What Format Do USA DVD Players Use?


While most people simply buy their DVDs at retail, knowing more about what formats are available can open up new entertainment possibilities.

Region Code

  • DVDs are coded by region to allow for staggered distribution around the world. America is part of Region 1; USA DVD players are set to that region by default and will only play those discs.

Region-Free Players

  • Some players allow you to adjust the region setting, or to simply go region-less, allowing you to play DVDs from other countries.

Signal Type

  • It's important to note that the United States uses a different television signal standard than much of the rest of the world. Imported PAL DVDs will not play on TV sets using the standard National Television System Committee (NTSC) system in the United States, unless the player can convert it.

User Media

  • Some DVD players can play other formats, including home-burned DVD-R discs, as well as more obscure formats such as Video CD. Some can even play .mp3 music files burned to CD.

DVD vs. Blu-Ray

  • Standard DVD players use discs that can hold about 4.7 gigabytes of data, or dual-layer discs that can hold 8.5 gigabytes. Blu-Ray discs can hold five times as much data or more, offering better picture and audio quality.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Eric
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