How coding farce could cripple DVD

Last week’s Cover Story on the rise of DVD was very interesting, but how could you fail to mention regional coding?

This feature, whereby discs are encoded according to where they are sold in the world (and may well be unplayable on machines used or bought elsewhere), is a complete shambles and to my mind constitutes the biggest obstacle to wider use of DVD.

This was never the case with compact discs and I am therefore free to buy CDs wherever I see them – many CDs may never be released in the UK but the enthusiast can buy mail order with confidence – be it blues, jazz, special editions, obscure bands or whatever.

Many foreign films will never be released here but can often be found on video cassette today and might make it on to DVD in other regions. I believe that BBC TV’s Watchdog recently highlighted this problem.

Of course the picture and sound quality are marvellous, but given the poor selection of Region 2 films currently available, here’s one potential customer who is definitely going to wait and (not) see.

Adrian Wickens





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