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Old June 14th, 2008, 09:19 AM   #1
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NTSC or PAL for UK playback?

I just finsihed a DVD run of school musical. One of the parents took the DVD to the grandparents in the UK and it wont play. This is first time one of my DVD has left the US so this is new ground for me. He would like a copy that will play on the grandparents DVD player. So my question is:

Do I need to make them a new disk using the PAL settings?
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Old June 15th, 2008, 02:28 PM   #2
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Yeah, the North American standard is NTSC, and all DVD players stateside are formatted to play that specific electronic signal. Over in the UK, DVD players are formatted to the PAL electronic signal.

NTSC transmits 30fps with each frame made up of 525 scan lines.
PAL transmits 25fps with each frame made up of 625 scan lines.

So basically, you need to format a DVD of the original footage with PAL settings. I've never tried it, but give it a whirl and tell me what happens.
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Old June 15th, 2008, 09:06 PM   #3
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Almost all DVD players in the PAL world can play NTSC discs (I used to work in a DVD store & never encountered anyone who couldn't play NTSC in their PAL player). To me it seems more likely that the problem is reading burnt DVDs. My first DVD player could handle NTSC of any region, but would never play a burnt DVD.

Suggestions: Try burning it to DVD-R (not DVD+R or DVD-RAM). Secondly try burning it at lowest possible speed (1x or 2x). Blank DVDs are so cheap these, send them an NTSC version and a PAL version (although I doubt the PAL will be necessary, and the conversion will certainly degrade the picture quality).
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Old June 16th, 2008, 09:04 AM   #4
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Thanks Colin for the advice.

I already use Verbatim DVD-R's

I plan on buring them a new NTSC at 2x and then a PAL just to make sure.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #5
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Here in PAL land problems like this are quite common - the snag is often NOT the DVD at all. If the grandparents are getting on a bit, it is likely they have an older TV. Pretty well all newish kit here will play NTSC quite happily, and the regional differences on shop bought DVDs don't usually apply to ones produced on computers. The problem is that PAL requires 625 lines, 25 fps and our colour system. Many modern TVs have multi-standard capabilty built in, so recognise the NTSC system, and switch. DVD players too have multi-standard capability, so between the two of them, they'll usually play back practically everything. However, older TVs refuse point blank to even touch anything that doesn't conform to PAL tv standard, so my guess is the DVD is fine, and their TV just won't do the business.

I always have trouble when producing material for America - as everything tends to play everything, it's very difficult to guarantee that what you have produced is what it appears to be! I've produced DVDs in what I think is NTSC but they aren't! I bought an old NTSC monitor on eBay and use it to prove 'real' NTSC. If it is PAL, at the US frame rate, I get B&W, if it is NTSC at UK frame rate, I get colour but it rolls. Proper NTSC gives colour and a locked picture. Once it is on the DVD it is really difficult to work out playback problems.

Your idea to burn alternative copies is by far the best way to guarantee a happy customer.

When we had video tape, I was always dismayed at NTSC quality, but now, it's easy not to notice. I edited a project a while back and didn't notice the tape from a PD170 was actually NTSC. I noticed the black borders, but it didn't click why - for a while!
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