Like most people, we have a DVD player, we climbed on board the bandwagon sometime in 2002. Unlike many who live in North America, we have strong family ties to Germany and to Australia, and have acquired DVDs from both places. Of course, we couldn't play them on the Sony DVD player because the entertainment industry puts "region codes" on DVDs, dividing the world into six movie-viewing islands. I am not going to dignify this idiocy by relaying their rationale; really just another symptom of the brain disorder affecting the industry that causes them to view their customers primarily as thieves and abusers.
The solution was to find a "Region-Free" DVD player. Vancouver's a pretty immigrant-heavy place and there's a demand for such things, so we stopped by a fine if small local establishment called "220 Volt Electronics" (with an occasional Web presence) and picked up a DVD player from non-household-name Guangdong Nintaus Electronics. It does NTSC, PAL, DVDs from any region, and looks refreshingly different from your standard black-box-brutalist commercial electronics design aesthetic.
Plus, it lets you skip over all those annoying copyright notices and trailers and masturbatory visual studio logos at the front of the disk, none of this "operation prohibited by disk" bushwah.