Regional codes

Updated: 02/01/2021 by Computer Hope

Alternatively called country codes and zone locks, regional codes are restrictions that allow motion picture studios to control the home viewing of movies in different countries. They are useful for preventing certain countries from viewing movies before the appropriate release date for that region. For example, a feature film may have been released in the United States, but isn't scheduled for release in Japan until the following week.

When purchasing a movie, it's important that you only buy products that can be used in your regional code. This code is printed or affixed on the back-bottom section of the movie's case. If you were to play a DVD (digital versatile disc) with an incorrect regional code, you would receive an error similar to that shown in the following box.

Illegal Region Code!
Your system is not suitable to play this DVD Disc!
Matched hardware and content is required.

Codes by region

There are six regional codes that apply to DVD and Blu-ray discs that are illustrated in the image below.

DVD regional codes map

  1. Canada, U.S., U.S. territories.
  2. Japan, Europe, South Africa, Middle East (including Egypt).
  3. Southeast Asia, East Asia (including Hong Kong).
  4. Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, Caribbean.
  5. Former Soviet Union, Indian Subcontinent, Africa (also North Korea, Mongolia).
  6. China.

CD terms