NTSC 'V' PAL picture quality

Sessen Ryu

Active Member
NTSC has less scan lines than PAL..... - does anyone here notice an insuperior picture (more jaggydy edges 4 e.g) on R1 discs compared to R2?

Does anyone prefer to buy R2 over a R1 because of this reason?


Novice Member
It often seems to come down to the encoding/transfer of individual discs. There are many films that have excellent R1 NTSC transfers and awful R2 PAL UK transfers. The R2 transfers are getting much better though.

Remember also that PAL films are actually played at 25 fps rather than 24fps as they are at the cinema and with NTSC. Some people say they can hear the difference at 25fps. I don't mind the 4% faster audio.

Personally, I prefer the perfectly smooth(2:2) pans of a well encoded PAL disc. A top notch deinterlacer and scaler make the experience even better. The slight judder caused by 2:3 pull-down bugs me.

I have not yet done an A/B comparison between an R1 Superbit disc and the equivalent new R2 Superbit disc. When I get a chance to do that, I'll post my thoughts.

At the end of the day, it is all personal prefernce.



Novice Member
NTSC "Video" is 30fps. Film is still 24fps globally. Even though you are getting 60 fields per second(30 total interlaced frames, or 60 total de-interlaced frames), you are still only getting the 24 original frames from the film in each second. Obviously, the maths don't work well, that is why you can notice a slight judder on wide pans when watching NTSC discs.
If you just converted 24fps to 60Hz(ie 30fps) on a 2:2 basis(instead of a 2:3), the movie would run VERY fast, like a comedy!

I hope this explains it well, even if it is going slightly past the original intentions of the thread. :)
Cheers, William


Active Member
NTSC is 60 fields per second (and two fields make a video frame).

To turn 24 film frames per second film into 60 fields per second you split each film frame into two fields and for each "odd" frame you show each field once and for each "even" frame you show one field once and the other field twice

This gives:

"odd film frames": 12 x first field + 12 x second field
"even film frames": 12 x first field + 24 x second field

= 12 + 12 + 12 + 24 = 60

Because half of every other frame is shown twice you tend to get juddery movement. Even using progressive scan NTSC doesn't solve this it just means that two of the 60 fields are shown simultaneously instead of in sequence.

In order to fix the movement you need a de-interlacing device (something that turns fields back into frames) that can recognize the extra inserted field and remove it. Instead of inserting extra fields the de-interlacer then outputs each frame multiple times to reduce the flicker (for example outputting each frame 3 times will give 72Hz).

For displaying film based DVDs at home 72Hz (for NTSC) and 75Hz (for PAL) TV's would be fantastic :)


P.S. I deliberately missed out mentioning "cadence" and the fact that NTSC is only approximately 60Hz...


Distinguished Member
Presumably (although I'm a bit fuzzy on this, so feel free to correct me) the vertical resolution of the images on NTSC and PAL DVDs is actually the same, so that a PAL system will need to do some scaling and filtering within any one frame to display it over 580 lines rather than 480.


Active Member
I suppose in amongst the techie stuff I wrote earlier I should have said that I tend to buy R2 or R4 PAL in preference to R1. I'm sensitive to the motion problems in R1 NTSC (I also don't like some 100Hz implementations for similar reasons).

However, with a good R1 transfer the difference in resolution won't really be that noticable.

Also, some people really notice the pitch difference with voice and music when 24fps is speeded up to 25fps for most PAL transfers (some transfers use pitch shifting sound processors to counter this but they can introduce their own problems).

It's pretty much down to personal preference. Why not look at one of the DVD comparison web sites and chose a title that's meant to have a good transfer in both NTSC and PAL and then rent/buy/borrow the disks so you can compare for yourself.


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