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NTSC vs PAL - Everything about NTSC and PAL

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The world is full of conflicting standards for every product and TV is no exception. At least now we have only three main TV standards in the world: PAL (Phase Alternating Lines), NTSC (National Television Standard Committee) and SECAM (Séquentiel couleur à mémoire,French for "Sequential Color with Memory"). This article will see what's the differences between PAL and NTSC.

What is NTSC and PAL

NTSC is the analog television system that is mainly used in North America. In March 1941, the National Television Standard Committee of United States issued a technical standard for black-and-white television. In 1950, the Committee standardized color television and called it NTSC from 1953. In NTSC standard, signals are transmitted in 30 frames per second and 525 individual scan lines for each frame.

PAL is later developed than NTSC for color television at the beginning. PAL is designed to be compatible with the European picture frequency of 50 fields per second (50 hertz), as well as to avoid several drawbacks of NTSC, including colour tone shifting under poor transmission conditions. SECAM was thus developed later. In PAL standard, 25 frames are transmitted each second, and each frame is constituted by 625 individual scan lines.

So what's the differences between PAL and NTSC? The main differences are frame rate and resolution. NTSC standard uses 30 fps, while PAL 25 fps. Therefore, NTSC in theory provides slightly smoother motion than PAL. For the resolution,

PAL DVD or NTSC DVD

Although the differences of PAL and NTSC are small, there are big inconveniences for DVD discs. The movies or videos can be stored on DVD in one of two resolutions: 720 x 576 pixels (PAL DVDs), or 720 x 480 pixels (NTSC DVDs), and with various frame rates like 24, 25, and 30 fps. The DVD player reads the data on DVD disc and formats it appropriately to present on either PAL or NTSC TV set. PAL DVDs have a compelling advantage over NTSC DVDs because PAL DVD has larger pixels of resolution (720x576 vs 720x480).

ntsc vs pal dvd

Generally, NTSC DVD player can only play NTSC DVD discs. But there are also DVD players that support multiple television systems, including PAL, NTSC and SECAM. Choose the right PAL DVD or NTSC DVD before place your order, or use a great video converter to convert PAL DVD to NTSC DVD, if necessary.

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For example, all DVDs from Europe in general come in PAL format and region 2 or 0. If you want play them in United States (region 1), you need to remove the region code and play it with a compatible DVD player (supports NTSC standard rather than PAL.)

PAL and NTSC Countries

See the PAL and NTSC map for a general concept of their distribution in the world.

pal ntsc dvd

Now below is the list of countries using PAL, NTSC and SECAM. If you want to buy a DVD movie, refer to the TV standard you country uses.

pal vs ntsc

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