DVD region codes are management codes film distributors encode onto DVDs limiting the playback of DVDs to certain regions. Encoded DVDs must be played on DVD players that are region locked to the same area, allowing distributors to control release dates and DVD exporting.
DVDs may carry multiple region codes for use in multiple areas or be labeled for use worldwide. Region codes are also used to restrict movie releases in regions where the movie may be culturally, politically or religiously offensive. Many DVD players now come region-free or can be unlocked using a code on the remote control, and some models simply ask the user for the region upon first use.