It seems that the new HD-DVD format will have region-encoding much like the present DVD standard. Since the competing Blu-ray standard will also have region encoding, it seems that we consumers will never be totally free of this annoyance technology, which fundamentally serves a single purpose: limit choice and distort the free market. Of course, the unintended consequence will be more piracy, not less, as well as driving more and more users (like myself) into the arms of BitTorrent for our video viewing.
One interesting thing to note however is that Blu-ray will combine the Americas and Asia into a single region. The impact of this upon US anime fans will be quite significant, as we will be able to import the latest discs from Japan and watch them on either the Playstation 3 or the new Blu-ray players (which are going to be expensive, it must be noted).
For those interested in more details about the limitations of the new DVD formats, here’s something worth knowing more about – the Image Constraint Token. In a nutshell: users without an HDMI-compliant TV will have a forced-downgrade of video quality.