You have got with you that British TV series DVD that you have been after for ages. Now you are back home in USA. You are waiting impatiently to put it in your DVD player and watch the series. Something wrong! The only thing that you can see is the display, “Wrong Region” or words to that effect. You are quite amazed to see that. Is your DVD player not working? Or is the DVD faulty? Which one is it? The box, in which the DVD came in, says that the disc is Region Free, which would mean that it is meant for Region 0 or All Region. Doesn’t it mean that the DVD will play anywhere in the world? Well, good news is, that there is nothing wrong with your DVD player or the DVD disc. The bad news id that you are experiencing the wonderful world of DVD Region Coding or Region Locking as sometimes termed as. Are you asking me, what is DVD Region Coding and why it is needed?Do you want to learn more? link here
A Region Free, Region Free, Region Zero or All Region disc is supposed to play on any Region Locked player, but there is that question of compatibility between PAL and NTSC video formats. For example, suppose you got a Region Free DVD from UK and try to play it in a US NTSC player. The DVD will not play, since the disc is in PAL video format. There is a misconception that since the DVD is based on digital format, it matters less if your player plays NTSC or PAL. All digital video formats are based on either PAL or NTSC video systems.
But what are PAL and NTSC video systems? Let me briefly explain.
Countries all over the world use one of the three main TV broadcast standards. These three standards are – PAL NTSC and SECAM. But these three standards are incomplete with the other. Take for example the Region Free DVD, which you purchased in UK. It did not play correctly on a US NTSC DVD player because the DVD is in PAL video format. That misconception that I mentioned somewhere in my discussion above, does not hold good and as I said, all digital video formats, including DVD are still based on the PAL or NTSC video systems.
Let me briefly outline PAL and NTSC systems for a better understanding.
The first ever colour broadcast came to USA in 1953. This was based on NTSC – National Television System Committee standard. NTSC is being used by many countries in the American continent and as well as in Asia too, in countries including Japan. NTSC runs on 525 lines/frame.
Phase Alternating Line (PAL) system was introduced in early 1960s and was available in most European countries except France. PAL utilises a wider chanel-bandwidth than NTSC, which provides a better picture quality. This system runs on 625 lines/frame.
Sequential Couleur Avec Memoire or Sequential Colour with Memory (SECAM) standard was introduced in early 1960s and was implemented in France. SECAM transmits colour information sequentially but uses the same bandwidth as PAL. The standard runs on 625 lines/frame.