DVD formats, regions, PAL & SECAM

We live in the UK but are about to move to France.

We already have an Orange satellite TV subscription in France, with a borrowed TV set. We will be taking our Panasonic Viera TV with us, and have a Panasonic DVD player (can’t remeber the model). We also have a Topfield PVR.

I have several questions which are probably really dumb ones, :o but I’d appreciate your patience and help. I am aware that some of the questions may require more than a one-paragraph answer!

(1) I know that the old analogue sets were incompatible between the UK and France because of the 2 standards, PAL and SECAM. Does this problem go away when you are using digital equipment?

(2) We have a lot of Region 2 pre-recorded DVDs which I guess should be perfectly fine in our existing player through the Viera TV, as it won’t “know” it’s in a different country. Also the UK and France are both in Region 2 so we should be able to buy and watch other films when we’re in France.

(3) If we are transferring favourite recordings from the Topfield to DVD is there a particular format we should use when burning them, and does it depend on the country of origin of the DVD player or of the TV set, or of the original broadcast?

(4) We are great fans of the US TV series The Wire, and there are DVDs for sale on Ebay/Amazon which originate from the USA. I know that you have to get region 2, 0 or ALL unless your player is multi-region (which ours isn’t), but are there any other “gotchas” to watch for?

Many thanks in advance for your help.