Advice, Buy in US play in UK


Standard Member
Hi all,

Hope some of you can shead some light on this for me.
Want to buy a Sony camcorder from US as they work out so much cheaper than equivalent UK model. Have a number of questions though:

1) PAL/SECAM and NTSC issue. I understand that there is the difference but if my tv/video/dvd etc is NTSC compatible will everything work together? Comments!!

2) Voltage, will unit work on UK power supply?

3) Am I going to come across any problems in the long run if I buy from US (am I going to regret saving a few hundred quid)??

4) If you can think of any other points that I should consider.

I would really appreciate your comments and suggestions.


Peter O Sullivan

I got a Sony TRV-950 brought back from America about 2 months ago. Saved a few hundred euro on it.
My comments on your questions
1. The Pal/Ntsc thing: Doesn't make a difference since all my footage is edited on the pc and then can output it as Pal or Ntsc. Also most TV's now will accept every type of signal. One thing it can't do is if you want to use the camcorder as a passthrough to input stuff from your PAL VCR or other equipment to the pc, the camcorder won't recognise it. Didn't really care about that.
2. The voltage: The camcorder will come with is own transformer so all you need is a plug converter, bout £2 from argos. Forget about the whole 110/220 voltage thing
3. Problems: One main one, if any thing happens the camcorder, it will prob need to shipped back to the USA for repairs. Costly.

Only do it if you think you are saving enough money.
For me, to buy it ireland i saved near 1400Euro
, to import from England saved about 500Euro
I got the camcorder, plus a extra battery and a protective lense for 1450Euro, I think

Any more questions give us a shout!


Staff member
Just to re-inforce what Peter said:

A US camcorder is almost certainly going to be NTSC only. That means

1) You will need a multistandard TV to watch it. Many modern models are, but you need to check whether yours is.

2) You will NOT be able to copy/edit the camcorder tapes onto any regular UK VHS machine. can't speak for DVD recorders and the like. You should be able to use a suitably equipped PC to copy onto, edit, and even convert to PAL before storing the end result on tape or DVD or CD. But, standards conversion invariably degrades the image, introducing one or more of: softness, stair-stepping and jerkiness.

Note that a VCR that can PLAY NTSC tapes will not necessarily RECORD an NTSC signal. True multistandard VCRs are fairly rare and most are costly.

3) The power supply/recharger issue - you need to ensure that the PSU that comes with it is good for up to 240 volts. If it comes with a 110v (only) PSU then you'll kill it as soon as you plug it in.


Established Member
Isn't NTSC a lower resolution than PAL - 720 x 480 as opposed to 720 x 576?

In which case, surely this means that videos shot with an NTSC camcorder won't be as good a quality as those shot with a PAL camcorder?

Other issues:-

As already mentioned, if anything goes wrong, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to get it fixed unless you send it back to the States.

There is also a small chance that you'll get stopped at customs and will have to pay VAT and duties on the camcorder.

Don't know which model you're thinking about, but as the TRV33 is under £500 ( any potential saving isn't going to be that big, and is it worth taking a risk? Personally, I'd rather pay a bit extra and have peace of mind.


Sony camcorders do tend to have multi voltage chargers, so no problems with that.

Standard VCR's will play an NTSC tape, but will NOT record NTSC. Nearly all TV's will be able to show the NTSC footage played from the cam.

DVD players will be able to play an NTSC disk on a PAL system. Converting footage from NTSC to PAL in software will cost around £300 and hardware around £200 - so not cheap.

Sony UK will not honor a USA waranty - so no cover if it goes belly up!

Customs can charge you import duty & VAT if they catch you with it. They can do this even after several years, so if going on holiday with it later on you can still get caught by them!

Internet retailers are selling camcorders at large discounts compared to the high street. Will the USA savings be enough to warrent all the above disadvantages?



Standard Member
Thanks for all your comments. The packages I have seen on ebay for the trv33 from US companies throw in an array of bonus bits and pieces (will probably never use them) and the exchange rate being what it is makes it really tempting but warranty issues etc make this a hasstle.

I think I will end up at Jessops to pick one up on a price match.

I really appreciate your comments.


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