Hi all,

I have a question if anyone can help me. It might look a bit silly but I am a newbie :)

Is PAL better than SECAM? What about NTSC? What advantages and disadvantages do they have?
I know they are video standards, are they also television standards?

Many thanks for any help.



Prominent Member
From an old Laserdisc FAQ:

Pictures per second
PAL:50 (requires 4.16% speed-up for 24fps film)
NTSC:59.94 (requires 2-3 pulldown duplication for 24fps film)

Total number of scanlines

Number of lines visible (full field)

Video bandwidth
PAL:5MHz{Note that the _broadcast_ video bandwidth is 5.5MHz in UK/Eire}

Effect of "diff gain" problem.
PAL: Immune
NTSC: Produces color errors, e.g. green faces


I'm not really sure why you are asking the question...

At last we have now got away from international TV standards, and PAL and SECAM are now becoming increasingly isolated as we receive more and more digital pictures...

On balance, PAL and SECAM pictures are much better than NTSC.

However Digital pictures are the way forward...


Established Member
Well digital is the way to go but only if the digital providers i.e Sky and NTL etc sort out the bit rate and give us a constant higher rate to stop these awful blocky pictures we get on some channels. In the present climate this is unlikely IMO due to the greed of said providers so a good strong anologue signal wins the day.


Established Member
Whether a picture is digital or not the same question of broadcast standard arises.

PAL digital
NTSC digital

this is the age old DVD debate.

There are pros and cons to both

Lots of issues complicate this debate.

Numbers of lines used to make up a picture

Progressive scan or not.

Pitch alteration for PAL.

Smoothness vs detail

Quality of transfer ( or in the case of broadcast digital, bitrate)

TV calibration.

and above all personal preference.


Prominent Member
I agree that DVD's and digital tv transmissions mean the material will only have to go down to component and not actually the NTSC or PAL colour systems, but they still have to fit the existing display rates for backwards compatibility.

I hate the judder on NTSC films (DVD's or Laserdiscs), I now know it's because of the 2-3 pulldown duplicating fields to make the 23.976fps match the 59.94 fields per second NTSC.

However with progressive scan players or any TV that can do NTSC 2-3 pulldown removal this becomes irrelevant.

PAL discs don't need this, but do need a speed-up which can make audio annoying, especially if you know the proper pitch for the film too (Star Wars theme!).

I don't think the benefits of PAL progressive scan are as great as for NTSC because there were no juddering duplicated fields to remove. Don't get me wrong, the benefits of both are huge on a large projection screen.

With video scalers/htpc's the vertical resultion differences of 480 v.s. 576 becomes surprisingly close for 16:9 anamorphic wide material.
Have NTSC progressive scan+scaler+hd display(plasma/projector, etc) = Usually get NTSC version.
Have NTSC progressive scan capability=Usually get NTSC version
NTSC/PAL standard definition=Get the PAL version, unless cuts offend you or it's a particularly bad transfer video or audio.

Since this is the TV forum, has anyone compared an NTSC progressive scan v.s. the equivalent PAL interlaced disc on a telly?


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