PAL & NTSC by Matt Ottewill

The technologies of television broadcasting and video have 2 geographical technical standards. They are ...

  1. PAL (Phase Alternation Line) with a frame size of 720 x 576 pixels and a frame rate of 25 frames per second. Europe uses this standard.
  2. NTSC (National television Standards Committee) with a frame size of 720 x 480 pixels and a frame rate of 29.97 frames per second. The USA uses this standard.

One of these systems is used by every country in the world. NTSC is the dominant standard.

PAL countries NTSC countries
Africa, Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, bangladesh, Cameroon, Canary Islands, China, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Yemen. Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Burma, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greenland, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto rica, Taiwan, Tobago, Trinidad, USA, Venezuela, Virgin Islands.

DVD video players

PAL DVD video players

Because NTSC is the dominant standard, PAL DVD video players can normally play both PAL and NTSC discs (providing they are multi-region enabled). However, NTSC discs played on PAL players can perform badly.

NTSC DVD video players

Nearly all NTSC players will NOT play PAL discs.

Which standard should DVD authors use?

There are 3 issues to consider here ...

  1. Where is your target market? Author for the country.

  2. Do you own a PAL or NTSC camcorder? If you bought your DV camcorder in Europe it will record in the PAL standard and you will have to convert footage to NTSC once captured to your computer. If you bought your DV camcorder in the USA it will record in the NTSC standard and you will have to convert footage to PAL once captured to your computer.

  3. If your target market is Europe and the USA you should consider authoring a PAL and a NTSC disc.