In a move that will either nail its coffin shut, or win it huge popularity, the DVD Forum has suggested that HD DVD won't use region coding.
The move will almost undoubtedly raise a big 'huzzah!' from consumers, and a vindictive back-stabbing and Blu-Ray-backing from movie studios, who rely on region coding to enforce their ludicrous release date differences.
Speaking at the DVD Forum Japan Conference 2005, Toshiba's Hisashi Yamada was heard to say: "We’ve gotten a variety of opinions about region controls. Even in the Steering Committee, they are extremely unpopular; we decided to not put them in. HD DVD probably won’t contain any region playback controls."
That's still only a probably, but it's pretty exciting nonetheless. The lack of region controls would open up the world market, making DVD collecting far cheaper for those of us in more expensive countries, like Britain. It would probably boost the Canadian economy an awful lot, due to the swift availability and cheap pricing of DVDs in that country.
Region locked hardware is mostly irrelevant these days, with almost everyone hacking their player to be region free. However, the annoyance of staggered release dates, inconsistent pricing and the like may well be swept away if a 'regionless' world is embraced.
Got some thoughts on region coding, or HD DVD v Blu Ray? Give us your opinions in the forum.