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Aug 24, 2002
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Can anyone explain, or point me in the right direction for a suitable website which details, all I am ever likely to need to know about PAL, PAL50, PAL60, NTSC, 3:2 pulldown etc. output from DVD players, and the effect it has depending on the capabilities of the TV which the player is hooked up to. (I am likely to view PAL and NTSC discs).

PAL and NTSC are TV formats, the latter usually found in the Americas and Asia while PAL is commonly used in Europe and Australia for example.

DVD Players generate the actual format depending on the disc content [*1] but since you may require to play "NTSC" discs on a European TV which is PAL compatible only you may need to apply some tricks:

PAL60 converts the NTSC color coding to PAL format but maintains the 60Hz refresh rate - the TV must be able to cope with that refresh rate. Some do, some don't.
PAL50 means the player converts color coding and refresh rate, thus ensuring compability with even the oldest PAL TV you may have.
Therefore you can say PAL = PAL50, the latter being only a more detailed term.
If your TV however is fairly new it's safe to assume it supports NTSC and thus no conversion to PAL(50) or PAL60 is needed and e.g. R1 discs are best watched in NTSC.
PAL discs are of course best watched in PAL, no conversion is required here.

3:2 pulldown refers to the fact that big-screen movies are shot at 24 frames per second (fps). To make this compatible with the 60Hz refresh rate of NTSC the picture is first repeated first twice and then 3 times.
In fact for PAL a 2:2 pulldown with a 4% speedup is required to match 50Hz. Some may find the audible speedup annoying while others don't even notice.

See this excellent FAQ (chapter 3.4) for more details:

[*1] On DVDs is no NTSC or PAL format as such, only 575/60 ("NTSC") or 625/50 ("PAL").

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