Help Centre - Standards & Technology
- DVD Regions
- Blu-ray Regions
- VHS PAL
- Dolby Digital
- BBFC Classifications
- Aspect Ratio
- 4:3 Academy Ratio
- 1.66:1 European Widescreen
- 1.85:1 American Widescreen
- 2.35:1 Cinemascope
- Pan & Scan
Not all DVD players are the same - DVD players can generally only play DVDs that match their region number. The region number that a DVD is encoded with corresponds with the DVD players that are sold in that particular part of the world.
For example, British DVD players will happily play DVDs made in the UK, but generally won't play ones from America.
The six current regions are as follows:
1. US, US Territories and Canada.
2. UK, Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East including Egypt
3. Southeast Asia, East Asia including Hong Kong
4. Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, South America and the Caribbean
5. Former Soviet Union, Indian sub-continent, Africa, North Korea and Mongolia
Region 0 (or "region free") titles are compatible with DVD players from any of the six regions.
All DVDs sold by MovieMail are Region 2 unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Much like DVDs, not all Blu-ray players are the same. Blu-ray players can only play Blu-ray discs with the matching region code. The Blu-ray regions are not the same as the regions used for DVD coding.
There are three Blu-ray region codes:
A. East Asia (except Mainland China and Mongolia), Southeast Asia, the Americas and their dependencies.
B. UK, Europe (except Russia), Africa, Southwest Asia, Oceania and their dependencies.
C. Central Asia, East Asia (Mainland China and Mongolia only), South Asia, central Eurasia and their dependencies.
Some Blu-ray discs do not have a region code. These will play in any Blu-ray player, regardless of region.
All Blu-rays sold by MovieMail are Region B unless stated otherwise.
Currently there are three recording standards, VHS PAL, NTSC, and SecamThese formats refer to the number of frames per second and importantly determines a videos compatibility with Video player.
All videos sold by MovieMail are PAL (Phase Alternation Line) standard only, which is used in most European countries and regions of Asia. Here is a list of all of the VHS PAL countries.
Abu Dhabi, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Ascension Island, Australia, Austria, Azores, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, China (Peoples Republic), Christmas Island, Cook Island, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dubai, Easter Island, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Finland, Gambia, Gaza & West Bank, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greenland, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Holland, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Madeira, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norfolk Island, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Sardinia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Tristian Da Cunah, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, Vatican, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.
NTSC is the recording standard used in numerous countries including the USA, Canada and Japan. NTSC has a lower resolution than PAL. The conversion from cinema to NTSC can sometimes make films appear jumpy and increase the appearance of scan lines. VHS PAL titles sold by MovieMail are NOT compatible with NTSC
NTSC is the standard in the following countries:
Alaska, American Samoa, Antigua, Antilles (Dutch), Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, British Virgin Islands, Burma, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Diego Garcia, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, Grenada, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Hawaii, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan, Johnston Islands, Korea South, Leeward Islands, Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Midway Islands, Montserrat, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Okinawa, Palau, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Surinam, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Virgin Islands.
The most common sound format on the DVD format. Dolby Digital supports anything up to 7 discrete channels of sound and up to two additional channels for low-frequency bass. Most commonly, Dolby Digital on DVD supports 5.1 channels (left, centre, right, surround left, surround right and sub) but the DVD format can handle any number of channels within the Dolby Digital specification. Dolby Digital is a compressed sound format and is stored at a variable bit rate.
This alternative to Dolby Digital is widely claimed to offer superior sound. DTS (Digital Theatre System) is a compressed sound format very similar to Dolby but is less compressed than Dolby Digital and is stored at a constant bit rate.
Secam is not compatible with VHS PAL titles sold by MovieMail and is the recording standard used in the following countries:
Afghanistan, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Peoples Republic), Corsica, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, France, Gabon, Georgia, Greece (also PAL), Guadeloupe, Guyana (French), Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kampuchea, Kazakhastan, Korea North, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, New Caledonia, Niger, Polynesia, Reunion, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia Republic, St Pierre, Syria, Tahiti, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Wallis Island and Zaire.
The Movie Ratings System as provided by the British Board of Film Classification
U Universal, suitable for all.
PG All ages admitted, but Parental Guidance is recommended. It is the board's policy that movies rated "PG" should not disturb a child of about 8 years of age or older; however, "parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset young or more sensitive children."
12 No one under 12 years of age may see a "12" film or rent or buy a "12" video.
15 No one under 15 years of age may see a "15" film or rent or buy a "15" video.
18 Suitable only for adults. No one under 18 years of age may see an "18" film or rent or buy an "18" video.
R18 To be supplied only in licensed sex shops to adults of not less than 18 years of age
Aspect Ratio in simple terms describes the ratio between picture width and picture height.
4:3 (1.33:1) was the standard TV and Cinema aspect ratio until 1952 and is also known as Academy Ratio
1.66:1 became popular with European directors after the 1950's, but the strength of American market has forced directors to shoot in American Widescreen or 1.85:1
1.85:1 or American Widescreen is by far the most popular format used today and as many of the films are shot in a 4:3 ratio and then masked, they are easy to convert for a TV screen.
This ratio is the widest aspect ratio in use and is acheived through Anamorphic compression.
In order to convert cinema aspect ratios to 4:3 ratio in order to be able to play on normal TV, a technique called Pan and Scan is often used.
Essentially this means the image is cropped in different places, according to the focus of a paticular scene. The camera will then Pan in order to crop in a different postion depending on the action in the next scene and so on.
This method of conversion can lead to a significant loss of image, in some cases ruining the composition.
Anamorphic DVD is a form of data compression capable of storing images at a much greater resolution than a normal DVD.
This means that when viewed on a widescreen TV the image will expand to fit the screen and the picture will be of the sharpest quality achievable.