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PAL vs. NTSC clarification question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Handy, Mar 15, 2002.

  1. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    Hi all,

    I was not sure where to post this, but here goes. I am interested in learning more about the differences between NTSC and PAL video formats. I thought that the two formats had nothing to do with DVD movies, but it is the DVD player that converts the information on the disc to a signal that the TV can accept.

    Further, my understanding is that DVDs have region encoding not because they are recorded differently, but because it is a convenient way to segregate the global market (for example, if we get a movie on DVD before it comes out in the theaters overseas, it could be damaging to the theater-going market). Someone, please enlighten me!

    Thanks

    Jason
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Here's the scoop:
    NTSC material has a resolution of 704x480, a framerate of 29.97 frames/second. Send this type of video information to a PAL TV and it's "no go, Houston."
    PAL material has a resolution of 704x576, a framerate of 25 frames/second. Send this type of video information to a NTSC TV, and it's the same sad story.
    The DVD video files are encoded for their intended market (PAL or NTSC) in both Aspect ratio and framerate. So it does start with the material on the DVD itself that makes the difference.
    The conversion from PAL to NTSC requires the conversion to drop every 6th line from horizontal (576) lines to get to 480 lines so that the NTSC TV's can deal with it. The cheap DVD players that offer this conversion feature will drop every 3rd line, thus creating a squashed video picture.
    For film material/sources played on NTSC, they are usually 24 frames/second, and require a 2:3 pull down to get it to sync with NTSC's 29.97 frames/second. (I'll admit my understanding of the pulldown might not be quite right, but I'm sure someone will come along and correct me if I got that wrong [​IMG] )
    On PAL material the 1 frame/second difference results in a 4% speed up of movies (1/25).
    Your understanding of region coding is correct, DVD players look at the region code flag and determine whether it is supposed to play the material on the DVD. If you get a hacked all-region DVD player, it should ignore the region code and play the material, then you have to contend with the PAL/NTSC issues if an incompatibility exists.
     
  3. Jason Handy

    Jason Handy Second Unit

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    So basically what you are saying is that even though my Apex DVD player has the region-free operation, there is a conversion issue as well as a region issue?

    I will admit the PAL DVD I own is not the highest quality transfer, but I thought that was the disc and not the conversion from my player.

    Thanks for the info!

    Jason
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Jason, yes, the Apex is probably not providing the correct PAL-to-NTSC conversion, but it's better than nothing. The best solution for Region-free play and proper PAL/NTSC conversion is the Malata N996, but it's around $250-$300 (a far cry from an Apex that cost around $100 nowadays).
     
  5. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    The Apex's PAL conversion is..less than stellar. Looking at it on a Malata for my PAL titles is like night and day
     
  6. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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  7. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Well, of course, Mattias, the question is from a USA perspective - the televsions you're talking about are just not commonly available here, or maybe not at all (except for some front projectors).
     
  8. Dmitry

    Dmitry Supporting Actor

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