Problem viewing PAL DVD's

Matt Stieg

Stunt Coordinator
Nov 26, 2003
So I bought a multi-region JVC player a couple of years ago for the express purpose of viewing the Dutch Laurel & Hardy sound shorts collection from Universal Benelux. When playing the DVD's, the first thing I noticed was that thin vertical and horizontal lines were very unstable. For example, if there was a shot of a doorway, the edges around the doorway would do a weird shimmering thing (I think this is called "line twitter?"). So I tried switching the picture source from AUTO to FILM, and problem solved, the DVD's played perfectly; the ONLY problem is towards the end of a short called "Them Thar Hills," when the film cuts from one shot to the next I get a brief frame (or field or whatever it's called) of "interlaced combing" (again I'm not sure if that's the proper term, but it's those lines that you see when people move around or when the picture cuts from one shot to the next). When I switch to AUTO or VIDEO it's not there, but like I said I get line twitter when it's not on FILM.

Anyway, I've since gotten a few other Region 2 PAL discs, all of them display "line twitter" (I hope I'm using that term correctly, if not I apologize) when the player is on AUTO. So I'll switch to FILM and some of them play perfectly whereas others display that interlaced combing. For the ones that comb during FILM, I'll play on VIDEO, but it's the same problem with AUTO; no combing but still line twitter.

Now, my JVC player is progressive scan but I'm still watching on an old analog 4:3 set. Is there any good way to watch these discs without line twitter and combing? If need be I'll just put up with line twitter over combing. Would these DVD's play properly if I were watching them on an HDTV?


Senior HTF Member
Apr 2, 2004
Kentucky, USA
You're not going to get a perfect picture of a PAL source on any NTSC television. Some PAL-to-NTSC converters are better than others, but it's just that, a conversion. The converters built into DVD players are nowhere nearly as sophisticated as the broadcast-standard converters that the TV industry uses (converters that are out of the price range of consumers).

If it really annoys you, you might want to consider buying a mult-standard television (one that will display NTSC and PAL pictures in their native resolutions without conversion). They're quite rare in the USA (i.e. you can't just go to the big box store to get one), but there are some specialists (particularly online) who can help you out.

I have no idea of any of the HDTV sets sold in the USA can display a "native" PAL picture without you having to convert it yourself to NTSC. Any HDTV owners here care to chime in? If HDTV were to solve the PAL/NTSC issue, I know I'd be more interested in hopping on the wagon!

As for me right now, I'm content with the standards converter in my Philips 726, and the stand-alone ComWorld converter I bought for my PAL VCR (if you think DVD line shimmer is bad, you should see the line shimmer on the built-in converters in the old Samsung multi-standard VCRs).


Second Unit
Dec 16, 2002

A modern digital TV, such as an LCD TV, regardless of being HDTV or SDTV, has a good chance of being multistandard. It may not be documented in the owner's manual, or it may be an option right in the TV setup; it all depends on the make/model of the TV. I have an EDTV plasma that allows you to change from NTSC/PAL/Auto in the hidden setup menu. I have a Westinghouse LCD that has a switch for it right in the regular setup. For the plasma, I just leave it on Auto and have my multiregion player set to output PAL. Never had a problem.

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