Video Broadcast Standards - NTSC PAL SECAM

Most countries around the World use one of three main Video Broadcast Standards. These three main standards are NTSC - PAL and SECAM. However, each standard is incompatible with the other. For example, a video recording made in the UK could not be played on US standard VCR's or shown on the TV. The reason for this is that the UK Video Standard is PAL whereas the US Video Standard is NTSC.

To find out which Video Standard each country supports, take a look at our Worldwide Video Standards Listing where we have also listed Mains Electricity Voltages and Frequencies together with DVD Region Codes for each country.

Want to know how Video Standards apply to DVD Discs and DVD players - Check out our Region Free DVD Player Resource. It is a very 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.

The charts below give a description of each Video 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
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 Video Broadcast Standards
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