What is Ink Cartridge Regionalization

We've all experienced regionalization in one way or another, especially when traveling. Electrical outlets, for instance, vary across the globe. Even print cartridges and DVD movies have different formats (NTSC and PAL), depending on the region in which you live in. But while this type of regionalization is understandable (since many companies have started their own actions against piracy), the so-called "zoning" of print cartridges is taking many people by surprise. But to be able to dissect whether the regionalization of print cartridges is really necessary, we first have to understand what this means and its impact on customers.


The Basics of Cartridge Regionalization

Most of us are already familiar with regionalization. You can't play video games that you bought in the US, for instance, in game consoles bought in Asia. You can't watch DVDs set in NTSC format on your PAL player (although there are players available that can play both formats). A regionalized printer ink cartridge works in the same way–you won't be able to use print cartridges if you bought them in a different region. For instance, if you have a printer that you purchased from London, you won't be able to use print cartridges purchased from New Zealand.

To date, Hewlett-Packard seems to be the only manufacturer jumping into the zoning bandwagon. HP printers (except those that were meant to be portable) can only use ink that matches their region. If, for instance, you suddenly move to another country, then a phone call to HP's customer support can help you change the region coding on your printer so that it works with the ink cartridges from your new country.

Is Ink Cartridge Regionalization a Good Idea?

While some people think that zoning can help put a stop to piracy, sometimes, the disadvantages can outweigh the good. This move might actually bite HP in the back, since there have been complaints from customers regarding ink cartridge regionalization. Some people think that ink zoning is some sort of ploy by HP printers to trick customers into buying their expensive cartridges.

This move by HP has even prompted some customers to switch to other printer brands, such as Canon or Epson. And while, re-zoning an HP printer has been reported to be fairly simple, many customers have become fed up with poor customer support from the company. Some people have even gone as far as commenting in different blogs that cartridge regionalization is a move that goes against free trade agreements. Others say that this move was made by HP to be able to set varying prices of print cartridges in different countries, as evidenced in the huge price discrepancy of HP ink in the US and in Europe.

Plot or not, cartridge regionalization does exist in HP printers. The only way around it is to make sure that you have your printer re-zoned when you travel to a different country. Oh, and keep HP support numbers in your mobile phone all the time. You might get lucky and, despite what many people say, you might even catch a customer support representative who can actually help you.


This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry Articles.

This Article is written by John C Arkin.


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