Been feeling grumpy this week about people who produce Christian resources that use DVDs and then who region-code them. Had a few possibilities for really good resources for using with our house group but they are only available in Region 2 coding. Not a problem, you might say, just use a region-free DVD player (commonly available outside of the US) to play them. Several problems with this.
- My iBook is now locked on Region 4 after it’s 5 possible region changes have been used up (and can’t be reset). So I can’t view the material there which would be my preference.
- At least one of the producers won’t ship to NZ because the disk is Region-2. So even if I can play it they won’t deliver “out of zone” (even though their mission statement declares they’re producing materials to take Jesus to the whole world. Maybe their Bible says “Therefore go and make disciples of all in DVD Region 2, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”).
- There are no plans for Region 4 (Aus/NZ etc.) coding of the DVDs, nor distribution here.
Now I know that some argue that DVD region coding is good because it prevents movies being sold in a region before it gets released in the cinema (of course, that falls down where you live somewhere where the film never comes, nor the DVD for your region). But why should that affect producing material for the kingdom of God (especially if you’re not part of some larger media empire). And yes, there are the PAL/NTSC/SECAM issues – but surely it’s not rocket science to produce a multi-zone DVD (“Region 0”). If you write a book on discipleship or mission you don’t make it so only readers in the UK can physically read it. So here’s my list of suggestions for Christian content producers (including theological colleges and emergent-types):
- Please encode the DVD with a multi-zone format if you can.
- Ship disks out of zone anyway.
- Grow your “market” globally. Don’t forget about the rest of the world outside of regions 1 & 2. Some of us actually want to pay you for good resources that we can use, even if we’re not the “target market”.
- Make your websites accept international orders – especially if you’re not going to ship any disks to retailers here.
Enough ranting – time to prepare dinner.
Relevant DVD links
- www.dvddemystified.com : What are “regional codes,” “country codes,” or “zone locks”?
- hometheater.about.com : Region Codes – DVD’s Dirty Secret (interesting comments about the possibily of region-coding being used for price-fixing)
- wikipedia.org : DVD