Region 4 vs Region 1
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There are now a significant number
of discs out in the Region 4 marketplace that are significantly better
than their Region 1 equivalents, or not even available in Region 1. On
the other hand, there are a number of discs in the Region 4 marketplace
that are true lemons and should be avoided unless you realize exactly what
you are getting. There are also a select few discs in Region 2 or in Canadian
Region 1 which are uniquely qualified to be included in this list.
This list is not for listing
subtle differences between Regions, but for giving compelling reasons
to prefer one disc over another. In my opinion, first and foremost, the
quality of the image and the sound are paramount. If these factors are
equal, then other factors come into play which are of lesser importance,
but may be significant if you want to own a disc rather than rent
it. If a disc is available in Region 4 and not listed here, then more than
likely this is because it is the equal of the Region 1 version.
These are the criteria that I use
to determine whether or not a disc gets listed here;
suggestions, additions and corrections are always welcome.
Is one version 16x9 enhanced and the other not 16x9 enhanced? (16x9 enhanced
wins unless it is a flipper)
Widescreen. Is one
version widescreen and the other full-screen? (widescreen wins)
Aspect Ratio. Is one
version in the incorrect aspect ratio? (incorrect aspect loses)
Flipper. Is one version
a flipper and the other an RSDL or single layer version? (flipper
generally LOSES even if exclusively 16x9 enhanced)
5.1 Audio. Does one
version have a full 5.1 mix whereas the other has only a Surround mix?
(5.1 wins as long as the theatrical release was in 5.1). Note that
the inclusion of a DTS soundtrack is not considered a compelling reason
to prefer one version over the other unless direct comparison shows that the DTS
soundtrack is substantially superior to the Dolby Digital soundtrack.
Does one version have a commentary track and the other doesn't? All else
being equal, the commentary wins, but a 16x9 enhanced disc with no commentary
will be favoured over a non-16x9 enhanced disc with a commentary. It is
important to note that a lot of the discs on which the only difference
is the presence of absence of a director's commentary track are equally
good visually and aurally, so this particular feature may not influence
your buying decision. I personally consider a commentary track as the pinnacle
of extras, and almost invariably well worth the extra effort and expense
of acquiring the disc.
Extras. Does one version
have a compelling extra that the other one leaves off? A few
additional minor extras do not qualify for inclusion under this category,
but an additional 30 minute making-of featurette does, for example.
Censorship. Is one
version unacceptably censored?