I’ve been asked about whether region coding has been abandoned for Blu-ray, and I reckon it’s worth revisiting the topic briefly. So here’s my take.
No, unfortunately region coding hasn’t been abandoned. But there have been changes. Basically, Universal, Paramount and Warner Bros have never used region coding (except for some Universal titles sold here and in Europe which are Studio Canal movies). Sony, Fox and Disney started off using region coding for just about everything, but have since been dropping it for the most part.
But there are no guarantees for any particular title, and some Australian and European titles are still region coded. This is largely because of distribution territory agreements. For example, the Australian release of the 1994 movie, The Crow, is locked to Region B, and that’s only just about to come out now.
I am aware that the occasional US title is still released with is locked to Region A.
The best way to be confident about a possible purchase’s region code is to check the Blu-ray Region Code Info site.
I contribute to the latter. Generally contributors are encouraged to use one of several formal tests for region coding. The labels on the packs (even where present) are completely unreliable. I even have a couple of discs which have ABC printed on the back, but are actually locked to Region A!
Australians buying from overseas should try to buy from the UK rather than the US, because they share Region B with us, so there shouldn’t be any problems.