NTSC vs PAL which is "better"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Antony_VE, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Antony_VE

    Antony_VE Extra

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    Had an debate with my friend the other day regarding PAL DVD's vs NTSC since here in Zone 4 (Australia) our discs are PAL, but we can also get the Zone 1 which are NTSC.

    Basically NTSC has a higher refresh rate 60Mhz but less lines on the screen. PAL has a lower refresh rate 50Mhz but there are more lines on the screen.

    My friend thinks that the NTSC discs due to the higher refresh rate have a much more stable picture, but I don't see that much difference. Maybe it is his equipment (screen), since I have a few Sony TVs and they seem to be pretty clear no matter which format I use (all our TV/DVDs here are compatible on NTSC and PAL).

    Just interested to see what people thought about this issue, since obviously the non-imported DVD's are cheaper but are in PAL, ie. is it worth more to pay a bit more if you get a clearer picture....
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Since PAL speeds up 24fps sources and chipmunks them, and considering that many, especially older titles are sourced from NTSC masters anyway NTSC all the way

    The only real advantage PAL has are the extra lines and the more consistant color, since many picture settings are contained in the signal
     
  3. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    And now that the ATSC specifications are slowly phasing out NTSC, the point's moot: ATSC all the way!
     
  4. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    It's my understanding that one advantage of PAL is that, since it's a 50 field-per-second format (verus 30 fps, or 60 fields-per-second for NTSC), it's easier to fit film-source material onto a PAL recording because you just assign each of the 24 frames-per-second of the film to two PAL fields, leaving only a slight adjustment needed to deal with the two extra fields remaining each second. This avoids the 3-2 frame assignment issues you get when fitting 24 fps film-source material onto NTSC video and the eventual need for a 3-2 pulldown compensator.
     
  5. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    The only problem w/ that is that they don't do any adjustment for the extra frame needed to do 25 frames/sec for PAL. The 24 frames/sec film-sourced content just ends up being sped up by ~4%, which is not a good thing if you're a purist.

    _Man_
     
  6. Darren Pillans

    Darren Pillans Second Unit

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    Hi Antony,
    I struggled with the PAL vs NTSC dilemma for a while and have reached some conclusions.
    My entire DVD collection was intially Region 1. When Region 4 titles starting coming out I got curious. I started borrowing my friends Region 4 PAL DVDs and comparing them to my Region 1 NTSC counterparts.
    I kept trying to deny that PAL gave a better picture and telling myself. "The PAL speed up sucks!" "The PAL flicker sucks!" "Region 1s have more extras!" But after many direct PAL/NTSC comparisons on the same player with the same movies, I now know and acept that PAL is better.
    WHAT CAN MY NAKED EYES TRULY SEE?
    PAL has a slight "shimmer" and NTSC does have a more "stable" image.
    PAL has higher resolution (It's a fact) that you can clearly notice.
    NTSC looks out of focus, fuzzy and dull in comparison.
    WHAT CAN'T I SEE?
    I have NEVER been able to see or hear the PAL speed up. I know it exists, and all PAL movies have lesser running times than their NTSC counterparts. But if I was never made aware of it, I would never have noticed.
    I have since replaced many Region 1 DVDs with Region 4 and now look at each release on its individual merits. Sure, sometimes the U.S. disc is the preferred option, eg: Terminator 2 Ultimate Edition. But if the releases are the same, I'll ALWAYS get the PAL version.
    Why? They're almost half the price and give a more detailed, vibrant picture.
    THE END.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Cue up a PAL DVD and a NTSC PAL of the same film, and start playing them at the same time. You'll notice the speedup in a side-by-side comparison.
     
  8. Darren Pillans

    Darren Pillans Second Unit

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    Side by side, sure. The PAL just appears to run shorter.

    I did this comparison years ago with laserdisc, before I knew about the PAL speed-up. Back then, I assumed the PAL versions where edited. I never discerned the ACTUAL speed-up of the movie.

    When watching a PAL DVD on its own, I've never noticed it.
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I used to live in Oz and had the same issue. While I could never detect the PAL speed-up so that I cared one way or the other, the picture quality was noticeably better on PAL. But that was on my non-top-of-the-line, analog set kindly provided by my landlord. This difference was much less apparent on a friend’s HT equipment with a progressive –scan DVD player. I am not sure that either of us could really see enough of a difference to care.

    I was also not sure how much my PAL TV (they tolerate NTSC) contributed to the difference in PQ.

    I’ve never done a side-by-side PAL/NTSC comparison.

    And, as Jack observes, ATSC all the way. I no longer care.
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    So if you factor in 3:2 pulldown of film-sourced NTSC DVDs, then the comparison is actually 480p vs 576i.

    I guess there are linedoublers for PAL also, but it's not gonna be as good as 3:2 pulldown.

    _Man_
     
  11. Antony_VE

    Antony_VE Extra

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    Yep,
    I know there is supposed to be a speed difference and thus shorter movie. But really, the sound always sounds the same and I can't notice the movie being different to the cinema or a disc side to side.
    I think the flicker of PAL is more noticeable if you have a cheap TV. My friend has a cheap TV, but with my Sony Tv's can't really notice flicker at all.
    Thus, lately I have bought PAL dvds, unless there is something special about the NTSC, like it is a special USA release not available here or some special feature on the dvd.
    Titanic is supposed to be 4min shorter, it would probably make the movie more tolerable he he. But Lord of the Rings I would miss 4min [​IMG]
     
  12. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

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    Right. They speed up the PAL slightly to get 25 frames filled up each second.

    It's supposed to be imperceptible but, as Antony has pointed out, could actually be an advantage with less entertaining material.
     
  13. Antony_VE

    Antony_VE Extra

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    he he

    I heard though that with progressive scan, most is in NTSC, so that might be a reason to stick with it, not many PAL progressive scan discs exist or players...
     

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