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Old June 17th, 2003, 01:53 PM   #1
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NTSC and PAL

There seems to be a lot of headaches around converting from one format to the other. I know it would take years to make a complete changeover, but would it not be much simpler to make an international standard? What was the original motivation behind creating NTSC, PAL, SECAM, etc..
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Old June 17th, 2003, 03:22 PM   #2
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PAL, SECAM & MESECAM are based on a 50 cycle electrical system (so 50 fields per second), NTSC is based on a 60 cycle electrical system (60 fields per second). (But in Brazil they use a 60 cycle PAL system, so their cams are NTSC---the only exception I know of.) If you do a google search, put in the words, "world broadcast systems." You'll come up with some good links explaining which/where, and why.

Bottom line: to switch to a 50 field PAL stystem, we'd first have to change our electical system. (If you shoot with a PAL cam in North America, you'll notice big time flickering. Not so, when using a NTSC cam.)
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Old June 17th, 2003, 03:23 PM   #3
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The story of the rationale between the two incompatible video standards varies with each teller and telling. Some versions relate to the fundamental differences in power standards (120v -vs- 240v, etc.). All seem to be rooted in engineering rather than aesthestics. All are irrelevant; the standards are what they are.

Ultimately I believe that high-definition will be the worldwide standard although pehaps not in our lifetimes.
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Old June 17th, 2003, 03:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
would it not be much simpler to make an international standard?
So, add a fourth standard as a common global one? Nice idea! Ever heard of Esperanto? ;-)

If not a new standard, then one of the available ones would have to be accepted as overriding. This would mean the US giving up NTSC, or the whole of Europe (except France & Hungary), the whole of Africa (except Algeria), the whole of the middle and far east (except Japan) and the whole of Australasia giving up PAL.

Hmmm...come to think of it, I'd rather not downgrade to NTSC, thanks all the same! :-/
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Old June 17th, 2003, 09:38 PM   #5
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Here's a link to see which country has what, in way of broadcast systems:

http://www.alkenmrs.com/video/wwstandards1.html#TOP
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Old June 18th, 2003, 03:41 AM   #6
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HDTV not one-size-fits-all

You should be careful when thinking of HDTV as a one-size-fits-all solution to this standards conversion problem.

HDTV may offer a standard frame size and pixel aspect ratio (well, a small number of these), but it still suffers from the same number of different frame rates as is seen today - 24, 25, 29.97/30 I and P. So the main conversion problem (adjusting frame rate) will likely still remain.

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