Woefully OT (was Re: DVD regions)

Roger Burton West roger at firedrake.org
Mon Sep 22 15:18:55 EDT 2003

On Sat, Sep 20, 2003 at 12:43:14PM -0600, Jacob Proffitt wrote:
>There are different encoding standards between the different regions.
>European TVs tend to require the PAL standard.  US TVs use NTSC.  When I
>burn DVDs, it forces me to choose which of those standards to use, so
>I'm guessing that the DVDs have to be encoded with the right standard
>right at the data level.  If there's less extras on EU DVDs then I'd
>guess that the PAL standard isn't as compressed as NTSC.  That's just a
>guess, though.

You're correct, but it isn't much of a reason for the content to be 
noticeably different. The output resolution and frame rate have to be 
different (625 lines at 25 fps for PAL and SECAM, 525 at 29.97 for 
NTSC), and all three systems have different encoding formats (SECAM's 
only used in France and French colonies, though, so hardly anyone 
supports it), but when one's encoding a video signal for DVD one can 
also play with the stored resolution (it's usually about 500-600-ish 
lines) and the compression level (higher compression leaves you with a 
smaller file on the disc but with more oddities in the picture during 
playback)... and given that most DVDs are not shipped anything like 
full, even when there are significant amounts of extras on the disc, 
there are lots of ways round the problem - though it does require a 
little bit of attention, since it's not usually something one can do 

Although it is often the case, as Charlie said, that the US version of a
DVD contains a lot more in the way of extras than the UK/EU version,
it's not all one-way; I know quite a few Americans who want the UK
versions of particular discs, and there's a similar trade to and from
Australia. I suspect the general trend may come from there being more
DVDs released in the USA than anywhere else, and hence more competition.

Sometimes there are concerns about rights to release material in a given
market (one of the other reasons for having region coding in the first
place), but mostly I think one has to chalk differences between regions
up to politics between studios and distributors combined with a lack of
reason for the studios to make any particular effort in the matter.

This is now getting exceptionally off-topic even for me, so I'll shut

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