Regions for Blu-ray standard
A: East Asia (except Mainland China and Mongolia), Southeast Asia, the Americas and their dependencies. B: Africa, Southwest Asia, Europe (except Russia), Oceania and their dependencies.
C: Central Asia, East Asia (Mainland China and Mongolia only), South Asia, central Eurasia and their dependencies.
Blu-ray Discs may be encoded with a region code, intended to restrict the area of the world in which they can be played, similar in principle to the DVD region codes, although the used geographical regions differ. Blu-ray Disc players sold in a certain region may only play discs encoded for that region. This is primarily used for market segmentation, or price discrimination, but it also allows motion picture studios to control the various aspects of a release (including content and release date) according to the region. Discs may also be produced without region coding, so they can be played on all devices. The countries of the major Blu-ray manufacturers (Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, etc.) are in the same region as the Americas. As of late 2008, almost 70% of all released discs were region-free.
Major studios have different region coding policies. Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios have released all of their titles region free. Sony Pictures and Warner Bros have released most of their titles region free, but titles released by Warner’s New Line division were, initially, region-coded but subsequently have been released without being locked. Titles released by other labels on behalf of New Line are still subject to some region locking. Lionsgate and Walt Disney Pictures have released a mix of titles that were region free and region coded. 20th Century Fox has released all but three of their titles region coded.
In the Blu-ray region coding system, the United States is placed in region A while regions B and C are used for countries which can experience localization delays before U.S. titles are officially released. The opposite, though, is sometimes true and a few new titles such as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Running Scared were released in certain European countries before the U.S. release. In response to the DVD region system, multi-region and region-free DVD players became dominant in certain markets; certain Blu-ray player models have been modified to allow for playback of Blu-ray and DVD discs with any region code.