1 coded but are in PAL format.



    Region coding isn't anything to do with the format. It's a system laid over the top of the actual data that attempts to restrict access to the DVD. Although it's easy to get around and is actually of dubious legality ecause it goes against the ethos of free trade and all the GATT agreements



    Steve




    OK, thanks, another question:



    Would a DVD labeled as PAL be playable on a Dell Inspiron?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    I just want to make sure I can play it if I do buy this DVD I am inquiring about.

  8. #8
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='torinfan']OK, thanks, another question:



    Would a DVD labeled as PAL be playable on a Dell Inspiron?


    Usually, yes.

    The checking of the region control is done by the media player. It's not hard-wired into the laptop.



    Windows Media Player will let you have a few plays of a DVD from any region. But then it will lock down onto just one region and will only let you play DVDs from that region.



    But if you use the VLC media player then that sensibly ignores any nonsense like region coding.



    Although it really depends on the DVD player in the laptop. Not the program you use to play it, the media player. It's the physical DVD player that matters and if that can play PAL as well as NTSC DVDs. Most can, but it's worth checking.



    Steve

  9. #9
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    name='Steve Crook']Usually, yes.

    The checking of the region control is done by the media player. It's not hard-wired into the laptop.



    Windows Media Player will let you have a few plays of a DVD from any region. But then it will lock down onto just one region and will only let you play DVDs from that region.



    But if you use the VLC media player then that sensibly ignores any nonsense like region coding.



    Although it really depends on the DVD player in the laptop. Not the program you use to play it, the media player. It's the physical DVD player that matters and if that can play PAL as well as NTSC DVDs. Most can, but it's worth checking.



    Steve




    I'm familiar with the Windows Media Player locking down into one region eventually. I have something called Cyberlink Power DVD on my computer. I don't know if that helps any further. Sorry, I'm not a media expert when it comes to computers.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Country: UK CaptainWaggett's Avatar
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    I've yet to find a dvd or torrent that VLC media player can't cope with. It's free and it only takes a couple of minutes to download.

  11. #11
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='torinfan']I'm familiar with the Windows Media Player locking down into one region eventually. I have something called Cyberlink Power DVD on my computer. I don't know if that helps any further. Sorry, I'm not a media expert when it comes to computers.


    I don't know that one and their web site doesn't seem to say.

    Grab a copy of VLC



    Steve

  12. #12
    Senior Member Country: United States torinfan's Avatar
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    name='Steve Crook']I don't know that one and their web site doesn't seem to say.

    Grab a copy of VLC



    Steve


    Gotcha



    Thanks everyone for your help :)

  13. #13
    Senior Member Country: UK
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    Another point to remember is that not all Region 1 DVDs will play on a multi region player (whether genuine or hacked into) and require the player to be specifically set to Region 1.



    from memory this is a throwback to the early days when multi region players were first introduced. Since DVD distributors were unable to prevent their manufacture they found a way of encoding the discs so that they would only play on a player specifically designed for or set to Region 1.



    It seems to only apply to certain American discs. Trying to copy those discs in the PC to make them region free present smore problems and I have found that most software finds difficulty in coping with them. I certainly could not get them to copy using either Nero or Shrink. Fortunayely I can reset my player to region 1.

  14. #14
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='johng']Another point to remember is that not all Region 1 DVDs will play on a multi region player (whether genuine or hacked into) and require the player to be specifically set to Region 1.



    from memory this is a throwback to the early days when multi region players were first introduced. Since DVD distributors were unable to prevent their manufacture they found a way of encoding the discs so that they would only play on a player specifically designed for or set to Region 1.



    It seems to only apply to certain American discs. Trying to copy those discs in the PC to make them region free present smore problems and I have found that most software finds difficulty in coping with them. I certainly could not get them to copy using either Nero or Shrink. Fortunayely I can reset my player to region 1.


    ISTR that applies more to recent Hollywood releases. They added some additional protection on top of the region checks



    It's all of very dubious legality of course. It's about time someone challenged them



    Steve

  15. #15
    Senior Member Country: United States rjd0309's Avatar
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    name='Steve Crook']But there are exceptions, like Japanese DVDs which are region 1 coded but are in PAL format.
    Sorry, Steve. Backwards. Japanese DVDs are region 2 coded but are in NTSC format.



    Technically, a DVD player simply plays the video stream that it finds on the DVD. If the video stream consists of 25 frames per second of 625 lines each, then it's PAL format. If 30 fps and 525 lines, then it must be NTSC. But the player doesn't know or care. It simply plays the video stream. It's up to your TV set to decode and display the signal.



    Theoretically, you COULD have a PAL movie on the same disc as an NTSC movie, but it's rarely done. The DVD Specification requires that videos which have different properties, such as PAL versus NTSC, be kept in different "subdirectories" on the disc (more accurately, in different Title Sets). You could go from one to the other by means of a top level menu (VMGM menu). But again, it's rarely done.



    As Steve said, Region coding isn't anything to do with the format. It's a system laid over the top of the actual data that attempts to restrict access to the DVD. A multi-region player will ignore the region coding and simply play the video stream. But then, your TV set has to be capable of displaying the resultant video signal, be it PAL or NTSC or SECAM.



    Most computer DVD drives have built-in firmware that allows the drive's Region Code to be changed a certain number of times (5 times on the drives in my computer). So if you have your drive set to Region 1 and then attempt to play a Region 2 disc, you will be given a dialog box asking you to change your drive's Region Code. But after 5 changes, you won't be able to alter the code any longer, and thus you won't be able to play DVDs of a different Region than your drive.



    I have two drives, one set to Region 1 and the other set to Region 2, so that's how I get around this problem. Cyberlink PowerDVD cooperates with this restriction scheme, so you'll still have a limited number of drive region changes if you use PowerDVD. So it seems that using VLC Media Player would be the way to go, since it apparently ignores this drive region-change nonsense, and allows you to play any DVD from any region.

  16. #16
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    name='rjd0309']



    Most computer DVD drives have built-in firmware that allows the drive's Region Code to be changed a certain number of times (5 times on the drives in my computer). So if you have your drive set to Region 1 and then attempt to play a Region 2 disc, you will be given a dialog box asking you to change your drive's Region Code. But after 5 changes, you won't be able to alter the code any longer, and thus you won't be able to play DVDs of a different Region than your drive.




    What happens if you change it to Region 0 only (and keep it at that setting as R0=all regions ) will it still play R1,R2 etc. or do you still have to keep switching back and fourth for different regions ?



    Or is that a silly way of thinking ?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Country: United States rjd0309's Avatar
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    name='Amethyst_Isle']What happens if you change it to Region 0 only (and keep it at that setting as R0=all regions ) will it still play R1,R2 etc. or do you still have to keep switching back and fourth for different regions ?



    Or is that a silly way of thinking ?


    Region 0 is not a region code in the same sense that Regions 1 thru 6 are. It means that the disc has no region coding whatsoever -- it's a "plain vanilla" disc. (And it's very unlikely that your drive's firmware will give you the option of setting it to "Region 0". My drives only give me the option of selecting region 1 thru 6.)



    So a region 0 (or "region free") disc will play in any drive, no matter what the drive's region setting. If your drive is set to Region 2, for example, you can play a Region 0 disc without any complaints from your drive's firmware or from the Media-player software.

  18. #18
    Administrator Country: Wales Steve Crook's Avatar
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    name='rjd0309']Sorry, Steve. Backwards. Japanese DVDs are region 2 coded but are in NTSC format.


    I knew it was something like that



    Steve

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: United States rjd0309's Avatar
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    Just to continue the previous thought..



    Even though a Region 0 disc will play without complaint in any DVD player or computer drive, that DOESN'T MEAN that this is a 'WORLDWIDE' disc.



    Folks here in the States often order a "Region Free" disc from Europe and then discover that they can't get it to work.



    "But it's a Region Free disc," they say, "it should play in any player WORLDWIDE."



    Nope. It means that the DVD won't try to restrict access to its data. Your player will freely be able to access the data and play the video stream. But it's STILL UP TO YOUR TV SET to properly decode and display the resultant video signal.



    If the programme is in PAL format and you've got an American TV set that can only display NTSC video signals, then you won't be able to watch the video, even though your player may be correctly playing the video stream and outputting a PAL video signal.

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