REWIND FEATURE: FAQ

There are many questions that are raised time and time again by new recruits to the world of DVD and those with thousands of discs alike, so here is our Frequently Asked Questions list which we hope you will find useful. Remember, if there are any topics not covered here you can still contact us via The Rewind Forums.

Before we start, here's a few things to look out for:

Some DVD basics questions

What's all this talk about regions?
So, can I play Region 1 DVDs if I don't live in America?
Great, I now have a multi-region player. How do I go about importing DVDs?

Some Rewind basics questions

How are the comparisons compiled?
How come some of the comparisons contain inaccurate information?
How do I request a comparison for a title which isn't in the database?
I have the full and accurate details of a DVD that isn't listed. Can I contribute to the site?
How often is the database updated?
Does Rewind include releases other than US Region 1, UK region 2 and Australian R4?
Will Rewind ever consider having cover shots of the DVDs within the database?
A UK version of a DVD is shorter than the US version. Why has it been cut?
Is there anything else I should know about UK censorship?
Why is there no e-mail address for Rewind?
How do I become a member of The Rewind Team?

What's all this talk about regions?

When DVD players were first invented, the movie studios of America wanted to make sure that their films came out at different times in different countries. This way, they could make more money, reduce piracy and control release dates and marketing. Therefore, each country or continent were assigned a Region number and each DVD player has a Regional Code which is for the country the player was sold in ONLY.

A film normally always comes out in America first of all. The film studios make the prints of a film and then sell it to all the different cinemas around the country. When these cinemas have finished with the film, the movie studios then send the SAME prints to another country, the UK for example. This country can then use them in the same way as America did. By doing this, the film company can save millions because they don't have to spend more money on new prints, they can just recycle the old ones. Not only that, they can concentrate more on the marketing and advertising for each of the countries. Because America gets everything first, they are referred to as Region 1. The UK is Region 2 and are included along with the majority of Europe as well.

Because of this massive time lag between the two countries (which can be anything from 2-6 months or longer in some cases) the advent of Region 1 looks more attractive to the DVD buyer. By this time the movie would have already been released onto DVD in America just as it is hitting cinemas in this country.

So, can I play Region 1 DVDs if I don't live in America?

Yes and No. If you bought your DVD player in it's virgin state from a normal electrical store, it will probably be equipped to play DVDs from Region 2 ONLY. This is how the movie studios can restrict people playing Region 1 DVDs and make them visit the cinema to see the newer movies. If you manage to lay your hands on a Region 1 DVD, when you try to put it in your player, it will either spit it out or display a Region Protection message. So how do YOU play Region 1 DVDs if you don't live in America?

You need to be able to either change the Regional Code on your player or switch it be become 'multi-region'. If you own a PC, you can easily download software that allows you to switch between Regions. If you own a stand-alone player, it is can be slightly more difficult. Many players can be 'hacked', usually by pressing a sequence of buttons on the remote and there are many websites that list such hacks. If your player can't be hacked then you can get it chipped or modified. This involves opening the casing of your DVD player and then having a chip or 'mod' placed in the DVD player. However, this can be extremely difficult to do so it is always recommended to let the experts do it! The cost of this upgrade can vary depending on the make and model of your particular DVD player. Expect to pay between £40 and £150. It's worth checking what options are available BEFORE you purchase a new player as many retailers will sell you a player with a chip or mod included.

Great, I now have a multi-region player. How do I go about importing DVDs?

Always try to make your purchases over the Internet. This way, you have the largest possible choice and the easiest way of comparing prices. You have 2 options for buying Region 1 DVDs:

1. You can buy direct from retailers such as Amazon.com. This way, prices tend to be cheaper and you will pay about the same price American citizens do. Always take into account the cost of shipping. You should also be aware that if your purchase is expensive and you are importing into the UK, customs may open the package and charge you VAT, import duties and handling fees.
2.The second option is to buy from a supplier within your country. These companies order the DVDs for you which takes the hassle out of the customs problem and the price you see is the price you pay. Use the links to reputable retailers found throughout our site (and you will be helping us out at the same time!).

How are the comparisons compiled?

The comparisons are not intended to be reviews and therefore the picture and sound quality of the discs are often not considered in the comparisons. You should also be aware of our Disclaimer.

This is a list of general guidelines that we use when creating comparisons. They are not set in stone and will always be open to some degree of interpretation, especially when it comes to difficult comparisons. They are presented here to help you understand how we do things and to demonstrate how many different (and often difficult) issues we have to take into consideration.

- We always use proper sources. We DON'T take specs from the online-store sites, company sites or back covers.

PAL vs NTSC

- These TV systems are considered a draw. PAL has more resolution on paper but also has "speed-up". However, most people won't see the extra resolution, nor hear the speed-up.

ASPECT RATIOS

- 1.78:1 & 1.85:1 are considered a "draw" as the difference is minimal and it's also impossible to confirm the aspect ratio of every release.
- Releases may contain widescreen and full screen versions. Both will be listed in the comparison, but NOT in the "Overall" section. For the record, a 4:3 version of a 1.85:1 film could often be open matte, but a 4:3 version of a 2.35:1 film is usually just pan & scan (although there are sometimes exceptions, e.g. Gosford Park).
- Some films, such as The Evil Dead and Martin have an original aspect ratio of 4:3 even though they were shown 1.85:1 in the theatres. There is a lot of debate of this issue around some of Stanley Kubrickís films.
- There are several cases where a film has been shown 1.66:1 in Europe, but 1.85:1 in the US, e.g. some Hammer films and many European films from certain era. It's often hard to say which one is the "original aspect ratio", so sometimes those aspect ratios are listed as "draw".
- An anamorphic 1.66:1 image has small black bars on both SIDES, which are usually not visible due the over scan of TVs. This is the reason why some anamorphic 1.66:1 releases are listed as 1.85:1 in some reviews or sources.

AUDIO

- Original language(s) is what counts, so a French DTS dub of Rambo 3, or an English dub of Das Boot, doesnít count. However the "original language" can be difficult to determine, e.g. many Italian films from the 1970s were dubbed both in English and Italian, which we try to note on the comparison.
- After considering original language options, DTS is considered to be a better than Dolby Digital.
- DTS 5.1 and DTS ES 6.1 discrete or matrix / Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 EX are considered a draw, with additional notes about EX/ES where available. This is because it is often difficult to confirm all the releases.
- We add notes regarding the bit rates of DTS tracks only when confirmed.
- A release with a remixed DTS track but no original format track (e.g. mono) will beat a release with the original mono but no DTS, BUT there will be a note about the original mono track.
- 5.1 will win over 2.0 tracks if other features are identical. However, a vanilla 5.1 release will only draw with a 2.0 release which has additional features.
- An audio descriptive track doesn't count as a winner in terms of audio but may count towards a winner in terms of extras.
- We don't add simply Dolby Digital 2.0 as the format is 2 channel mono, stereo surround. Itís often difficult to tell but, usually, if the 2 channel track has some surround-activity with Pro Logic (NOT Pro Logic II), itís listed as "2.0 surround".
- We add Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono if we are sure itís a single channel rather than 2 channel mono. Bottom line is that 1.0 mono and 2.0 mono are basically the same thing.

SUBTITLES

- English subtitles on non English language films do count when making the overall verdict.
- We don't generally list English CC (Closed Caption) among the subtitles as the information is often difficult to establish.
- We don't generally add subtitles for extras that are in ENGLISH.

EXTRAS

- Minor extras, e.g. trailers, text based and DVD-ROM features donít count.
- Extras outside the actual disc, e.g. booklets, postcards, posters etc. donít count but a note will be included.
- Package types or cover art donít count. Many people like digi-packs and English only-covers but itís the content of the disc(s) that counts.

CENSORSHIP

- R-rated theatrical version is not cut. If there's an unrated version available then itís considered to be different to the original version, as are Director's Cuts.
- Unlike the BBFC, the MPAA donít insist that a title is rated in order to be distributed: [i]"No one is forced to submit a film to the Board for rating...Any producer/distributor who wants no part of any rating system is free to go to the market without any rating at all." [/i]MPAA
- Different versions released on VHS or Laserdisc donít necessarily mean that a DVD is cut. We compare DVD releases to the original theatrical or straight-to-video release.

GENERAL

- We add AKA titles from the IMDB but only list English (and original language titles if not English). No literal titles or working titles are included. The English title is listed first except in circumstances where the film is more commonly known by its original language title, e.g. Das Boot.
- Price is NEVER an issue in the comparisons.
- Bootlegs are not listed in the database, although notes may be provided in order to provide clarity.
- We rarely add notes about cases or back covers being wrong as they often are!
- Box sets are listed as a separate comparison entry only if they contain a bonus disc(s). However, we usually add the individual films to the respective comparison with a note regarding bonus discs.

AND FINALLY...

Please ALWAYS research other sources besides Rewind, before making a purchase. Satisfy yourself that itís the release for you!

-Review Databases:
Rewind Reviews
DVD Basen

-Image Comparisons:
DVD Beaver

-News:
Digital Bits

-Forums:
Home Theater Forum
DVD Talk

Remember that our database has been designed to give you a helping hand when buying DVDs from any of the DVD regions. At the end of the day though, the choice is ultimately yours!

How come some of the comparisons contain inaccurate information?

It is unfortunate when errors occur and we do our very best to ensure that the information on the site is as accurate as possible. However, due to the sheer number of DVDs covered, errors are bound to be encountered from time to time. The reason for these errors vary from incorrect information being supplied to Rewind, late changes by the distributors or plain and simple typos! Rewind encourages you to play an active role in the running of the site, so if you do spot any errors or inaccuracies please use The Rewind Forums to report them.

How do I request a comparison for a title which isn't in the database?

Rewind wants it's visitors to play an important role in the running of the site, so that is why we actively promote the fact that you can request films yourself! Requesting a film here on Rewind is incredibly simple. All you have to do is become a member of The Rewind Forums, go to the Comparison Request forum and enter the title of the film/TV programme and the regions you would like compared. A Rewind Team Member will then add your comparison to the database (usually within 14 days but it depends on workload).

I have the full and accurate details of a DVD that isn't listed. Can I contribute to the site?

Yes you can. Register as a user at The Rewind Forums and then go to the 'Your Comparison' forum. There you will find all the information you need to submit a contribution.

How often is the database updated?

New comparisons (and updates to existing ones) are added on a regular basis, usually daily. Some are requests, corrections or complete comparisons from The Rewind Forums visitors. The most recent additions and updates are listed here. If you would like to request a title or contribute to any existing comparison, please head over to The Rewind Forums.

Does Rewind include releases other than US Region 1, UK region 2 and Australian R4?

Yes. We pay particular attention to Canadian discs if they are different from their US counterparts and non UK Region 2 discs. However, Rewind is a UK site and, as such, we will always focus on R1 US, R2 UK and R4 Australia. If you are keen to find a comparison for a release in a particular country, you can use the search option (at the top of every page) to search by country.

Will Rewind ever consider having cover shots of the DVDs within the database?

Not at the present time. Rewind has always been and will remain a basic site that loads quickly. We are a resource site and want you to be able to get the information you want quickly and efficiently and that having cover shots in comparisons would slow the whole site down.

A UK version of a DVD is shorter than the US version. Why has it been cut?

There is a good chance that it isn't cut. The US uses the NTSC (National Television Standards Commission) television system while the UK and Europe uses PAL (Phase Alternate Line). PAL gives a better picture than NTSC because it uses more lines of your television.

The time difference is because of the different frame rates of the formats. Film (cinema) runs at 24 fps (frames per second) but PAL runs at 25fps. Therefore when transferring a movie to PAL, the projector is actually run at 25fps (4% faster than it ran in the cinema on film). This speedup is small enough to not be noticeable to the eye, but it means that PAL versions of movies (DVD or videotape) run 4% faster, and are therefore shorter than their NTSC equivalents. NTSC runs at 30fps, but the film cannot be sped up from 24fps to 30fps for transfer to NTSC because the change would be noticeable. This means that a technique called 3:2 pulldown is used to create a 30fps video master from the 24fps film master without speeding up the film. Over the course of an average length film, this can make the PAL version be up to about 4 minutes faster. Therefore, a film in the US that has a running time of 90 minutes, may only be 86 minutes in the UK without any cuts being applied to the film whatsoever.
Thanks to Gareth Randall from ITV for the above explanation.

For more details on actual censorship of UK titles, you should visit the BBFC website.

Is there anything else I should know about UK censorship?

When Rewind states that a title has been cut by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) for UK release, this can sometimes determine which region you purchase. Please note that although a film may be uncensored by the BBFC, the film may have been pre-cut by the distributor to gain a lower certificate. Rewind may not always be aware when this is the case. Much of our pre-cut censorship information is brought to you in association with Melon Farmers.

Why is there no e-mail address for Rewind?

To contact Rewind please visit The Rewind Forums where you can contact any member of The Rewind Team. If you still wish to e-mail us, you can do so using our feedback form but replies are unfortunately not guaranteed due to time constraints.

How do I become a member of The Rewind Team?

If Rewind requires new team members to either add or update our comparisons or to write full reviews for the site, we will ask for people to apply in the news section on the main page. Please remember that all team member positions are unpaid roles.


DISCLAIMER (Please read this before using this site - updated October 2009)

The Rewind Comparison Database is compiled and maintained with the information and resources The Rewind Team is able to establish. This includes press releases, preview discs and for some of the comparisons, actual full retail copies of the discs. However, due to the sheer volume of content, there may be some errors or inaccuracies within some comparisons. Please note that it is humanly impossible for The Rewind Team to watch all of the DVDs or Blu-Rays featured and therefore this database is simply designed to guide you towards the DVDs and Blu-Rays available.

The Rewind Team cannot be held responsible for:
- ANY errors or omissions within the database
- ANY wrong purchases you make as a result of using the information supplied here

If you use this database to help you with your purchase decisions then you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK. We advise that you seek alternative information from other sources AS WELL as from Rewind BEFORE you make your purchase.