What is NTSC and PAL?

Basically it is the difference in frames per second used by televisions in different parts of the world.

There are two television display systems in commercial use: PAL (common in Europe and parts of Asia) delivers a frame rate of 25 fps (frames per second) with 625 lines, while NTSC (used in the U.S. and Canada) delivers a frame rate of 30 fps using 525 lines.

The color information of the signal is also encoded differently. Most TVs decode the PAL or NTSC signal but the color information will be lost and the picture appears black and white.

Pass your mouse here for a list of countries and their television format.

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Video Format

What is NTSC and PAL? How about SECAM?
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In the United States the system is NTSC
For VHS you must have a VCR that can read NTSC. Most European decks are "multi-scan" and can read NTSC. For DVD, 95% of the world's DVD players can read NTSC.

In Europe the system is PAL
For playing NTSC DVDs in Europe - all PAL DVD players output NTSC, and MOST PAL TVs will display NTSC with no problems.

The encoded video (MPEG2) on a DVD is stored in digital format, but it's formatted NTSC or PAL. Some players play only NTSC discs, others play PAL and NTSC discs. All DVD players sold in PAL countries play both kinds of discs. Most NTSC players can't play PAL discs.

The three differences between NTSC discs and PAL discs are:
1) Picture size and pixel aspect ratio (720x480 vs 720x576),
2) Display frame rate (30 vs 25),
3) Video from film is usually encoded at 24 frames/sec. but is preformatted for one of the two display rates. Movies formatted for PAL display are usually sped up by 4% at playback, so the audio must be adjusted accordingly before being encoded.

What does "DVD Region" mean?
Discs are also coded for different regions of the world.
The Movie Industry has divided the global DVD marketplace into six regional zones. This regional coding system was introduced to combat piracy. It also allows film distributors to stagger theatrical and DVD movie releases across the world's various markets. Thus a film can be released for sale on DVD in one territory only, with access to the disc restricted via regional coding so that this DVD cannot be viewed on a DVD player from another differently coded territory where the film may not have even been released in cinemas yet.

Under regional coding, all DVD movies are marked with a regional code that prevents one region's (DVD's) disks being played on another region's DVD player.

The world's six DVD regions are:
Region 1: United States and it's Territories
Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East
Region 3: Southeast Asia and East Asia
Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central and South America
Region 5: Indian Subcontinent, Former Soviet Union and Africa
Region 6: China
Region 0: Can be played on all DVD players regardless of their specific regional coding.


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