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PAL - NTSC Converter? (1 Viewer)


Apr 25, 2002
So my in-laws moved into the US with a HUGE collection of VHS tapes - obviously in PAL:frowning: They did bring in a multi-system VCR (one that can play PAL or NTSC tapes) but didn't realize that they will also need a TV which can display PAL. So now we have two options:

1. Buy a multi-system TV. This will probably be more expensive and less portable. However, image quality won't be bad (unless there is something wrong with the tape).

2. Buy a PAL-NTSC converter. This, I hope, will be a little less expensive. And it does give them the flexibility to view their tapes wherever they want - provided they don't mind moving the VCR and the converter box. But I have heard that these things don't work as advertised. Even after the conversion, it is possible that these things still can't display color.

Currently, I am leaning toward the coverter, but the range seems to be HUGE on the web. And frankly, I am not that familiar with the technologies to figure out which converter will do what I want it to - display the PAL tapes playing in the multi-system VCR on an NTSC TV relatively clearly (with color please).

So, from the expertise that we have here, I was hoping to find a solution; and also a bargain from some of you that might be out there - I would ideally have liked to spend about $50 on the thing, but would definitely like to keep it under $120. Can I get a converter that will do a decent job in this amount - or should I shell out the big bucks for a new TV (21" PAL TV ~$250 w/shipping).

I would greatly appreciate a response.

Also, if any of the administrators find this post belongs in another section, please feel free to move it. Thanks.

Allan Jayne

Senior HTF Member
Nov 1, 1998
The problem with conventionl PAL-NTSC (or vice versa) conversion is that it has to work within the limitations of interlaced video. That means, for getting the frame rate correct, both an odd followed by an even field have to be added or deleted together as opposed to adding (or deleting) just one field every here and there. The result is more pronounced jerky motion (one kind of judder).

Some converters get around the problem by crude de-interlacing which cuts the vertical resolution in half.

Much better quality is had by doing good de-interlacing, first. If you already have on you r mind buying a scaler/de-interlacer, you can likc the PAL to NTSC problem at the same time with no added cost.

For example a Lumagen Vision (USD 1000.) takes either PAL or NTSC and outputs a constant progressive scan rate (of your choosing) for example 720p or 768p, also 1080i. There are some limitations, for wexample it won't scale PAL down to 480p but it will scale NTSC up to 576p. The Lumagen has extremely good de-interlacing. The Lumagen does zoom, letterboxing, and side squeeze for aspect ratio control too, although for PAL the zoom for non-anamorphic DVD's needs at least 768p.

Video hints:

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