“Will my DVD play in Europe or the Middle East? “

October 24, 2017    

A few customers have asked a question I haven’t heard in awhile .

“Will my DVD play in Europe or the Middle East? ”

There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions about DVD playability worldwide.

2017 UPDATE: Some DVD players available worldwide are dual format and will support both PAL and NTSC formats. That being said, it depends on the age and type of system user is working with. So, no guarantee, similar to the way old CD decks in cars wont play CDR’s ( recordable cdrs) but manufactured cds would play on the same decks (due to old lasers not tracking properly or giving enough leeway) some older systems for DVD will not be compatible with anything other than the specific PAL or NTSC version required.


Most of the problems concern people who have a DVD and TV system called NTSC whereas basically most of the rest of the world has another system called PAL. The differences in systems are explained below. Simple incompatibility of systems/regions can prevent playback or the disc may play but with a distorted or jumping picture. Sometimes users can end up with a DVD they can‘t watch.

REGIONS ( too much info)

Due to rights issues, the staggered theatrical release of films worldwide and pricing differences, DVDs are issued with a Region code (shown on reverse of sleeve often in a small world symbol) as follows


Region 1 USA, Canada, US Territories
Region 2 Japan, UK Europe, South Africa, Middle East
Region 3 Southeast Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong and Thailand)
Region 4 Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South America, Caribbean
Region 5 Eastern Europe, Indian Subcontinent, Africa,
Region 6 China
Region 7 Reserved
Region 8 Special International Venues (Planes, Ships etc)
Region 0 Region Free DVD’s

All Region 1 DVDs are NTSC format. DVDs from other Regions may however be in either PAL or NTSC format. The main difference between North American systems and other countries is that other countries’ TV systems can play either PAL or NTSC DVDs whereas many US and Canadian TVs are NTSC only. Most North American DVD players are NTSC Region 1 only players.


Film on a DVD is stored in digital format, and is formatted for one of two TV standards (NTSC or PAL). So apart from the region code issue there is the problem of disc format (two different formats of DVD, NTSC or PAL).

The UK, Europe, Australia, etc use the 625 line 50Hz PAL system.

Japan, USA and Canada use the 525 line 60Hz NTSC system.

If you can’t play a PAL format DVD, although you have a multi-region DVD player, it’s possible that your TV is the problem and not the DVD.


Most DVD players and TVs sold in PAL countries can play both formats of discs, however, this does not mean they can play any DVD (because of region restrictions). For example, a basic European DVD player (PAL Region 2 only) will be able to play a Japanese disc (NTSC Region 2), but not a US (NTSC Region 1) disc. An American basic DVD player (NTSC Region 1) will not play any other Region’s DVD irrespective of format.

Many have multi-region DVD players. Users in regions other than Region 1 who have a multi-region DVD player can play any region’s DVD in ether format. US and Canadian users however may have a multi-region DVD player but if their TV has not been converted or is not PAL compatible then play will be affected.

Most North American DVD players can’t play PAL discs.

Basically if North Americans want to purchase DVDs from around the world then they must have a multi region DVD player and a PAL compatible TV system; or be willing to watch the movie using a pc/laptop’s DVD ROM drive (pc’s are not format dependent.

There are always different versions/deleted/oop DVDs and films not released in some countries, which buyers are after. So if you still want to play other Region DVDs the equipment you’ll need is:

1. A multi-region DVD player.

2. A PAL compatible TV set or a PAL/NTSC signal converter. Or alternatively you can watch a DVD via your DVD ROM drive on your PC/Laptop.

British, European and Australian Ebayers really have few problems playing any countries/other region DVDs in whatever format as long as they have a multi-region DVD player.


So, there is no concrete guaranteed answer but in my experience , lately most countries can play both formats if they are using a newer system.
Why couldn’t we all just get a long and use the same thing?