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How to Play DVDs and Blu-ray Discs from Other Countries

how to play dvds and blu-ray discs from other countriesThere are plenty of reasons for purchasing movies on DVD or Blu-ray from overseas. A few examples are that some countries censor films and exclude critical parts of the story, some films may not be available in your country, and films from other countries are often cheaper to purchase. Certain genres such as Kung-Fu and Japanese Animation are available around the world, yet often the best titles are only sold in the countries of origin. Many independent films are also not for sale internationally and anyone interested must purchase them from the country where they were produced.
 
The age of the internet has made it remarkably easy for cinema fans and movie collectors to acquire films from various countries, and you can even shop for movies by region from stores who specialize in selling foreign discs. However, there's a slight setback to owning foreign film titles on DVD or Blu-ray disc - they're usually not compatible with your player.
 
With the basic intentions of maximizing profits and protecting copyright status, production companies and manufacturers work together to limit the playback capabilities of DVDs and Blu-ray discs purchased from other countries. Normally, a Blu-ray player purchased in North America will only play discs purchased in North America. Likewise, a European Blu-ray player will only play discs local to Europe. Attempting to use a European-bought disc in a North American player will result in an "error" where the player will tell you that the disc format is not supported. This is solely due to the encoding and decoding process. Each region uses it's own disc encoding, and the players from each region are set to only decode discs that originate from that home region.
 
Of course there are ways around these regional limitations. Some people have found that they can hack their players, giving them the ability to play DVDs and Blu-ray discs from other countries regardless of the disc encoding. There are many ways that people go about hacking their players but the methods aren't always effective. Often times, the hacking results in a player that locks up or gets stuck on a different region, eliminating the possibility for playback of local discs. It's a risky decision to try and hack your player, and the benefits aren't always worth the cost of a broken unit. Also, there's a much better solution for playing movies from anywhere in the world; a Region-Free player.
 
Region-Free players aren't sold by major retailers. You'll have to find a reputable retailer who specializes in region-free players and purchase directly from them. These players have been professionally modified and will easily play discs from any region, without any issues. Both the software and hardware of region-free players is altered to ensure proper and efficient playback of any disc you can imagine. In addition to playback, most region-free players feature worldwide voltage and internal Pal/NTSC conversion. Worldwide voltage gives you the ability to use your player in any country without a voltage converter - simply set the player to the proper voltage (110/120 or 220/240) - while the internal video conversion ensures the player will work with any TV without an external video converter. A Region-Free player is basically universal. You can take them anywhere, plug them in, use them with any TV, and play any disc. It's really rather simple and while they do cost a bit more, the price increase isn't absurd.
 
Most retailers of region-free players sell the same models from the top brand names that you'll see in stores. Good retailers even sell high-end models that have been modified for universal region-free use. These players usually cost 20 - 40% more than the un-modified model, but the value is self-explanatory.
 
Now that you know how to play DVDs and Blu-ray discs from other countries, you can get on with watching your foreign movie titles. In fact, you can even start shopping for foreign discs to expand your collection! Just be sure that the player you decide do buy is advertised as being region-free, and be sure you're purchasing from a reputable retailer.