TV, VCR, DVD, CD
Remember that non-PAL televisions will not work with DVD's and videocassettes formatted for playback on PAL-only equipment. See the section on TV's for more detail.
Other than the PAL issue, VCR's in Italy are pretty much the same as in other countries. You can rent them all over - but they will generally be dubbed into Italian.
In addition to the PAL issue, DVD's are formatted by "region". This is done by the movie studios to control geographical distribution of DVD's. The world has been divided into six basic regions:
- U.S., Canada, U.S. Territories
- Japan, Europe (ITALY!!), South Africa, and Middle East (including Egypt)
- Southeast Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong)
- Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean
- Eastern Europe (Former USSR), Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia
DVD's with different region numbers are not playable on DVD players set for another region. If a DVD is formatted for only one or a couple of regions, there will usually be a small oval-shaped globe with the number that represents the region.
Some DVD players can be modified using special instruction sequences from the remote control to switch regions or play all regions. Many retailers in Europe sell players that have already been set to play back DVD's of several regions, or in some cases they simply provide instructions on how to access the "secret" region change features already built in. Some models you can download patches which, when burned on a DVD and inserted into the player, will change the settings. For detailed infos, see the DVD FAQ. To find out if there is a hack for your DVD player, check out DVD Reviewer Hacks.
ah yes, this is compatibility heaven. Worldwide. So far.
Just like everywhere else, the unauthorized copying of copyrighted works is a crime in Italy. But this does not stop some people from trying. In fact, if you go around the street vendors, you will be offered almost exclusively pirated goods. Which are generally of poor quality and occasionally fail to show at all. Don't ask me how I know this !-).