Anti-anti-features: region coding

DVD anti-features are rather well documented. The purpose of “region coding” was to make sure that everybody who ever visited a foreign country and picked up some DVDs while there would get home to find out that they wouldn’t work.

Luckily, those of us who pay good money for DVDs have free software solutions to let us used our payed for product and not force us to download “pirated” copies just so we can view what we payed for.

The region coding in DVDs was designed with the idea that DVD players would always be expensive. You could “change” which region your DVD player was in a set number of times before you could no longer change it.

DVD players can now be bought for $30 (or less). This is what you could pay for a DVD movie. So with economies of scale driving prices down, even if CSS wasn’t completely broken, you can brute force the region coding by just buying 6 DVD players ($180) – less than many of us payed for our first, second or third DVD player.

The same thing will happen with BluRay. You can now get BluRay players for a couple of hundred dollars. One for each of the regions (A, B and C) will cost you less than original BluRay players cost.

So the antifeature of limiting who can watch a DVD/BluRay release is easily broken as player costs come down.

1 thought on “Anti-anti-features: region coding

  1. I wouldn’t go there Stewart. The content industry actually argued in ?senate? hearings on the FTA enabling legislation that people should buy multiple players rather than have the ability to bypass region coding.
    The issue is that consumers shouldn’t have to buy multiple players to watch different DVDs – one of the few things that the legislature gave some relief to consumers on. Imagine the wires behind the TV (!)

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