Differences between PAL and NTSC?

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No one talks about the differences between two things if they are not similar in any way. PAL and NTSC are similar because they are television standards that can be recorded on VHS and DVD video format or transmitted.

I can summarize the differences between these formats by simply telling you that the PAL standard was introduced to cater for the deficiencies of the NTSC. End of article, up next …!! However, you will remain in virtually the same level of vagueness.  First, let me differentiate between these two formats by giving more information on each of them.

Phase Alternating Line(PAL):  While broadcasting at 625- line per 50 fields, broadcast television system in several countries uses a color encoding system called PAL. These countries are now categorized into two,

  • Countries that have converted PAL to DVB, DTMB or ISDB.
  • Countries that are yet to convert PAL to DVB, DTMB or ISDB.

PAL is predominant in European countries, Australia and some few countries in Asia.

National Television System Committee (NTSC): Mostly used in the Americas, NTSC is a standard implemented when broadcasting at 525-lines per 60 fields.


Differences between the PAL standard and NTSC standard

There are two major differences. These two differences will be explained in this article.

Difference in Electrical Frequency

The easiest way of identifying the difference between PAL and NTSC is by observing the underlying electrical power system. Because electricity is generated in the United States at 60 hertz. Signal is distributed at 60 fields per second. Hence, the video standard adopted by each country highly depends on the electrical frequency adopted by the country. However, because electricity in Europe is being generated at a constant frequency of 50 Hertz, its signal is distributed at 50 fields per seconds.

The use of an interlaced system is often adopted to help the NTSC as it sends images in different batches that includes 30 lines. While for PAL, 25 lines of images are sent.

Therefore, due to this difference in electrical frequency. Can you watch a PAL movie on a NTSC television? Yes! Simply add 5 more frames to the 25 frames on ground and enjoy your movie.  In PAL, actors on the television’s screen move faster than actors on the screen with NTSC.


Difference in resolution

Since PAL does not produce as much frames as NTSC, there is a significant difference between the resolution of PAL and the resolution of NTSC. Therefore, the difference in resolution is the most profound difference.

The number of resolution lines that NTSC broadcasts is 525 lines while PAL broadcasts 625 lines of resolution. What difference does this make? There is often a positive correlation between resolution and visual information or between resolution and video quality. The more lines of resolution there is the higher the amount of visual information and vice versa. Hence, PAL produce better image quality and gives our vision a higher amount of visual information.

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