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Topic # 190729 10-Jan-2016 16:59
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Why are there still regional differences in Blu Ray, at least between English speaking countries? There was NTSC and PAL for DVD, so the variation sort of made sense then, but now virtually all BD movies are 1920x1080@24fps. Now the differences seem to only exist to screw everyone who isn't American. Missing features like commentary tracks, inferior packaging for special editions etc.

I just discovered that The Sopranos was finally released as a complete BD collection in late 2014. I was thinking of buying it, but then I see that our one is missing the Apple/Google digital copies, 28th disk and god knows what else. The US one is even region free, so why can't that just be the one standard version for all English speaking countries? Why do I have to spend hours researching every BD I want to buy and inevitably end up paying through the nose to get it shipped from overseas?

I also noticed this in the Star Wars complete collection I bought last week. It's the 2015 version (as opposed to 2011 version with different art), but evidently there is variation even within the 2015 version. I looked at some reviews and they all show an embossed shell containing a blue plastic case. Mine is a smooth shell with cardboard innards that fold out like a book with plastic disk holders glued on. Which configuration is superior is debatable (I'd prefer the plastic case), but why the hell is there any difference in the first place? Just for fun? Market research shows that New Zealanders (or rather Australians) don't like embossing?


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  Reply # 1467106 10-Jan-2016 17:03
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Who knows? The US copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy have the original theatrical subtitles for the Elvish bits and can be projected at 2.39:1, whereas the UK versions have "player-generated" subtitles sitting off the bottom of the image. No idea about the NZ ones because they cost 50% more than UK at the time...

The US version of "Taken" is watchable, with player-generated subtitles during the French bits. The NZ version has no subtitles at all.

I believe that US versions of many Studio Ghibli movies have had aggressive "noise reduction" applied, whereas the Japanese ones look much closer to how they did in the theatre. The NZ version of "Ponyo" has the Japanese text scrubbed out of the actual video and replaced with English, rather than just subtitling it.

NZ versions of the Millennium trilogy have English subtitles hard-coded directly into the picture, complete with typos and at least one encoding error.

The NZ and US versions of "Frozen" have the left and right edges cropped off. I've heard that the Japanese version doesn't, but haven't been able to confirm this (and, to be honest, don't really care enough!).

The US version of Casino Royale has some scenes censored. The original UK release had different scenes censored, but later releases have restored them. The NZ version was uncut.

The UK version of The Avengers has a character spontaneously dying to something off screen, because it was deemed "too violent" to show the actual attack. The US and NZ versions show him being attacked.


I'm actually glad that these regional differences exist as it allows discerning customers to hunt down the "definitive" editions. Imagine if every country got the same poor release!

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  Reply # 1467127 10-Jan-2016 17:42
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They can still limit the items sold in each country without the coding of the discs.

Its to protect places from the ease of parallel importing. Look at the hassle the warehouse had when regionfree was not the norm on DVD players. Thankfully the blueray market is less split priced that dvd.




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  Reply # 1467195 10-Jan-2016 19:32
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At least we share region with UK unlike the ridiculous region 4 business on DVDs.

I buy most of my blu rays from UK as I already have Amazon account there.

A.





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  Reply # 1467224 10-Jan-2016 20:04
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afe66: At least we share region with UK unlike the ridiculous region 4 business on DVDs.

I buy most of my blu rays from UK as I already have Amazon account there.

A.




My problem with buying stuff from overseas (aside from the added cost) is the low survival rate. Amazon's packaging is especially useless. For CDs, it's a cardboard sleeve with no lining. There's certainly no point trying to buy any kind of collector type items, because it's almost inevitable that the packaging will be ruined. 

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  Reply # 1467241 10-Jan-2016 20:48
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I prefer to get them from overseas because local ones are defaced with that ugly red 16/18 sticker on the case.




Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 1467292 11-Jan-2016 04:05
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Hi all over the years I have bought lots of movies. The differences go further than cropping etc to completely different audio tracks for example I have come across Dolby true HD 5.1 on a disc in NZ and the US had 7.1 ? I really want to get all the movies studio heads together and say why not just make the same disc for all regions it would cost them less ,add subtitles etc but in the menu give the end user the option of playing them.




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  Reply # 1467299 11-Jan-2016 07:28
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Ah yes, many of the early James Bond movies have the original mono tracks on the US releases, but only the 5.1 remixes on the NZ ones. Thunderball is almost unwatchable because the remix is horrendous.

Why must they do this?!

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  Reply # 1467328 11-Jan-2016 08:38
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Behodar: Who knows? The US copies of the Lord of the Rings trilogy have the original theatrical subtitles for the Elvish bits and can be projected at 2.39:1, whereas the UK versions have "player-generated" subtitles sitting off the bottom of the image. No idea about the NZ ones because they cost 50% more than UK at the time...

The US version of "Taken" is watchable, with player-generated subtitles during the French bits. The NZ version has no subtitles at all.

I believe that US versions of many Studio Ghibli movies have had aggressive "noise reduction" applied, whereas the Japanese ones look much closer to how they did in the theatre. The NZ version of "Ponyo" has the Japanese text scrubbed out of the actual video and replaced with English, rather than just subtitling it.

NZ versions of the Millennium trilogy have English subtitles hard-coded directly into the picture, complete with typos and at least one encoding error.

The NZ and US versions of "Frozen" have the left and right edges cropped off. I've heard that the Japanese version doesn't, but haven't been able to confirm this (and, to be honest, don't really care enough!).

The US version of Casino Royale has some scenes censored. The original UK release had different scenes censored, but later releases have restored them. The NZ version was uncut.

The UK version of The Avengers has a character spontaneously dying to something off screen, because it was deemed "too violent" to show the actual attack. The US and NZ versions show him being attacked.


I'm actually glad that these regional differences exist as it allows discerning customers to hunt down the "definitive" editions. Imagine if every country got the same poor release!


Its hard to imagine how these decisions were made, and how they could stuff up some of these configurations so badly.

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  Reply # 1467376 11-Jan-2016 09:59
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The regions were to have a 'controlled' release of movies - so they could take their time with the cinema release. eg release a film in the USA. Film finishes screening in the USA but hasnt been shown in the theatres in the UK yet. Release the blu-ray for the USA market - useless for anyone outside of the USA. etc

I think the movie companies now release on digital media and try and release most big name movies pretty much at the same time all over the world in an effort to try and thwart piracy. So the Blu-ray region protection seems a bit out of date now. Especially so when you take into account online streaming services which never existed when the Blu-ray disk first came to market.





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  Reply # 1467379 11-Jan-2016 10:03
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The staggered cinema release was because film prints cost real money. So they would shuffle the prints around where possible as things were screening in fewer cinemas in one market, move them to another.

The amusing thing is that they think the purchase of a second or third $50 player is a disincentive to getting vastly cheaper, often better media, quicker.




Richard rich.ms



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  Reply # 1467540 11-Jan-2016 13:15
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Is it really that much cheaper buying BDs etc. from overseas? I do it because I want a specific version/master of a BD or CD, not to save money. For me it usually ends up more expensive, and I also have to factor in the cost of replacements for the shipping-mangled cases.

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  Reply # 1467545 11-Jan-2016 13:17
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If you are getting quantity of current things, then yeah its cheaper. Once things are in the bargain bin type range then no, its cheaper locally.

Shipping a single disc is silly. Takes about 5-6 to make it worthwhile. Combine orders with friends etc to get the price down. Thing is noone I know is really into movies anymore and there is streaming so buying round shineys is really only for special things.




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  Reply # 1467613 11-Jan-2016 14:16
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I don't buy from UK Amazon  because it's cheaper, often I find it easier.
Release dates for films I'm interested in often on blu ray before or very shortly after film shown here.
When I've tried nz sites they often are 2 weeks to deliver so just get from UK.

Probably bought 20 in last 18months , all turned up fine and undamaged. Maybe I'm lucky.
Mind you never had issues with DVD box sets either.

A.






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  Reply # 1467626 11-Jan-2016 14:30
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afe66: I don't buy from UK Amazon  because it's cheaper, often I find it easier.
Release dates for films I'm interested in often on blu ray before or very shortly after film shown here.
When I've tried nz sites they often are 2 weeks to deliver so just get from UK.

Probably bought 20 in last 18months , all turned up fine and undamaged. Maybe I'm lucky.
Mind you never had issues with DVD box sets either.

A.





How many do you buy at once? I wonder what impact volume has on packaging effort. Would 5 CDs merit a proper box? I always assumed that it would be worse because they'd just stuff several items into the same type of useless one-layer cardboard sleeve, and the things would just grind against each other a make it worse.

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  Reply # 1467932 11-Jan-2016 20:04
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It's not just cost. Often discs released in some markets don't make it to NZ or, as noted above, get released here in a butchered version missing scenes and extras that may be in (for example) the North American or European releases. If you are a collector/enthusiast, that sort of thing matters.

In case I want to import discs (which I rarely do) or buy parallel imported ones from the likes of the Warehouse bargain bins (which I do infrequently, probably a couple of times a year), I made sure that my players were Multi-Zone before buying them. And they both are (for both DVD and Blu-Ray).

However, it's much less of an issue now that it used to be. Due to streaming options I buy films on shiny discs much less than I used to. I also tend to rip any purchased discs to my networked media server as soon as I get them, and then store them away, rather than watch the disc itself in a player.

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