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What the hell is with region coding? Isn’t this a terrifically out of date idea in todays global society? I mean really. Here is my tirade about region coding.
I love cinema. I watch those crazy movies all the time. I recently got one of those big HD televisions so now I can watch all my favourite gems in beautiful, clear widescreen. It’s honestly sometimes better than going to the cinema where I frequently put up with a dull image and rustling malteser packets that make me grind my teeth.
But can I actually enjoy all the movies I want to? No. Here’s the deal. I’ve been putting off watching my favourite movie, Two-Lane Blacktop, until I got a new Blu-ray player that will upscale my dvds. So I went to the shop to get a blu-ray player and I asked which ones were multi-zoned so I could watch dvds I had purchased from overseas. Turns out none of them were. Really? None of them? Well, some of them could be de-coded but it’s illegal and voids your warranty. Ok.
So, can I enjoy my beautiful Criterion Collection copies of Shoot the Piano Player or The Last Picture Show on my new TV? No. They are region 1 encoded. Okay, I can get them in region 4, but what about Hal Ashby’s Being There starring Peter Sellers. It’s impossible to find a region 4 copy of this and it took me a year and a half by sheer chance to find a region 2 copy that was under 50 NZ dollars. Can’t watch that either. Harder than walking on water.
So what am I to do? Never buy Criterion Collection dvds again? I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to hear that I can’t purchase their products because of region coding. And what about all the rare films I can’t get here on region 4 that I really want to see? What are my options? Well downloading them illegally is one. So really region coding just drives willing consumers to flout the law and contribute to the very illegal activity region coding supposedly prevents.
What a mess. And Criterion just released Harold and Maude. Maude would be fucked off I reckon. What am I supposed to do buy a player from each region and have three extremely expensive players stacked up on top of each other? Well, it seems like the only way right now. Horse-shit.
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