Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bringing American DVDs (Region 1) to Korea: Will they work?

Here's the question:
Should I bring my US Region 1 NTSC DVDs to Korea? I thought I could use them not only as time killers when I'm bored, but also use them for class lessons for conversation class.I understand that South Korea is Region 3 and PAL.

Man, I wish I knew about this stuff when I first came over. I brought all of my Arrested Development DVDs with the same idea you have: that if I was bored or needed something familiar in a new country, all I had to do was pop in a DVD and I would be okay. Well, if you're bringing a computer from home, then you'll have no problems viewing the DVDs from its player. However, once here you'll realize that there are scores of DVD bootleggers on the streets selling decent quality movies and TV shows (4 or 5 for 10 bucks) and you're probably going to buy those and want to watch them. There's your problem.

I presume everyone knows what the topic is here, but just in case, each DVD is coded with a region in which they can be viewed. If you are from the US or Canada, you are in "Region 1" (UK: 2, AUS: 3, SA: 4). If you have a stand-alone DVD player, you should be able to change the regional setting with the remote control. If you're using you computer, then it is a little harder. You will either need to bring DVDs that are "Region 0" or try to hack the computer and change the configuration on the hard drive. Some computers allow you to change the region on your hard drive up to five times. Or you can just burn the DVD (and therefore add all regions) and watch them on any player. Most of my DVDs that I bought here play anywhere.

So, yeah. There's no reason not to bring them over. You will feel better if you have them and fail then if you don't have them at all.

As far as teaching a conversation class with them, I guess that would be fine depending on the topic and vulgarity of the movie, but simply giving examples of those expressions would suffice. Some students might appreciate the effort, but others will feel like you're doing something that many conversation teachers tend to do: teach their own life and experiences.

If anybody has any questions, just send me an email at asktheexpat@yahoo.com or leave a comment.


Unknown said...

Where are the scores of DVD bootleggers on the streets selling decent quality movies and TV shows (4 or 5 for 10 bucks)??

The Expat said...

Depends really. I have seen them nearly everywhere, but there seems to be a higher concentration of them all over the Gangnam Station area.

Chris in South Korea said...

They're definitely in the Gangnam area. They're also seen quite often in the Jongno area, in Dongdaemun, Namdaemun, and most anywhere scores of people are passing by. They tend to roll out their selection from mid-evening on, so if you're not seeing them you may be too early.

Of note: one can also buy region-free DVD players that'll play almost anything on a disc. I found mine on craigslist but have also seen them in Dongdaemun and Namdaemun. Yongsan will probably have a selection as well along with those wonderful R4 cards for your Nintendo DS :)

The Expat said...

Thanks for the info, Chris. I wonder if it's possible to buy computers with region-free players.

Michelle said...

Yes, my computer, which was bought in Korea, has a region-free DVD player.

My favourite place for DVD shopping is at the back of the second (smaller) electronics market at Yongsan station. They're particularly excellent for TV series. They allow you to test the discs on their own DVD players, and give you big discounts if you become a regular.

The Expat said...

Great info, Michelle. Thanks for the details as well!

Anonymous said...

Region-free DVD players are about 45 000won online.

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