Although region coding was thought to be in place for all commercial Blu-ray releases as of this fall, the reality of the situation turns out to be a bit more complicated -- but that's good news for multi-region disc buyers.
Back in early October, the Blu-ray Disc Association announced that they had decided to require burning a new and improved set of regional codes onto discs. Reports at the time indicated that member studio Warner Bros had opposed the system, citing the ineffectiveness of the current coding setup for conventional DVDs, but had been outvoted.
And while some Blu-ray supporting studios (namely Sony, Fox, Disney and Paramount) quickly began releasing discs with the new region-codes, some fans have discovered that only handful of the discs released by these studios have been "region-locked," meaning that most discs still play on non-matching region players.
At the same time, it seems both Warner and Lionsgate have yet to adopt Blu-ray region coding at all, leaving all of their discs burned with "no region," and hence also playable across all regions.
Sound confusing? It is, but thanks to some enterprising fans, now there's a web resource that helps make sense of this increasingly tangled web. First pointed out to us by High-Def Digest Forums member zombieflanders, the site (accessible directly at http://bluray.lindsite.dk) tracks which US and European Blu-ray titles are region-coded, which are region-blocked, and which are region-free.
As the site points out, there is one golden ticket in the land of Blu-ray region-codes -- but it comes at a price. The US launch version of Samsung's BD-P1000 with the original firmware is effectively a region-free player, allowing playback of all discs, regardless of region-code. Of course, without the firmware upgrade, you'll have to put up with a host of other inefficiencies, but perhaps they're worth it for some...