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Video Playback and Broadcast Standards

There are three main viewing standards for video playback and television broadcast: PAL, NTSC & SECAM.

NTSC (National Television System Committee) was introduced in The USA in 1953. It is used by many countries on the American continent as well as some Asian countries such as Japan, Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan. NTSC runs 525 lines/frame at a rate of 29.97 frames per second.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line) was introduced in the early 60's to most of the other countries of the world (except France, Egypt, Germany, Greece and Poland which uses the SECAM standard). PAL is a modified form of NTSC, and specifies a different means of encoding and transmitting color video designed to eliminate some NTSC problems. PAL runs 625 lines/frame at a rate of 25 frames per second. PAL has a wider bandwidth and therefore boasts superior picture quality.

These standards are not compatible with each other. For example, a PAL video cannot be played on a NTSC video player unless the equipment is PAL compatible and vice versa. Signs that the source is not compatible with the equipment are:
  • very poor picture quality or snowy picture
  • very bad or barely audible sound quality

  • Most of the Videos and DVDs on this site are in PAL format (unless otherwise stated). It is recommended that you check your playback equipment and monitor standard for compatibility before purchasing the product.

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