Region code

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The regional code is a technical feature for digital rights management .

Storage media

Used on DVD-Video and Blu-ray Disc , it is intended to prevent films stored on these media from being played worldwide. For this purpose, suitable software or hardware-based devices are used to check whether a player has the same regional code as the inserted storage medium.

DVD video

For DVD-Video , implementation of region codes is not optional. However, the manufacturer has the option of approving a DVD for use in several or all regions. This is provided with "regional code 0". With playback devices, however, there is definitely the possibility that no regional code has been set. If a video DVD does not explicitly prevent playback on code-free playback devices by means of special script routines ( Region Code Enhanced , RCE), DVDs of all regions can be played on such devices.

DVD-Video region codes
code region
1 United States, Canada, and US Outer Territories
2 Western and Central Europe (including French overseas territories and Greenland), South Africa, Egypt and the Middle East, Japan
3 Southeast Asia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan
4th Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Central America, South America
5 Russia and other countries of the former USSR, Eastern Europe, India and other countries in Asia, Africa (except Egypt and South Africa)
6th People's Republic of China
7th Reserved for future use, occasionally used for press samples
8th International territory, for example in airplanes or on ships

In the case of region-protected DVDs (not RCE DVDs), the region code is stored in the file VIDEO_TS.IFO ( table VMGM_MAT ) in the byte at offset 35.

Each bit of this byte that is not set indicates the released regions, which results in the following masks for only one released region:

  • R1: 1111 1110
  • R2: 1111 1101
  • R3: 1111-1011
  • R4: 1111 0111
  • R5: 1110 1111
  • R6: 1101 1111
  • R7: 1011 1111
  • R8: 0111 1111

With a region-free DVD - often referred to as Region 0 -, but also with RCE-protected DVDs, no bits are set. Some DVDs are only "pseudo-region-free"; That is, Regions 1-6 are supported, but Region 7 and / or Region 8 are not:

  • R1-R6: 1100 0000
  • R1-R6 + R8: 0100 0000

The RCE protection can be hidden in all IFO files. An RCE-protected DVD can only be released for one region. For a long time, RCE was used exclusively by Columbia Tristar and only for Region 1 DVDs. Only since around 2008 have other labels been using this technology and using it on DVDs for other regions.

Blu-ray disc

In contrast to other formats originally conceived as a successor to DVD (e.g. HD DVD ), the Blu-ray Disc provides a regional code, although there are only three regions that therefore differ from the regions of DVD. For a license-compliant Blu-ray player, exactly one region code must be set. For the Blu-ray storage media, however, the use of regional codes is optional, and many manufacturers are currently not implementing them. About 70% of all films currently available on Blu-ray Disc are code-free.

Region codes of the Blu-ray Disc
code region
A / 1 North and South America (excluding French overseas territories), Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia
B / 2 Europe (including French overseas territories and Greenland, excluding Russia, Ukraine and Belarus), Middle East, Africa, Oceania
C / 3 India, Nepal, China, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Central and South Asia

Unlike the DVD region code, the Blu-ray region code is only queried by the playback software, but not by the drive or the computer operating system. With standalone players it is part of the firmware. You can find hacks on the Internet with which you can reset the region counter of playback programs and thus make them multi-regional.

There are already some standalone Blu-ray players that can play discs from region A as well as from region B (region C is usually not supported, so these players are not really region-free, but most Blu-ray rays from region C are code-free).

A newer variant of the Blu-ray region code checks not only the region, but also the country code of the playback software or the player. That means z. For example, even though the USA and Japan are both in Region A, some US discs cannot be played in Japan and vice versa because the two countries have different country codes (Japan: 19024 [Hex: 4A50], USA: 21843 [Hex : 5553]).



Printer cartridges from Hewlett-Packard are provided with a regional code Date of 2004. Therefore, they will not work in printers with a different region code unless the user contacts technical support so that the appropriate region can be reassigned to the device.

HP printers have four regions:

  • Region 1: America, Greenland, Australia, New Zealand, North / South Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, East Asia
  • Region 2: Western Europe, Turkey
  • Region 3: CIS , Africa, Middle East, Japan
  • Region 4: China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan), India

The region can be changed three times; then the printer is set to the region.


Lexmark printers use several regional coding systems:

  • z. B. the color laser printers OfficeEdge Pro4000, OfficeEdge Pro4000c, OfficeEdge Pro5500, OfficeEdge Pro5500t, CS310, CS410
    • Region 1: America
    • Region 2: Greenland, EU, EFTA
    • Region 3 (called Region 8 in CS310, CS410 color laser printers): Former Yugoslav states and the rest of the world (Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Australia)
  • z. B. the monochrome laser printer MS710, MS810
    • Region 1: USA, Canada
    • Region 2: Greenland, EU, EFTA
    • Region 3: Asia, Australia, New Zealand
    • Region 4: Central and South America
    • Region 5: Former Yugoslav countries, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Africa


Canon printer cartridges for the Pixma MP 480 do not work in printers of this type if they have a different region code (even if it is explicitly listed on the packaging of the Canon printer cartridges).


Epson ink cartridges also have a region code.


Xerox also uses region codes. Your printers are shipped with neutral factory ink sticks without a region code. After inserting the first new ink stick after the factory stick, the printer adjusts itself to the regional code of the ink stick used and from this point on only accepts ink sticks for this region.

Common regional settings are:

  • NA (North America)
  • Metered NA
  • DMO (developing markets such as Asia and South America)
  • XE (Europe)

Regionalized activation of software and devices

Kaspersky uses regionalized activation codes for its antivirus software, on the one hand to provide additional protection against international software piracy, and on the other hand because it sells its products in different regions at different prices. Once activated, the software can be used in any region. Problems can arise if the license has to be renewed or the software has to be reinstalled in a different region than the one for which the license was purchased. The region is determined based on the IP address, so an internet connection is required for activation.

The Galaxy smartphones from Samsung sold in America and Europe must be activated by a local SIM card, but can then also be used in other regions. The regionalized activation is intended to prevent gray imports.

Region blocked credit cards

Some credit cards can be blocked for certain regions of the world to protect against theft and misuse abroad. If the cardholder wishes to travel abroad and use his card there, the block for the corresponding region can be temporarily lifted.

Individual evidence

  1. Lawrence Latif: HP unlocks printer regionalization . May 14, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  2. ^ Finding and Installing Cartridges after Moving to Another Country . HP. Archived from the original on February 8, 2014. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved March 8, 2014. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /