Tuesday, January 27, 2009

who knew?

Last night Mr. D and I eagerly tore into season two of Doc Martin, anxious to see our curmudgeonly London surgeon's new adventures in Portwenn, England. Mr. D had ordered seasons two and three from Amazon.com.UK per my request for Christmas (good man) and we inserted the first DVD into the player.

A message to this effect came up on our TV set:
This disc will not play in this region
.

Huh? I studied the back of the case. I reinserted the disc. I compared the fine print on the case to the fine print on Kung Fu Panda (yes! A new record--my obsession for this legendary film is becoming legendary--the stuff of legend indeed). No mention of region on Kung Fu Panda.

Mr. D couldn't figure it out either--we always thought a disc was a disc was a disc. Apparently not. Are DVD players made differently across the Atlantic? The DVDs are.

But don't panic--my brilliant husband told me to fire up the laptop. He put in the disc and after the notice came up again that the disc could only play in region 2, he clicked a couple of times and reformatted the Windows Media Player on my laptop. THEN my genius husband hooked up my laptop to a screen projector that he carts around in his car for when he does demos of software for his job. We lay in bed watching Doc Martin on our bedroom wall--it was positively lovely.

But we'd still like to know the story about regions and DVDs--any of your Brits out there willing to tell this Yank why this is? Season three has the same fine print, so we'll be watching it on my laptop as well ...

18 comments:

  1. I have never heard of this--hmmm. I will ask around and report if I find anything. Thanks for the tip about Green Girl tote, I have been looking for a tote that can hold bricks! I don't carry bricks but apparently a lot of my totes are quite weak and can only manage a certain amount of groceries before they begin to fall apart. I love using them for everything--as my purse, as diaper bags, and as bags in not only the grocery store but all stores that want o give you bags. Yay for both Green Girls!

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  2. Huh. I've never heard of such a thing. I wonder why that is.
    Thank goodness for genius husbands!

    We LOVE Kung Fu Panda around here. We've rented it so many times that we could have paid for our own DVD by now. I'm waiting for one of the boys birthdays to buy it. ;)

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  3. Yep, it's true. DVDs are different between here and there. I don't know why, I just know that it is so. We took some with us last year to watch in our B&B and they didn't work.

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  4. I could be totally wrong, but I believe I heard that there is some sort of override code that you can do on your dvd player to get it to play DVDs from other regions. Like I said, I may have just imagined all of this one day, but it might be worth a Google.

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  5. 'Tis true. Even here in Germany. The European DVDs have a region-specific code written into them.

    Glad you got it to work anyway!

    Mr. D is a genius!

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  6. How did he re-format it? My daughter's English fairy god-mother (aka Hubs' fave cousin) sent over some Strawberry Shortcake discs that she can't watch here, and she was so sad. I knew that British VHS tapes didn't work here, but CDS do, so what's with the region thing on the DVDs?

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  7. Nope, did not know this. To what purpose do you suppose?

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  8. region coding is just to ensure that retailers who buy the rights to sell dvds in each country don't miss out on sales from people buying from overseas and importing them more cheaply. It's a pia but you can get around it. When we bought our dvd player we made sure we could play discs from anywhere. I don't know if you can adjust an existing dvd player but if you are buying a new one at some point you should make sure you get one that isn't coded for just one region. Good on you both for figuring out a workaround!

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  9. Gee, you learn something new every day. And yay for Mr. D for saving the day.

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  10. He totally rocks!

    We were given a favorite movie by a friend who lives in Germany and were completely unable to play it... now I know there is a way! I'll get the hubby right on that!

    Thanks, Mr. D. :)

    - Julia

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  11. Ooooh. I am so impressed with the techie genius of Mr. D. Yay!

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  12. I know that Denmark used different formats with VHS than the US 'cause we had to have them converted - but DVDs - that's crazy....

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  13. I encountered this when my Brazilian Boys wanted to buy a game system to take back home. I didn't catch all the details--just that North America is one region, South America another, Europe another, etc.

    I think it may have something to do with import taxes, etc.

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  14. Mmm interesting! Glad you got to see Doc Martin!

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  15. I've never heard of that show. It sounds good. The DVD discrepancy we encountered when my daughter's friend who is from Australia, brought her discs of an Australian TV show and we couldn't watch them.

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  16. I guess I've never heard of that, either. I am curious to see what the issue is.

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  17. Huh. Who knew?!?

    Now - try and keep yourselves from watching ALL movies that way! ;-)

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Spill it, reader.