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Old February 28th, 2005, 08:41 AM   #1
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Audio on NTSC DVD's

I am converting PAL DV footage to an NTSC MPEG in preparation for making an NTSC DVD. In Adobe Premier I have the usual 2 audio options PCM or MPEG audio. Usually I use MPEG AUDIO on my PAL disks as I can adjust the quality and therefore the diskspace required for particularly long projects (2hrs+).
I have heard that you need to use PCM audio for NTSC disks......is this an issue in NTSC countries? PCM takes up a lot of diskspace and is probably higher quality......but sound in my case is "less" important than the visuals.

What sound option should be used in NTSC countries....or is it an issue as with PAL players that seem to play any combination.

Thanks
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Old February 28th, 2005, 11:56 AM   #2
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I'm not an expert on this, but from my recollection of some reading...of the three audio formats, PCM, MPEG, and AC3 (Digital Dolby), only two must be available. I don't think that MPEG is typically used in NTSC-land, just AC3 and PCM. So unless you want to go the AC3 route, you're probably stuck with PCM.

Any experts want to amend / add?
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Old March 1st, 2005, 12:39 AM   #3
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No problem with MPEG sound in NTSC!
The standard doesn't mention it but most DVD plyers play MPEG1-layer 2 audio (same as PAL) without problem.

For example my simple TV capture card doesn't have option for capturing PCM when capturing for DVD specification. No problem playing my DVDs on Samsung, JVC players.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 01:15 AM   #4
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Thanks for your replies.....Mpeg will probably work for me then. I see Premier pro does have AC3.....dont know it this means better audio compression (say equivalent or better than MPEG and as opposed to PCM)

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Old March 2nd, 2005, 03:40 AM   #5
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If I were you, I would use AC3. You can be sure it will work with every DVD players and receivers. MPEG audio is not widely used and if you want to avoid problems don't use it.
Use PCM for the quality or AC3 to save space.

I found a faq (http://www.cs.uu.nl/wais/html/na-dir...o/dvd-faq.html) that says :
<<
[1.23] Do all videos use Dolby Digital (AC-3)? Do they all have 5.1 channels?

Most DVD-Video discs contain Dolby Digital soundtracks. However, it's not required. Some discs, especially those containing only audio, have PCM tracks. It's also possible for a 625/50 (PAL) disc to contain only MPEG audio, but so far MPEG audio is not widely used.
>>
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 04:04 AM   #6
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Thanks...will use AC3 then, seems like a good idea

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Old March 2nd, 2005, 06:24 PM   #7
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I notice that Bogdan is in Japan (also an NTSC country);not sure, but that MIGHT make a difference. Although I can't vouch for the accuracy of the first two web search hits, page 13 of the DVD Primer at Adobe's web site confirms that:

"DVD-video for NTSC is required to include at least one track of either Dolby Digital or LPCM audio; DVD-video for PAL must offer at least one track of Dolby Digital, MPEG, or PCM audio. Dolby Digital is currently the format most widely used for audio on DVD-video."

http://www.dvdcreation.com/HTM/Featu...ic_primer3.htm

http://www.dvd-replica.com/DVD/dvdprimer-10.php

http://www.adobe.com/products/encore...DVDPrimer2.pdf

That doesn't directly answer whether a given NTSC DVD player can decode MPEG audio from the data stream, but I'd have to guess that at least some manufacturers aren't going to include it since they don't have to. The MPEG Audio paragraph of this link hints that MPEG audio support is spotty:

http://www.snarfo.com/dvdvideoaudio.htm

That's not a 100% answer, but beyond that, you might actually have to check with individual NTSC DVD player manufacturers to see if most of them support mpeg from the DVD's interleaved stream, or not. Otherwise, unless you are willing to buy a Digital Dolby encoder (the Surcode in PPro is a 3-time trial that costs about $300 or so to buy), PCM is the safest bet, albeit at the expense of a bit of disc space.
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Old March 2nd, 2005, 07:22 PM   #8
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As I mentioned the 'letter' in the NTSC standard doesn't include MPEG1 layer 2 audio.

Japan is very strict NTSC country. There were almost no players (at least until recently) that would play also PAL on NTSC TVs here.
Despite that most of the players play back DVDs without any additional audio tracks but MP2.

There might be manifacturers that want to exclude this format from their NTSC players to stick to the standard. What they can do is make a flag when you insert NTSC disc to behave only like that.
But the actual decoder chips are made by more or less of few manifacturers and the makers use same chips which are capable of both formats. So it is very unlikly you to be not lucky with that.

As I said even here in Japan most TV tuner/capture cards are coming with software that doesn't include AC3. You can even record directly to DVD and it is still MP2 audio (max is 384kbps). I have wet to hear anybody complained he couldn't use his recordings in set top player. And again to stress that only Victor is making players that will do also PAL, and recently many Chinese brands are enterring Japan that will do both formats (meaning it is sure will also play MP2 on NTSC discs).

What you guys are refering is very conservative and yes, it is better to be used if you are huge company and want to be fully stuck to the standards and high quality.
For the rest of us it works either way.
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Old March 3rd, 2005, 10:57 AM   #9
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TMPGEnc has an AC3 codec for $30 -- it's technically a plugin for their DVD creator software, but it works well as a standalone program. I've used it on several projects with no problems so far. Note that it only does two-channel stereo (no surround support).
http://www.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/tsp_ac3.html

I thought I once tried (unsuccessfully) MPEG audio on my NTSC Toshiba player, but I don't remember for sure. I now use AC3 for almost all of my projects (occasionally PCM for short projects needing fast turnarounds).
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