Even in the world of cutting edge electronic technology, sometimes it seems impossible to find two devices that are compatible. We have laptops and smartphones, wireless speakers, surround sound systems, cameras, audio devices, USB ports, HDMI ports, ethernet, charging devices, converters, wireless remotes and the list goes on and on. We have drawers full of chargers and cables, batteries, adapters and manuals. Often times we find ourselves having to purchase a device that allows us to properly use the device we just bought; it can seem like complete madness. Then, other times we find ourselves jumping with joy at the fact that our new purchase was so simple to use - just like it says on the box.
While we'd like to think that all this technology would make things easier, sometimes it seems like more of a hassle than it's worth. There are hundreds if not thousands of major electronics manufacturers - and let's face it - they're not all working together to make sure your devices are compatible. Surely you can mirror movies from your iPhone to your TV but it only works with certain TVs, and of course there's bugs and if you DO manage to figure it out, the phone usually disconnects from the TV once the screen locks. We've all been there where we just can't seem to achieve what we want.
Let's jump forward to Blu-ray and DVD technology. Aside from surround sound or hard to reach wires, Blu-ray and DVD Players are relatively easy to hookup and use. They come assembled, have a power cable connected and then require audio/video to be connected to your TV - not a huge chore. But what comes into play, and what we're going to focus on is the ability to travel internationally, relocate or utilize your Blu-ray or DVD player with foreign TVs and even play discs from other countries. This can cause some major headaches if your unversed in how it works. In fact, many people are unaware that this is nearly impossible without the proper technology.
Firstly, let's quickly discuss the fact that for reasons beyond our control, Blu-ray and DVD discs are embedded with a digital code called a region code. What this does is ensures that a Blu-ray Disc or DVD purchased in Europe will only work with a player that was also purchased in Europe. The same goes for other regions of the world - a North American player will only play discs purchased (and encoded by default) within North America. If you purchased movies overseas, either in person or online, the chances are they will not be recognized and will not play on your player at home.
For Blu-ray, there are 3 different regions - A, B, and C. For DVD, there are 9 different regions, 0 - 8. Discs from other regions are simply not compatible unless played with a player that was manufactured to be used in that region.
Luckily, there is a workaround. A Region-Free Blu-ray or DVD Player is a player that has been professionally modified (by a third-party, they cannot be purchased in retail stores) to play any disc from any region of the world. This allows you to travel with your player, relocate with your player or purchase movies from other areas of the world and actually watch them ON... your player! That's right. These units are basically guaranteed to play a disc from anywhere in the world - and that is a wonderful thing. But, there's more potential issues.
The next issue with traveling or utilizing foreign electronics is the fact that different areas of the world use different standard voltages. In North America, the voltage at your normal electrical outlet is 120 volts. This means that all players sold in the US (as well as all other electronics) are designed to operate at the standard 120 volts. Likewise, Europe and much of Asia operate at a standard voltage of 240 volts. Any attempt to simply plug in a 120 volt Blu-ray or DVD Player into a 240 volt outlet would be catastrophic, at least for your player. The voltage is far too high and would literally fry your device within seconds, if not instantly.
Again, we're going to deep the advantages of the technology behind a Region-Free Player - since they are made to play discs from any region, most are also modified to work at either voltage, from 110 volts to 240 volts. All you need to do is flick a switch on the back to set the proper voltage input and it can be used anywhere in the world. There is no need for an external voltage converter, although you might need a plug adapter since foreign electrical outlets vary.
Needless to say, you've already got a player that can play discs from anywhere in the whorl and can also be powered by any voltage in any country. That is cool! But still, there lies one more problem, and this one is with the TV.
PAL to NTSC Conversion
The last problem with trying to utilize a foreign Blu-ray or DVD player is that foreign TVs use different color and video formats and sometimes a different frame rate. This is determined by the electronic signal that is encoded digitally. The two most common standards are NTSC and PAL, and you probably wouldn't even know about them unless you're reading this.
NTSC is the North American standard format and it transmits 30 frames per second. Each of those 30 frames is composed of 525 individual lines. PAL is used mostly overseas, and with this format there are only 25 frames per second and each is made up of 625 lines.
A NTSC TV (basically any TV in North America) will not work with a player that is from another country where the format is PAL. The same goes for using a NTSC player in a country that utilizes PAL, since the TVs will all feature PAL formatting.
Generally, you'd need an external video converter that changes the signal from PAL to NTSC or from NTSC to pal so your player can operate with a local TV. Wow, this is really seeming to be quite a hassle. But again, we have good news as the vast majority of (but not all) Region-Free Players are equipped with internal PAL to NTSC converters which do all the dirty work for us. See? Technology isn't so bad after all. Just make sure you find a player that has the internal conversion before making your purchase.
What we're seeing here is that Region-Free Blu-ray and DVD Players are a savior. They can save time, money, tons of headaches and offer a huge amount of flexibility by allowing us to watch a movie from anywhere in the world, on almost any TV in the world, at any voltage! Now that is what we call an accomplishment. We've also eliminated the need for a voltage transformer and external video converter completely. It's basically plug and play!
Naturally, as specialists in international relocation since 1979, 220 Electronics carries a wide selection of Region-Free Blu-ray and DVD Players. Best of all, we are able to guarantee the lowest prices in the world and we ship worldwide. You can shop from the comfort of your own home today at www.220-Electronics.com or just stop by to browse our large inventory. If you're concerned about using electronics overseas, we have all of the products and resources you could ever need.