Help! Is this normal for PAL playback on an NTSC TV?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Dick, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    I just bought a "converted" Philips 642 DVD player which is supposed to play back any region (and PAL) on any tv in the world. Well, I am sure it does (at least the aspect ratios of anamorphic widescreen PAL DVD's is correct), but I get what I can only describe as an aliasing problem - scan lines seem distorted, mostly during vertical pans - and fine details warble a little. The picture is viewable, just not the splendid, rock-solid image I am used to. Could this be a problem with the "converted" machine? Might I have better luck with a machine indended to play PAL from the start? Or is this an issue all persons have to live with when using an NTSC television for PAL playback?

    Also, on some discs, the very top scan line of a letterboxed image is "broken..." the black area extends about a third of the way from left to right, then is filled with image. Again, not a critical thing, but it's annoying the way a not quite squared or straight movie screen is in a theater.

    Any information would be apreciated!
     
  2. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair Second Unit

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    Your player sounds typical of a lot of DVD players that have subpar PAL capability. There are many good players out there that can play PAL nearly perfectly and convert PAL to NTSC.

    Three that I own and can recommend:

    Toshible SD4900 (discontinued but may still be available in some stores, should cost under $80) with DVD-Audio.

    Momitsu V880, can purchase online only for about $250, does DVI and upscaling, hence the higher price.

    And my favorite: Yamakawa 238 or 288 (video performance is identical, the 288 adds VGA output and DVD-Audio and a larger case and a couple other features). The 238 can be had very cheap, in $25 price range after rebates, available at the Good Guys and at Ecost.com online. The 288 is also at Ecost.com and online at Amazon.com in the $50 to $70 price range. The PAL output on the Yamakawas is excellant even with non-anamorphic and 4x3 PAL DVDs. These are great bargains.

    All these players can easily be made region-free.

    Just checked, could no longer find the 288 at Amazon.com, but the 288 (along with the 238) can be gotten directly from Yamakawa at www.yamakawadirect.com
     
  3. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Thanks, Jay!



    How? I am no electronics expert.
     
  4. Jay Blair

    Jay Blair Second Unit

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    Tried to e-mail this but got an unable to deliver message:

    Yamakawa 238/288 Region Code Setup:
    Power on the player
    Be sure there is no disk in the player
    Press the SETUP key on the remote control
    Go to the General Preferences Group Setup by pressing right arrow key 3 times
    Press the keys 1 3 7 9 slowly one after the other
    A new window (Overlay) will show the current region code
    Select the desired region code with the “Up” or “Down” arrow keys
    “0" = CODE FREE or all Regions
    Press the PLAY key to confirm your selection
    Press SETUP key to exit
     
  5. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    If you have a US TV, you will need a player that does PAL->NTSC conversion. Most US model TVs cannot display PAL natively (with exception, see below).

    Arcam players do an excellent job of PAL->NTSC conversion but they are expensive ($1K - $3K). They will also output PAL natively over component, and HDMI (for the 2 Arcam HDMI players).

    I have one of these players that I use with a Samsung DLP. I did discover, however, that the DLP will display PAL natively, so I can either have the player convert to NTSC (for a [email protected] signal) or have it send PAL unconverted (for a [email protected] signal) to the TV. When I display PAL natively (at least for the one PAL DVD I Have), I get a 1/2" band of distortion down the right side of the picture. I think it may be an overscan issue.

    But as for NTSC->PAL conversion in a player, you're not going to get the same quality as displaying the video natively. The better the player, the better you can expect for the conversion, so I wouldn't expect too much from sub-$500 (or so) players.

    Dean
     
  6. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    What exactly is "PAL", is that the European standard?
     
  7. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    "PAL" stands for Phase Alteration by Line; technically speaking it is the colour encoding method used by European television, excluding France where the bizarre SECAM technique is employed. This is as distinct from the American NTSC colour system. Technically speaking, the video on DVDs is CCIR 610 [or something] component and not either of these systems.
    Be that as it may: since the M type 525 line/30 Hz/2:1 interlace scanning system used for American television was originally developed by the National Television Systems Committee years before they even began to consider colour, that system is known as NTSC. By analogy the European N-type 625/25/2:1 system is called "PAL". In South America and Africa it is not rare to find M-PAL and N-NTSC, but that hardly matters.
     
  8. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    In the under 500$ player category that does a very nice job at PALNTSC conversion is my Cambridge Audio 540D. In the setup menu you can configure it to output NTSC regardless of whether the disc is NTSC or PAL and it does the conversion rather seamlessly. Also, if you have a projector like Dean describes above, you can select PAL or NTSC output at the touch of a button on the remote. I don't know if it does PAL progressive output if it's a North American unit, but I think it does (can't confirm it as my TV is analogue only NTSC). It's region free out of the box and retails for 389$US. For overall prog scan video performance, it only rates a bit above average on the Secrets Shootout, but it's, build quality, feature set, audio quality (IMO) and price make it a good value, both for Secrets and, of course--since I bought one--for me.
     

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