Re: Difference in formats(?)

Brigid Duffy (
Tue, 5 Dec 2000 15:17:48 -0800 (PST)

As I recall from my broadcasting classes, television in the UK and the
Commonwealth countries use the PAL system, which creates a video image
using 625 lines of dots per image on the screen, and re-writes this image
50 times per second. France, Russia and many other countries use SECAM,
which also creates pictures from 625 lines of dots, but builds the picture
differently from PAL. Television in the US, Canada, South America, Korea
and Japan use NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) system, which
makes images from 525 lines of dots, 60 times per second. There are many
further details to it (interlacing, usable picture area, data lines, etc.)
but the bottom line is that, short of rewiring the world, PAL, SECAM and
NTSC videos are not and will not be interchangeable.

And 'television' in this case means broadcast tv, vcrs, dvd players,
television sets, the whole system.

Incidentally, the audio track on all these systems is (on vhs tape) an
analog signal that makes it the equivalent of audio tape - so you get the
sound, but no picture, if you try to run a PAL tape on an NTSC deck.

Brigid Duffy
Audio Visual/ITV Center
San Francisco State University
San Francisco CA 94132-4200

On Tue, 5 Dec 2000, Lucy Lockley wrote:

> I have had a staff member ask me about the difference between DVD's sold in
> America and those sold in Great Britain. In particular they asked if a
> British DVD could be played without any problems on an American DVD player
> or computer with DVD capability? The person who asked the question
> mentioned 'Region 2 encoding' which is apparently for Europe, the Middle
> East, & Japan only. U.S. DVD's are listed as in a different region. I
> believe they got this information from &/or
> I am aware (somewhat) of the difference regarding British/European videos
> which are in the PAL format (?) and that they cannot be played on American
> video players without some kind of 'translation' (I know that is not the
> correct term but my meaning is basically the same.) We have just started
> to get into ordering DVD's here and I do not know the answer to this
> question and thought that someone out on videolib could help me.
> Can someone please explain the problem, if there is any, regarding playing
> a British DVD on an American PC or DVD player? Responses can be sent
> directly to me at my e-mail address below if this message, & any responses,
> will clutter up the listserv.
> Is this similar to the difficulty with videos in the PAL format? I'm not
> sure if I understand that one as well as I should either so any information
> on either should be useful.
> Many thanks in advance.
> Lucy M. Lockley Phone: 636/441.2300, Ext. 1563
> Collection Development Manager FAX: 636/441.3132
> St. Charles City-County Library District
> 425 Spencer Road
> P.O. Box 529 e-mail:
> St. Peters, MO 63376-0529 Library website:
> "Demons after money!?! Whatever happened to the still beating heart
> of a virgin?! No one has any standards anymore!"
> ___ Giles ('Buffy, the Vampire Slayer')
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