Standard Member
I keep hearing that PAL is superior to NTSC because it has more colours and scan-lines. So theoretically PAL DVD releases should be superior to their NTSC brethren. But my knowledge of how Europe is the redheaded stepchild of the entertainment industry and is more often than not bitch-slapped around and ends up with inferior products that cost more makes me think otherwise.

Ignoring the fact that most DVD’s released here (Denmark) cannot hold a candle to the NTSC version feature (se animated menus) and extra content vice we should get a better picture quality with more graphics and colours if the original film is transferred to PAL DVD directly from the source. But I suspect that this might not be the way that things are done and perhaps the NTSC DVD is just converted to PAL which would not give us PAL users any better quality.

Anyone know how PAL DVD’s are made who can clarify this?

Squirrel God

The vast majority of PAL DVDs are transferred from the original film source and just speeded up to 25fps (with some pitch-shifting down of the audio to compensate).

If you want to read a review of a PAL DVD that was transferred from an NTSC source (or suspected of being this at least), read this:

You should also do a search as the topic of PAL and NTSC has come up numerous times on the forum.


Prominent Member
I think you can summarize this as saying it purely depends on the mastering, i.e. how much care has been taken when producing the DVD.

Though theoretically PAL has some advantage in terms of scanning lines NTSC produces less flicker (60Hz refresh rate compared to 50Hz). Then again movies (24fps) required a 3:2 pulldown for NTSC releases while PAL get's away with a 2:2 pulldown but requires an audio speedup of 4% - something which quite a few people find rather annoying.


Established Member
Isn't DVD a compressed medium anyway ? To get those extra scan-lines from the same bit-rate would imply more compression and loss of detail. More scan lines and less detail or fewer scan lines with greater detail. All things being equal the information level will be the same.

In reality the differentiator is going to be in the care and quality of the encoding regardless of NTSC or PAL



Standard Member

This is exactly what I feared... It comes down to comparing every single version of a movie on both NTSC and PAL before one can be sure which one is the best.

Once, just once I'd like things to be simple regarding electronics rather than being a giant swirling hell of chaos. I guess it can’t be avoided with so many competing companies out there each trying to do things their own way. Here is hoping that one day people will come to their senses and start moving towards a standard nirvana instead of inventing 1.000.000 different ways of doing the same thing. When it comes to Hi-fi ignorance it seem truly is bliss... I wish I was ignorant.


I don't buy Europe as being on the short end of any stick - at least not in everything. At least you Europeans have a choice. In the US, all TVs, vcr's and dvd players are NTSC only if you buy them through normal market channels rather than hack them or grey-market import them. So we cannot even play PAL region disks.

PAL has more scan lines which leads to a much better picture on a normal TV type display compared to NTSC. As they say, NTSC stands for 'Never The Same Color'.

However, what happens if you drive your display with the component video signals from the DVD player? Thats not PAL or NTSC as its not a composite video signal with color and such things, its 3 separate signals. I imagine one gets a 25fps or 29.97fps output in component that is viewable by any component input capable monitor or display, right?


Distinguished Member
Well firstly I'd just like to say there is more to a good mastering job that whether its a 625/50 version or a 525/60 version ( I tend to find the 525/60 versions ie region1 are actually a little better when it comes to the quality of the original telecine , the compression and the overall package : menu design extras etc.

I tend to plump for region1 in most cases if its a film I really must have ; if its something I just take a fancy to I'll buy either region1 or 2 depending on whether I feel like waiting a couple of days for it to arrive.

As to ultimate quality of formats its 6 of one and half dozen of the other. 625/50 has slightly higher resolution and the benefit of no 3:2 pulldown artifacts but with the 4% speed up and possibly more obvious flicker.
525/60 has same speed as the original ( near enough) and faster refresh but slightly less resolution and 3:2 pulldown artifacts.

I echo the sentiments of GermanMan at least in europe we have the luxury of choice. What with the component nature of dvd the PAL/NTSC issue is moot as thats just a description of a composite colour carrier. However the 625/50 or 525/60 (line structure/refresh) nature of the image is still a factor even with component signal paths.


Prominent Member
Isn't DVD a compressed medium anyway ? To get those extra scan-lines from the same bit-rate would imply more compression and loss of detail.

The compression does IMHO not affect the scanning lines or the resolution itself, only the picture information (i.e. the changes in the picture).
Scanning lines are common and very visible with interlaced pictures, but if you have a progressive scan (non-interlaced) setup they will "magically" disappear, even with a compressed format as DVD.


Standard Member
Talk about bad DVD transfers I recently got Blade runner directors cut and OMFG it sucks (the quality not the movie). It looks like the entire movie is a transfer from a used 256 colour VHS version. I wonder how the NTSC release looks like.

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