DVD Region Code - Purpose - PAL/SECAM Vs. NTSC

PAL/SECAM Vs. NTSC

DVDs are also formatted for use on two conflicting regional television systems: 480i/60 Hz and 576i/50 Hz, which in analog contexts are often referred to as 525/60 (NTSC) and 625/50 (PAL/SECAM) respectively. Strictly speaking, NTSC, PAL and SECAM are all analog color television signal formats which have no relevance in the digital domain (as evident in the conflation of PAL and SECAM, which are actually two distinct analog color systems). However, the DVD system was originally designed to encode the information necessary to reproduce signals in these formats, and the terms continue to be used (incorrectly) as a method of identifying refresh rates and vertical resolution. However, an "NTSC", "PAL" or "SECAM" DVD player that has one or more analog composite video output (baseband or modulated) will only produce NTSC, PAL or SECAM signals, respectively, from those outputs, and may only play DVDs identified with the corresponding format.

NTSC is the analog color TV format historically associated with the United States, Canada, Japan, S. Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Taiwan, and other countries. PAL is the analog color TV format historically associated with most of Europe, most of Africa, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, North Korea, and other countries (and Brazil, but using the refresh rate and resolution commonly associated with NTSC). SECAM, while using the same resolution and refresh rate as PAL, is a distinct format which uses a very different system of color encoding. Some DVD players can only play discs identified as NTSC, PAL or SECAM, while others can play multiple standards.

In general, it is easier for consumers in PAL/SECAM countries to view NTSC DVDs than vice versa. Almost all DVD players sold in PAL/SECAM countries are capable of playing both kinds of discs, and most modern PAL TVs can handle the converted signal.† However, most NTSC players cannot play PAL discs, and most NTSC TVs do not accept 576i video signals as used on PAL/SECAM DVDs. Those in NTSC countries, such as in North America, generally require both a region-free, multi-standard player and a multi-standard television to view PAL discs, or a converter box, whereas those in PAL countries generally require only a region-free player. There are also differences in pixel aspect ratio (720 × 480 vs. 720 × 576 with the same image aspect ratio) and display frame rate (29.97 vs. 25). Again, NTSC discs can be played on most DVD systems worldwide, while PAL discs play on very few players outside of PAL/SECAM countries.

Most computer-based DVD software and hardware can play both NTSC and PAL video and both audio standards.

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