TV Color Systems and DVD Regions

Page last updated February 2004

Living in the US but having a major residence in Europe can be rather difficult sometimes. Among others, especially watching TV and DVDs. So I'm confronted with two different TV color systems, PAL in Germany and NTSC in the US. DVDs bought in the US will not necessarily play in Germany, not only due to the different color systems, also because of the different region codings at the DVD.
To play such NTSC DVDs bought in the US on a PAL TV set in Germany a multisystem, multiregion, codefree zone free DVD player is recommended similar to some of those listed here. At the same place are also Video converters (between PAL, NTSC, and SECAM) available and phones which work across borders. One much more expensive brand would be the excellent multisystem multiregion DVD player from Arcam maybe together with that 1000 Watt receiver.


There are three major TV color systems, NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. From those, PAL and SECAM each have 4 different subsystems.

There are six different DVD regions:
  • Region 1 - USA and Canada
  • Region 2 - Europe, Japan, the Middle East, North Africa, Egypt, and South Africa
  • Region 3 - Taiwan, The Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Hong Kong
  • Region 4 - Mexico, Central America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean
  • Region 5 - Russia, Eastern Europe, India, North Korea, and East and West Africa
  • Region 6 - China.

The problem does not occur when using MS Media Player on a computer. So connecting a computer to the TV set instead of a usual DVD player will also work properly - maybe harder without the remote control. Ofcourse, there is also software which can be used to read a DVD with any region code or color system and to burn a new DVD with any other coding. However, due to legal constraints, this subject cannot be explained here in more detail.

Antenna Based HDTV Setup

If you want to spend less money, there is also a $ 199 version of HDTV by Gary Krakow who states that the Terk HD TV 1 antenna is obviously a better choice for big cities like New York. It has paid off for me to google Gary Krakow from time to time for some of his excellent articles.