DVD Video Formats - PAL NTSC

Most countries around the World use one of three main television broadcast Standards. These three main standards are PAL NTSC and SECAM. However, each standard is incompatible with the other.

For example, a Region Free DVD purchased in the UK will not play correctly on a US NTSC DVD player because the DVD would be in the PAL video format. It is a common misconception that simply because a video format is digital, as is the case of DVD's, it is no longer PAL or NTSC. All digital video formats, including DVD are still based on the PAL or NTSC video systems.

Because SECAM has the same resolution and framerate as PAL, DVD's are not produced in SECAM. Instead, the DVD player runs the disc in PAL and then just changes the color encoding to SECAM when outputting the signal back to SECAM TV.

The charts below give a description of each standard and the technical variations within each.

NTSC - National Television System Committee
The first colour TV broadcast system was implemented in the United States in 1953. This was based on the NTSC - National Television System Committee standard. NTSC is used by many countries on the American continent as well as many Asian countries including Japan.
NTSC runs on 525 lines/frame.
SYSTEM NTSC M
Lines/Field 525/60
Horizantal Frequency 15.734 kHz
Vertical Frequency 60 Hz
Colour Subcarrier Frequency 3.579545 MHz
Video Bandwidth 4.2 MHz
Sound Carrier 4.5 MHz
PAL - Phase Alternating Line

The PAL - Phase Alternating Line standard was introduced in the early 1960's and implemented in most European countries except for France.
The PAL standard utilises a wider channel bandwidth than NTSC which allows for better picture quality.

PAL runs on 625 lines/frame.

SYSTEM PAL B,G,H PAL I PAL D PAL N PAL M
Line/Field 625/50 625/50 625/50 625/50 525/60
Horizontal Frequency 15.625 kHz 15.625 kHz 15.625 kHz 15.625 kHz 15.750 kHz
Vertical Frequency 50 Hz 50 Hz 50 Hz 50 Hz 60 Hz
Colour Sub Carrier Frequency 4.433618 MHz 4.433618 MHz 4.433618 MHz 3.582056 MHz 3.575611 MHz
Video Bandwidth 5.0 MHz 5.5 MHz 6.0 MHz 4.2 MHz 4.2 MHz
Sound Carrier 5.5 MHz 6.0 MHz 6.5 MHz 4.5 MHz 4.5 MHz
SECAM - Sequential Couleur Avec Memoire
The SECAM - Sequential Couleur Avec Memoire or Sequential Colour with Memory standard was introduced in the early 1960's and implemented in France. SECAM uses the same bandwidth as PAL but transmits the colour information sequentially.
SECAM runs on 625 lines/frame.
SYSTEM SECAM B,G,H SECAM D,K,K1,L
Line/Field 625/50 625/50
Horizontal Frequency 15.625 kHz 15.625 kHz
Vertical Frequency 50 Hz 50 Hz
Video Bandwidth 5.0 MHz 6.0 MHz
Sound Carrier 5.5 MHz 6.5 MHz