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Region coding for DVD movies can sometimes be a nuisance. DVDs are typically encoded with a specific region, meaning that they will only play in DVD players or drives manufactured in that zone. This is a way for movie studios to control release dates and content on the discs. Some discs are region-free, meaning they can play no matter where the machine was manufactured.
When purchasing a DVD you can see the code, usually somewhere on the bottom of the back cover, that will tell you which countries it was meant for. Region codes for DVDs will be 1 through 8, or say ALL. Blu-ray codes are different, though. There are only three regions for this format: A, B or C. For North America the DVD code is 1, and for Blu-ray it is A.
Many computers purchased in stores with internal DVD drives will be set to a specific region. For laptop computers, it is becoming more common for the region to be initially left open and require the customer to select it once they purchase and set up the machine. Some laptops will also allow you to change the region code, a feature designed more for people who travel and purchase a computer in a country other than their own. Many computers with this function will only let you change the region three times and then lock on the third one, so be aware of that catch.