Packaging errors on Blu-ray discs

I use AnyDVD HD to help me analyse DVDs, Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs. However it hasn’t been of as much help with determining the region codes of Blu-ray discs as it has been with DVDs. I raised this on the AnyDVD HD forum and one of the developers advised that apparently the programming of Blu-ray discs is so hard that it can be very difficult to determine for certain what the Region code of these is. Fair enough.

Meanwhile, someone suggested that I check the back of the disc box to determine the Region Code. I replied that this is unreliable.

Sure, disc distributors try their best, but they frequently do get things wrong. Take easily checkable things, for example. I have all three of the versions of Superman Returns that were released in Australia: PAL DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray. All three have errors of fact on their packaging, a different error in each case! One got the audio standards used wrong, one got the program length wrong, one got the video quality on the special extras wrong. I even have a special text field in my disc database for recording the errors!

There is not much incentive for movie distributors to get region coding correct. The only thing they need do is assure purchasers in the areas in which they are sold that they will work with local hardware.

For example, I have sitting on my desk right before me twelve BDs I have acquired from the US. Of these:

  • four are region free and have no region marking on the back
  • one is region free and has Regions A, B and C marked on the back
  • four are region free but are clearly marked Region A
  • two are Region A and are clearly marked Region A
  • one is Region A, but has Regions A, B and C marked on the back!

I write equipment reviews for a living. I am always somewhat skeptical of manufacturer specifications. That extends to discs.

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