Friday, January 9, 2009

Why Blu-ray might still rock

Yesterday I went through about 50 Blu-ray discs at the local store. It was a "test" to see what additional language tracks they carry. To my pleasant surprise I saw 6-7 titles with both Castillian and Latin American Spanish, Parisian French and the dreaded Quebecois, German, Italian, and Japanese. I saw several movies with Thai language tracks. I even saw a movie with a Czech and Polish audio track. Subtitles galore, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean etc. DRM still sucks but I am mollified about this new format. A "cheap" region A player can be bought for about $200.

The majority of the releases however continue with the old format of adding only the French and Spanish audio tracks or nothing at all except a few subtitles. A few releases in addition to the ubiquitous French and Spanish audio tracks contained Portuguese and a few also had Thai and Japanese tracks (Region A markets). One had only 2 Thai audio tracks.

One problem - Amazon and other online retailers don't correctly list all the available audio tracks.

The new Blu-ray region codes are

A: North America, South America, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia.

B: Europe, French territories, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and all of Oceania.

C: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mainland China, Pakistan, Russia, Central, and South Asia.

About one third of region A releases are region-coded. Most region B and region C releases are region free.

More about region coding with a list of movies that are region-free can be found here


Keith said...

What's the most number of audio tracks on a disc?

reineke said...

Seven or eight foreign ones plus two English ones.

csquad said...

hello there! thanks for your comments!

one thing that has annoyed me about DVDs in america - specifically, the movie amelie. there are no french subtitles. sometimes i want to watch a french movie in french with french subtitles.

and baguettes! how i miss them. they're on my "to learn how to bake" list.

good luck with your language learning!

reineke said...


Good point, I have seen Russian DVDs with Russian subtitles - very useful. I don't remember ever seeing a French movie with a French subtitle but I never really looked very hard. I quickly checked a couple of Bluray movies. Good news, subtitles in French, Spanish Italian etc. Now, I am referring to American movies with foreign language tracks. Original movies might still come without subtitles.

frenkeld said...

It is not all that common to put subtitles in the original language on a DVD. It happens, presumably out of consideration for hearing-impaired (formerly known as deaf people), but rather spottily, and this seems to be true not just for the US.

Brian Barker said...

As far as learning another language, is concerned, can I put in a word for the international language, Esperanto?

Although Esperanto is a living language, it helps language learning as well.

Five British schools have introduced Esperanto in order to test its propaedeutic values. The pilot project is being monitored by the University of Manchester and the initial encouraging results can be seen at,%20S2L%20Phase%201.pdf
You might also like to see

Confirmation can be seen at