It looks like the days of region-free Blu-ray disc playback are coming to an end. The Blu-ray Disc Association has decided to begin burning regional codes onto discs sold in the format beginning this fall.
While the Bu-ray group had devised a regional coding system last year, there was some question whether it would be used to prevent playback across regions.
Variety is reporting this morning that the decision to institute the coding system emerged from talks between Advanced Access Content System members who belong to the Blu-ray Disc Association. Warner Bros. reportedly opposed the system, citing the ineffectiveness of the current coding setup for conventional DVDs, but was outvoted.
On the bright side for consumers, the Blu-ray group's regional coding system splits the world into three markets (instead of the more restrictive six markets for standard DVD). Those markets are as follows: Region A, covering Japan, South Korea, the Americas and most of Southeast Asia; Region B, which includes Europe and the Middle East; and Region C, which includes China, Russia, India and other countries.
The HD DVD camp has yet to institute region codes, and has said in the past that they won't.