International Video Formats

Media from different parts of the world conform to specific television systems. As such, media from Europe will not play on traditional American television sets-and vice-versa. It is sometimes possible to play the media (if it is a DVD) on a computer instead of playing it on a television set. Computer monitors do not conform to the same technical standards (frame rate, lines of resolution, etc.) that television systems follow.

To make matters more complex, DVDs from around the world also contain one or more region codes. This denotes the specific region of the world where the media was intended for distribution and viewing. DVD players and computers in these regions are manufactured so that they can only playback discs from the same region. For example, a European DVD will not play in an American standalone DVD player (unless the player is designated as "region free"). The region code on your computer's DVD player can be changed for the playback of a foreign DVD-but you are only allowed to change this 4 times before it's permanently "locked" on a region.

There is free software available that allows you to bypass the region settings on a Windows-based PC.

DVD Region Killer is one such program (no endorsement implied).

It has been suggested that Mac users should try using the VLC media player to watch foreign-formatted DVDs. This media player ignores the region code. PC operability may vary. VLC is a free media player that's very versatile and available for most popular operating systems.


CIS can usually convert media from foreign formats and regions to conform to American TV sets and DVD players. We are not allowed to duplicate any media that is copyrighted unless permissions have been secured and documented. Quite often DVDs have built-in copyright protection schemes (Macrovision) that make conversion/duplication impossible without illegally re-authoring the disc.

Unfortunately, CIS does not have any equipment to loan for converting/viewing foreign-formatted media. This would involve a combination of a region-free DVD player, a device to convert the signal to American television standards, and/or a monitor to display foreign television standards.

However, faculty and students may schedule time to watch your (copyrighted) foreign media in our studio. We have all the necessary equipment permanently installed. The CIS studio can accommodate up to 25 people comfortably. Advanced reservations are required.