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Video format of SD extras on European BDs


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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 Bruce Morrison

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Posted September 03 2008 - 06:10 AM

I've seen today that 'Sophie Scholl' is to be released on Blu-ray in the UK in October; it will be all-region, and the SD extras will be in NTSC rather than PAL.

This has prompted a general question about BDs released in Europe. If a European BD contains extras presented in standard definition, are these usually in PAL? If so, I'm assuming that, even if the BD is not region-locked, my US BD player would not be able to play the extras properly as US players only understand NTSC in standard definition.

I fear that the 'Sophie Scholl' release might be an exception in this respect, athough it would be great if I'm wrong!
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#2 of 20 ccfixx

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Posted September 03 2008 - 06:17 AM

From my experience with European imports, most standard defiition features are in the PAL format, and, of course, do not play on my American PS3. The movies, if non-region coded, will play perfectly fine. I guess it's all dependent on the company releasing the disc and the disc's country of origin, though.

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#3 of 20 AppleSpider

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Posted September 03 2008 - 01:07 PM

If the extras are indeed in NTSC, then you'll have no problem.
If you wait until after it's released and then check...
Rewind @ www.dvdcompare.net - The Home of DVD Comparisons
you should be able to find out if the extras are really NTSC.

I own a handful of European Blu-Rays, of them, only 4 have
standard def bonus features, and of those 4, 3 have
their extras in NTSC and play fine, the other has extras in PAL,
and the extras won't play at all.

Of the 3 that would play, 2 were German Discs and 1 was British.
The one that wouldn't play was also British.

#4 of 20 Cees Alons

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Posted September 03 2008 - 07:55 PM

Most often, they take the US material they are provided with and only add new audio tracks (language) and/or subtitles. If they add bonus material themselves, it might be PAL.
If they use what they got, they don't bother converting it to PAL, because 95% of the European setups can handle NTSC fine, and that figure is probably 100% of HiDef setups.


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#5 of 20 Jari K

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Posted September 03 2008 - 11:30 PM

I believe most (not all, though*) European DVD and Blu-ray-releases have (SD) extras in NTSC-format. That´s the case at least with the "major studios". 1080i-based extras are also in 60i (so also US-players can play them).

In Europe, all DVD/Blu-ray-players and TV-sets support both PAL and NTSC, so "NTSC extras" are not a problem.

More of my comments in the "Hulk"-thread...
http://www.hometheat....footage-3.html

*Some e.g. UK BD-releases from the "smaller companies" have extras in PAL-format and some rare titles (e.g. Spanish BD-release of "Rec (2007)" and Euro-releases of "Tiësto - Copenhagen: Elements of Life World Tour" music BD) have the actual film in "1080/50i" (=US-players support only "60i").

#6 of 20 Arild

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Posted September 04 2008 - 03:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jari K
I believe most (not all, though*) European DVD and Blu-ray-releases have (SD) extras in NTSC-format. That´s the case at least with the "major studios". 1080i-based extras are also in 60i (so also US-players can play them).
Hm? Maybe that is the case with Blu-Ray, but I have never, EVER seen a European released DVD with any NTSC content whatsoever.

#7 of 20 Kris Z.

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Posted September 04 2008 - 05:14 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arild
Hm? Maybe that is the case with Blu-Ray, but I have never, EVER seen a European released DVD with any NTSC content whatsoever.
I have. Tartan released an NTSC DVD of Battle Royale in the UK way back, possibly to aid importing as Toei refused to have the movie released in the US. Incidentally it was also the best English-language version for years, and maybe still is, as the PAL releases all had bad ghosting due to the conversion.

I agree though, it is very, very rare on DVD. It is true that most PAL TV sets also support 60Hz/NTSC modes, but it wasn't always like that, and the possibility of someone still using such a set means NTSC content on DVD might not be a great idea. It shouldn't be a problem with Blu-ray though.

#8 of 20 Roger_R

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Posted September 04 2008 - 08:22 AM

Quote:
1080i-based extras are also in 60i (so also US-players can play them).
That's also because some Blu-ray players can't play back 50i/25p content correctly even though it's part of the specification.

I believe BBC converted Torchwood from 50i to 60i for the Blu-ray release because of that.

#9 of 20 Kris Z.

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Posted September 04 2008 - 10:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger_R
I believe BBC converted Torchwood from 50i to 60i for the Blu-ray release because of that.
Planet Earth as well.

#10 of 20 Jari K

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Posted September 05 2008 - 08:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arild
Hm? Maybe that is the case with Blu-Ray, but I have never, EVER seen a European released DVD with any NTSC content whatsoever.

Are you sure about that (SD DVD, I mean)? I mean at least I don´t really "double check" whether the extras are in PAL or NTSC (since all my players* and TV-set support both PAL and NTSC - so it doesn´t really matter).

Note, that I´m talking about the extras, not the actual "film" (which is of course in PAL in most cases).

*Except my US PS3, which is "NTSC only"..

#11 of 20 Arild

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Posted September 05 2008 - 01:44 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jari K
Are you sure about that (SD DVD, I mean)?
Yes. As was pointed out by another poster, there are exceptions but I personally have never seen a European DVD release containing NTSC format video, be it the main feature or the extras. And I do tend to notice these things.

Personally I think releasing a DVD for sale in Europe in NTSC format would be sloppy and lazy. True, pretty much all newer TVs can handle it but many older TVs can't. And either way, NTSC is not a European standard so using it here would be bad practice, IMO.

#12 of 20 Jari K

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Posted September 05 2008 - 06:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arild
And I do tend to notice these things.

Fair enough, but how do you actually "notice"? Sure, PAL might have a bit more resolution, but not enough to "see" the difference.. If the only "proof" is your "eyes", then we have a debate coming. Posted Image If you´ve actually checked those extras via computer etc, then it´s fair play. I´m wrong.

I don´t say that you´re wrong (with SD DVDs), just that people usually just "watch" those extras (in PAL-areas) without really thinking beyond that (hell, many are shot in video anyway, so who cares really..).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arild
Personally I think releasing a DVD for sale in Europe in NTSC format would be sloppy and lazy. True, pretty much all newer TVs can handle it but many older TVs can't. And either way, NTSC is not a European standard so using it here would be bad practice, IMO.

Well, many of those US based (SD/video) extras are shot in NTSC, so I would take the "native format" over "NTSC to PAL"-conversion in any day.

(Now about Blu-ray)

Like I said in the Hulk-thread (link in this thread), e.g. some extras in the UK-release of "Sweeney Todd" are in NTSC. Rest are in 1080i (I assume 60i). I can start checking some of my other Euro BD-releases, but when it comes to the "bigger studios", I believe SD extras are in NTSC. There are several US-releases (yes, I own many of them), which have plenty of subs from "Europe", so sometimes they just release almost "identical disc" to several countries (=SD extras in NTSC 480p).

Edit: You also have to understand, that I have US PS3 (which DO NOT support PAL, nor 1080i/50i). So it´s quite easy for me (with *Blu-ray*, I mean) to see which extras are actually in PAL-format... So far very few (some discs from e.g. smaller UK-companies).

#13 of 20 Adam Barratt

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Posted September 06 2008 - 04:40 PM

Quote:
Sure, PAL might have a bit more resolution, but not enough to "see" the difference.. If the only "proof" is your "eyes", then we have a debate coming. If you´ve actually checked those extras via computer etc, then it´s fair play. I´m wrong.

The difference between PAL and NTSC is easy to see, even among casual (i.e. non-videophile) viewers or when viewed on quite small televisions. Even without the obvious visual clues, practically everything in a modern video chain (player, amp, TV) indicates the video format being displayed in some way or another, so no PC is required.

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#14 of 20 Jari K

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Posted September 06 2008 - 07:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Barratt
Even without the obvious visual clues, practically everything in a modern video chain (player, amp, TV) indicates the video format being displayed in some way or another, so no PC is required.

"Obvious visual clues"? Now what those would be? If we´re talking about the proper "conversions" here from the film based material*, the difference is minimal. Sure, some people may claim that they´ll "see it", of course. Just like some "hear" the "PAL speed-up". Hard to argue with those, I can only speak for myself.

Then again, since we now have 1080p... Posted Image

*With the video based material and bad "PAL to NTSC/NTSC to PAL"-conversions, it´s of course another matter. I edit TV-news and sometimes we get these poor "NTSC to PAL"-news feeds from the US. They indeed look like s**t. That´s - however, another matter also (original, "native" source probably looked just fine).

But yes, if a TV/receiver etc will show you the "format" (PAL, NTSC, 1080i, 1080p..), then it´s "fair play". This is kinda what I was asking from the other person.

#15 of 20 Adam Barratt

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Posted September 06 2008 - 08:57 PM

Quote:
"Obvious visual clues"? Now what those would be?


The most obvious are the softness of NTSC (nearly 20% drop in resolution), pulldown judder from film-based material, a faster frame rate (a quick glance offscreen makes this easy to spot) and visible scan lines.

Quote:
If we´re talking about the proper "conversions" here from the film based material*, the difference is minimal.

Film based sources are much easier to detect, thanks to 3:2 pulldown. Native 30fps material is a bit harder to spot and can take a couple of seconds.

Quote:
Sure, some people may claim that they´ll "see it", of course.

I live in a PAL territory where the odd NTSC DVD title was released by studios to save money, and most people with larger DVD collections have a good spread of both NTSC and PAL titles as multi-region players have been the standard for nearly a decade. The handful of people I know who are also into this hobby of ours can also spot NTSC almost instantly.

The difference between non-anamorphic NTSC and PAL is so large I can't imagine that anyone couldn't! PAL speedup, on the other hand, was only something I noticed when playing the same title in NTSC back-to-back with the PAL version, or when the film was one I had seen countless times on NTSC LaserDisc.

Adam

#16 of 20 Jean-Michel

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Posted September 06 2008 - 10:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arild
As was pointed out by another poster, there are exceptions but I personally have never seen a European DVD release containing NTSC format video, be it the main feature or the extras. And I do tend to notice these things.

Personally I think releasing a DVD for sale in Europe in NTSC format would be sloppy and lazy. True, pretty much all newer TVs can handle it but many older TVs can't.

Masters of Cinema uses NTSC where no PAL or format-neutral (e.g. 24p) master is available -- mostly Japanese titles (Scandal, Kwaidan, Funeral Parade of Roses, etc.) but a few others as well (Salesman, Grey Gardens, Sunrise, Abhijan). In their case it has nothing to do with sloppiness or laziness: the alternatives are a) do their own PAL telecine, which they don't have the resources for, or b) do an NTSC-to-PAL conversion, which inevitably reduces PQ and has marred far too many UK "art-house" DVDs (Tartan's catalog was rife with them).

(Arte France has also released a handful of NTSC titles, although in their case I'm not sure what the rationale is.)

#17 of 20 Arild

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Posted September 06 2008 - 11:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jari K
Fair enough, but how do you actually "notice"? Sure, PAL might have a bit more resolution, but not enough to "see" the difference..
Well, on my old CRT TV the difference was very obvious as the lower number of scanlines on NTSC was very noticeable. This TV also had a quirk in that it would show a thin blue line at the very top of the screen when viewing NTSC video (annoying, yes, but I learned to live with it).

My current LCD screen will display info about the video format. So I'm not just "guessing" whether I'm watching PAL or NTSC. Posted Image

#18 of 20 Jari K

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Posted September 07 2008 - 04:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arild
My current LCD screen will display info about the video format. So I'm not just "guessing" whether I'm watching PAL or NTSC. Posted Image

Fair enough. Posted Image

#19 of 20 Bruce Morrison

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Posted September 09 2008 - 09:44 PM

If the information isn't actually displayed, the quickest way to tell whether you're watching something in PAL or NTSC is to try adjusting the Tint. This won't be possible if it's PAL material.
Bruce Morrison

#20 of 20 Jari K

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Posted September 25 2008 - 02:13 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Morrison
I've seen today that 'Sophie Scholl' is to be released on Blu-ray in the UK in October; it will be all-region, and the SD extras will be in NTSC rather than PAL.

Extras are indeed in NTSC:
DVD Times - Sophie Scholl


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