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Don’t buy Original Movie DVDs in China

October 15, 2008 – 2:59 pm

original terminator dvd in open dvd case

My original Terminator 3 Rebellion of the Machines DVD. Plastic waste.

Warning: Never buy fake DVDs, that’s illegal.

This time I was in China I also bought some movies to watch them later at home. Watching movies in Chinese is one of my Chinese learning methods. So I bought a bunch of DVDs in Hong Kong, made sure it was typed 国语 (guóyǔ – Chinese) on the DVD case backside and put them in my bag. Now at home I discovered what a mistake. Those original DVDs don’t run in my DVD drive properly. They have a different region code than my European DVDs and I can only switch my CD/DVD drive’s region code only 4 times.

What is a region code?

Until that day I never encountered something like region codes. So I did a quick Google and found out. Someday in the past some big fat money guy was bored and thought about an idea how they could earn more money. So they thought that the world should be divided in regions. And then they decided that each CD/DVD drive should be assigned to a region. Every CD/DVD drive then should only be able to play only CDs or DVDs assigned to that matching region. In his tremendous benevolence the big fat money guy furthermore decided that CD/DVD may alter their region setting a few times. In case of my Lenovo Thinkpad R60 drive this is 4 times. After that I can only watch movies of one region, the other movies are lost.

That sounds like unfair

Yes, very unfair. While I’m not sure about all the goals of this measure I can guess why these were introduced. Here are my guesses:

  • To let the big fat money guy earn more money
  • To protect our environment: Oversee bought DVDs have to be transported by plane to their destination first, what a fuel waste.
  • To prohibit cultural understanding: DVDs in a different language can better cultural understanding. Big fat money guy says no to this. Maybe he wants the people to remain dumb?

Avoid buying original movie DVDs in China at all costs

The movie industry is crying because most of the movie DVDs sold in China are copies. No wonder: People would rather buy a illegal copy than a movie that is not working at all with their DVD drive. I can only warn You: Don’t buy that not-working shit. I’m not saying to buy illegal copied movies, that would be illegal, so don’t do that. But what is important to me: Don’t buy originals if You plan to use European or US DVDs at the same time. Big fat money guy will only rip You off Your hard earned money.

Now that You have saved some money I can recommend You to make some holidays. Enjoy some adventures in Shilin Stoneforrest or enjoy a cold beer in the Hump Bar Kunming.

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  1. 5 Responses to “Don’t buy Original Movie DVDs in China”

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  4. You could solve this problem simply buy purchasing a region-free DVD player from China. They are very affordable and come in many choices. They will play DVD from any regions.

    By Link on Mar 21, 2010

  5. Buy a Japanese brand of DVD player. Even from before they are the ones who produced “region-free” DVD players. The only time I ever concerned myself with region codes was when a seller on ebay told me to make sure my player could read it. I said I don’t know and don’t care just send me the DVD. I’ve never had problems with reading DVDs on my panasonic and Korean samsung DVD players, regardless of whichever region the DVDs were.

    By Elizabeth on Oct 13, 2010

  6. You may want to consider this:
    For a standalone DVD player, buy any Japanese brand (Samsung is a very good example) and search for DVD player unlock codes in Google. Almost all standalone DVD players can be unlocked through a special code with their remote controllers (this means they will be able to play any region DVDs).

    For a computer/notebook DVD player (it seems this is your specific case), search for DVD Region Unlocker software, such as DVD Idle’s DVD Region-Free (, Slysoft’s AnyDVD ( or DVD Region Free Master ( Have fun learning chinese.

    By Exar Kun on Jun 1, 2011

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