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Anyone tell the resolution difference between PAL and NTSC?

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Daneel, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I've always been aware of the extra resolution PAL affords and together with the lack of 3:2 pulldown effects that makes R2/4 my region of choice unless there is a significant price difference or problems with the PAL transfer. The audio speed-up doesn't bother me.

    However, I was never able to spot the difference, not that I tried too hard, until recently. Even then, I thought it was just in my head, after all I only have a 32" tv, surely it wouldn't be noticable on that?

    Recently, particularly with 1.85/1.78 ratio films I've found that the image on R1s just doesn't have the sharpness or detail levels found on R2/4.

    This morning First Knight arrived, thanks to a purchase on this forum. For some reason I thought I had bought the R2, and as the cover was the same I didn't notice it was a R1 until after I'd finished watching. All the way through I thought the picture was on the soft side, yet the reviews I'd read, while not saying it was superb, had led me to belive it would be better than what I was looking at. When I took the DVD out to put it back in its case I spotted that it was a R1....

    Conincidence, or is the difference really that apparent?
     
  2. Lux

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    I might be able to tell if I have both R1 and R2 of the same movie, but that hasn't happened yet (only different R2 versions of a film). so for me the difference isn't apperent. I don't notice pal speedup either (unless I did a side by side comparison) and the 3:2 pulldown doesn't really bother me that much either.
    should I care more??
     
  3. Darth_Fisto

    Darth_Fisto
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    No, because some people get obsessed with PAL/NTSC differences and you don't want to be like one of those, ahem, people :suicide:

    I prefer PAL, but if the R1 DVD is better then I'll get that. I do notice the resolution difference, but again, it doesn't bother me as both are still very good quality. :D
     
  4. richard plumb

    richard plumb
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    There is also the issue of which one is encoded better.

    BTW, if you are going projector in the future, is it better to stick with NTSC? It seems that most, if not all projectors are based on NTSC resolutions. Even if they support PAL this will be by scaling.

    eg, my AE100 has a 480 vertical resolution, so am I right in starting to get R1/R2NTSC to get the best out of it?
     
  5. Gary D

    Gary D
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    i think the diff between NTSC and PAL is caused by that nasty pal speed up problem :devil: :rotfl: :eek: :D :devil: :rotfl: :eek: :D

    Gary
     
  6. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    There are other issues here that mean you may NOT just be comparing the 480/576 resolutions. Remember Video tape is 576 lines as well in this country but is it better than R1 DVD?.....

    As Ricahrd said, how a disc is encoded (ie what information is actually stored inteh lines and pixels) is critical. Then there's the fact that most modern digital processing TV's will load up a completely different set of paramaters in hidden menu's for the processing and display of 480i V 576i.

    There's plenty of R1 discs that are better than R2 and vide versa.

    Gordon
     
  7. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I'm sure there are but I would argue that this is due to either having a better master or the encoding being done better. If all things video are equal, then the PAL encode will come out on top purely due to the extra resolution.

    VHS does not have 576 lines, it is more like 240/288, or did you mean something else by video tape?
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    We record video as 576interlaced horizontal lines of information.
    DVD have 576interlaced lines of horizontal information encoded on them too.
    TV broadcasts are 576i lines as well. They are all the same. It is the PAL standard.

    How much detail is able to be extracted from those encoded lines is something different.

    Your initial statement suggests that PAL is always superior to NTSC. I merely point out that this may not be the case and if you see it on R1 v R2 dsics there can be a multitude of other reasons why this is the case. Believe me or don't believe....I don't really care.

    Gordon
     
  9. NicolasB

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    PAL is 720x576, NTSC is 720x480.

    As Gordon says (although I don't think VHS tape is a very happy example) there are a lot of different factors that may be at work. If you have a plasma TV with a 480-line vertical resolution (which many plasmas have) then you are not going to get any more detail out of a PAL disc than an NTSC disc, and in fact the PAL one may well look worse, because the result of taking the original film, scaling to 576 lines using a top quality scaler, feeding the result into the internal scaler of a plasma TV and scaling a second time (to 480 lines) is likely to look less good than the result of scaling the original film to 480 lines using the top quality scaler and sending it straight to the screen.

    Conversely, a CRT television designed primarily to display a PAL signal may not do a very good job of (effectively) scaling up a 480-line signal - you may get (for example) moire effects, as the image scan-lines no longer match up precisely with the shadow-mask and phosphors.
     
  10. Daneel

    Daneel
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    As far as I am aware, DVD is not 576 interlaced for most discs. It is 576 lines progressive.

    NicolasB, that all makes sense to me, points taken.
     
  11. Reiner

    Reiner
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    Doesn't it mostly depend on the mastering and not the technology behind it?

    A PAL DVD (even there is no such thing technically speaking) in the UK can be different from the PAL DVD in Germany of the same title. After all, here in Asia you can find lot's of 'NTSC DVD' which don't even come close to the US DVDs which are also NTSC (though releases from the major labels match the R1 discs usually).
    So it's all theory but the practical implementation will define what is better, and that is - unfortunately - on a case by case basis.
     
  12. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Reiner, I would suggest that these days, particularly for new films, DVD releases (mastering, encoding, etc.) are done very well and the limit on quality is down to the standards we are discussing, particularly the resolution. Hence the move towards HDTV and HD-DVD to once again raise the bar.
     
  13. Underscore

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    I think you are confusing horizontal and vertical resolution. The vertical resolution is fixed by the standard - 576/625 for PAL and 480/525 for NTSC - but the horizontal resolution (measured in TVL or lines) is not. It is in horizontal resolution (delivered to the display device) that DVD is so superior to VHS.

    No. DVDs are encoded as successive fields - i.e. 576i/480i - though there are (optional) flags that allow the encoder to indicate that the fields come from a progressive source, and which fields should be combined to generate 576p/480p. Unfortunately, not all discs are flagged correctly - I even have one (Mei Ah release of Hard Boiled) that flags the fields to combine wrongly so that playing back in film mode (weave) gives horrendous combing. Fortunately, as I use a HTPC, I just force it to video mode (bob) for that one disc.

    _
     
  14. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Underscore, the VHS bit I'm going to have to read up on and get back to you.

    DVD however I'm pretty sure is progressive. The reason is that I have done a lot of video encoding from DVDs. Using DVD2AVI allows me to check the encoding on a DVD, step through individual frames etc. It gives information on the enocding of the MPEG2 video stream within the VOB files. For the vast majority of movies, this is progressive. For tv series and music videos it can often be interlaced or so called "film".
     
  15. Underscore

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    Yep, that means that the progressive flag that I mentioned is set to '1' - it does not mean that the DVD is stored as progressive, only that the source was progressive so it is possible to generate a progressive output from the disc. Most mainstream titles will be correctly flagged so that recombining the fields to recreate the progressive source will be trivial. However, some more esoteric releases are either not flagged or badly flagged, which is why there is such a market for fancy, and expensive, cadence-based deinterlacers.

    _
     
  16. nathan_silly

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    Don't know why you bothered post this thread. It's pretty obvious you prefer PAL, so any critism to your own views will just bring out defensive comments.

    I prefer R1 NTSC's, due to higher refresh, original video/audio speed, no problems with pitch corrected issues, not cut, no funding to the BBFC/FACT, lower MPEG compression-therefore less MPEG artifacts (to my eyes) 3:2 pulldown does not bother me (and NTSC progressive will sort this out anyway)

    There's more to PAL/NTSC differences. I see no mention of MPEG compression. You could make PAL look crap by having maximum compression, and NTSC great with lowest compression. And vice versa.
     
  17. Daneel

    Daneel
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    Hrm.... it seems I am not as well informed as I thought. I am confused however as to why most DVDs do not require a deinterlacing filter if they are in fact interlaced? Independence Day is an example of a main-stream movie that is interlaced, without applying a filter the end result is blurry. Many other films however require no such filter.

    Grabbed some info from here.

    [Edit - Nathan that is garbage. I do prefer PAL based on what I know about the standard and what I see infront of me, however I am always willing to change my opinions based on solid fact and logical arguments. BTW your comments about compression would only apply if the DVD was completely full, i.e. they ran out of space. PAL takes up more space because it stores more information (resolution). When was the last time you saw a DVD that was totally full?]
     
  18. nathan_silly

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    How do you know the average/minimum/maximum compression during a film? Just because the disc has space left doesn't mean the bitrate has been maxxed out. For example, buying a music DVD only 20 minutes long. I doubt they'll make the most of the space by having constant 10 mbs (and not forgetting allowing full-bitrate dts)

    It's only when you do comparisons that higher compression shows up more. I feel that PAL discs have higher compression, as minor blocking, and gradients, and grain (shown up in dark scenes) seems to be higher. A bit like setting sharpness a bit too high.
     
  19. Underscore

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    Only if you have a source and display device capable of output and display at an integer multiple of 24Hz. Most NTSC progressive devices only support 480p/60, which still suffers from 3-2 pulldown - it's just frames that get repeated rather than fields.

    However, I totally agree on the MPEG artefact point. I bought the R4 Monsters Inc. from CD-WOW. Now it has a dts soundtrack (whoopee do) but the video shows far more artefacts than the R2 16:9 version. Any dts fanboy want to swap? ;)

    _
     
  20. Daneel

    Daneel
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    I can run a program to check it if I like. Maximum bitrate is not always needed. With the exception of Sony Pictures who love to do their later superbit releases, what is the point in a company not using as much space as they have to encode the video? I would suggest that the reason most DVDs don't take up the full space is that the video simply doesn't require it.
     
  21. NicolasB

    NicolasB
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    The signal stored on a "PAL" DVD is always 50 half-frames per second. You may or may not be able to assemble those in such a way as to produce 25 progressive scan frames per second. But either way what's on the disk is 50 half-images per second, each of which contains 288 lines of information.
     
  22. MartinImber

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    I find NTSC looks kind of less detailed vertically, but 3:2 pull down is the clincher - it is horrible
     
  23. Gary D

    Gary D
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    would someone be so kind as to tell me this 3:2 pulldown is all about?



    Gary
     
  24. Lux

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  25. Gary D

    Gary D
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    thanks lux, most helpful


    Gary
     
  26. briandzo

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    as Nathan says compression used is a massive factor to take into account along with the equipment being used in the transfer process.

    one uncompressed frame of PAL video takes up aprox 1meg data.
    thats 25 meg per second. thats 1500 meg per minute (1.5gig)
    assuming a blank dvd can hold 4gig of data.
    therefore a dvd can hold aprox 2.6 minutes of uncompressed pal video....

    the transfer of film to digital is another set of figures.

    so as said i feel the kit and compression technologys used in the
    process to dvd , are a far greater concern than the television standard.
     

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