When UK Prime Minister Brown visited US President Obama he received 25 US DVDs. Of course what nobody at the time thought of were two things: region coding and signal format. Well, it turns out that Brown definitely ran into the region coding problem.
Most commercial DVDs released by movie studios are region coded so that DVDs bought in a certain part of the world only play in DVD players bought in that part of the world. It’s a simple way to ensure that if a movie is released on DVD in North America but is still in theaters overseas then those overseas folks can’t just import the DVD and watch it. It’s also used to ensure that if a DVD is available for less in another market then a customer from a higher priced region can’t import and watch it.
In the context of this post there are only two regions to deal with: Region 1 (Canada and US, basically countries north of Mexico) and Region 2 (Europe (except for Poland, Ukraine, and Russia), The Middle East (Iran and West including Egypt), South Africa, and Japan. Basically this means that DVDs purchased by Obama for Brown are not playable on regular UK DVD players. In order for Brown to play them he has to use a region free DVD player which he may not legally able to do. He could try and import a region free DVD player from China, or he could purchase a Region 1 DVD player, or he could simply purchase the Region 2 versions of the DVDs (yuck…more on this below).
Let’s consider each of the options. Importing a player from China is not an option as it would circumvent the “DRM” (term used loosely) on the DVD. If he imported a Region 1 player then he’d run into problem #2 which is signal format. North America uses 60 Hz (NTSC) whereas the UK uses 50 Hz (PAL) which means he’d try to playback a disc and his TV would probably say “No Signal”. If Brown still has his remote at this time (and it’s not lying outside on Downing Street) then he would probably be resigned to buying the Region 2 versions of the DVDs. The movie studios, player manufacturers, and lawyers would all do a happy jig. Coincidentally all of the three mentioned jiggers are the ones that own/run the consortium that license all this technology.
So what about that first option? The Region free player? Surely you’d still have the NTSC/PAL issue. Most likely not as most region free players also transcode from NTSC to PAL and vice versa. Interesting isn’t it? That you can use a simple box that probably costs the same as your normal DVD player to watch a movie that you can legally buy but probably can’t watch. By the way, you can also use a PC to do the transcoding but you probably run into legal issues again.
So there it is, in a nutshell, the problems that Brown faced and will probably continue to face.
The opening credits to “Watchmen” is one of the best credits I’ve seen to date. It’s unlike most other films in that it educates you to the events leading up to the movie. Most credit sequences are simply that…credit sequences and it’s rare to find sequences where you can’t pay attention to the titles because there’s simply something far too interesting going on.
Have returned from Snowplate 2009 up in Sudbury. It’s an amazing tournament that I suggest all attend next year. Photos coming soon.
Finally after a year or so I bring you an update.
I am working on a little project to update the platform that this blog/blag runs off of. I also expect to spawn several blogs targeting each specific area of my life: code, Ultimate, photography, and life in general. They will all merge back here on this site as I am working on a new form of blog sharing concept. I have to solidify the design for that before I publish it.
My subwoofer causes disc burning to fail.
Yes, I could drive a car even if my hands were flippers.
Here are all the photos I’ve posted on Flickr:
Or, the full collection: Italy 2008 Collection
Normally I wouldn’t post a trailer that’s as slow as this one but…the disco music at the end goes way back to my childhood and I’m hooked on that alone…darn movie companies know exactly how to get my money.
Second last day of practice…let’s see what’s starting to happen.
Where’s the sun?! It’s started raining now and it’s supposed to do so over the weekend/tournament. Weren’t many willing to practice today so I did a walk around the city. Of course, the lighting was bad so nothing good to report of…but here’s a video taken of the beach and the shells.