Import Your DVDs and Save

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 29th September 2009.

Way back in 1983, my father came home from work and proudly presented me with an unlabelled VHS tape. To my delight, as I placed it into our original top loading video cassette player, the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” appeared. Yes, dad had obtained a pirate copy of Return Of The Jedi. I was amazed. As a huge Star Wars fan as a child, I wasn’t expecting to see this movie for another six months or so. OK, so it wasn’t a great copy (probably a copy of a copy), and was obviously recorded inside a cinema (someone in the row in front gets up and comes back with popcorn) but to an eight year old kid, seeing (what should have been) the exciting final film in the Star Wars trilogy before all of my school friends was pretty cool.

That was way back when all movies enjoyed a delayed worldwide release schedule. Starting in the film’s country of origin (most often the USA or UK), movies would slowly be released to cinemas country by country. This was generally to allow the film’s stars to travel with it for publicity but also to minimise the cost of producing the thousands of celluloid copies of the movie. As a cinema finished with a particular film’s reels, it could be sent along to the next country.

Nowadays, technology and the ease of spreading a pirated film via the internet has forced the major movie distributors to release blockbusters simultaneously worldwide on the same date. However, smaller and less mainstream films are still following the traditional release pattern for cinema and now DVDs.

Without resorting to illegal downloads, how can you enjoy a movie at home that may be still running in your local cinema and save a few bucks in the process? Here are some ideas.

With a strong Aussie exchange rate against the US dollar, purchasing your dvds and blu-ray discs from, America’s biggest online retailer of books, music and movies, is very appealing. Amazon stock thousands of DVD titles, many of which are yet to be released in Australian cinemas or video stores. For instance, the stop-motion movie Coraline has just finished in Australian cinemas. At US$16.50 (A$19.00) plus postage from Amazon, you can avoid those morons that text in the cinema and watch Coraline (in 2D or 3D) in the comfort of your own home for much less than the cost of a family of four plus popcorn, drinks and sweets at the movies.

Note that US DVDs are not compatible with Australian Region 4 coded DVD players so make sure that your player is multi-region capable.

If you are a blu-ray enthusiast like me, is an Australian website that lists the latest US and UK blu-ray titles which are not region encoded and will work here. Clicking through the website to purchase via Amazon or Ebay gives Alex, the site’s webmaster and blu-ray fanatic, a few cents in commission to continue his good work.

Also worth checking out is, an online retailer based in Hong Kong which sells hundreds of CD, DVD, blu-ray and video game titles. All products from cd-wow include free worldwide shipping and their CD prices are especially competitive compared to local department and music stores.

Whilst the cinema is still the best place to see the biggest blockbusters, buying DVDs and blu-ray discs from overseas retailers ahead of their Australian rental, retail or even cinema release is worth considering, especially for those with a decent home theatre set-up and a few bob to save.

Published in: on December 20, 2009 at 10:51  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Don’t forget that alot of DVD players that are shipped with a region lock can be quickly and easily made region free. Lots of databases online that contain these codes for all sorts of manufacturer’s DVD and Blu-ray decks.

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