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1. What is PAL, SECAM and NTSC?
NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) is a standard used in North America and Japan.
PAL (Phase Alternating Line), a standard used almost everywhere else in the world.
SECAM (Sequential Color Memory) is used sparingly around the world and can be found in France, parts of Greece, Eastern Europe, Russia, Africa and a few other parts of the world. However, any SECAM country can display PAL tapes in full color, but not all PAL countries can display all SECAM tapes in color. Only if they are true SECAM and not MESECAM can those VCR's display SECAM
2. I live in USA, can I view PAL system DVDs?
If you're in North America, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and parts of South America, you use the video format called NTSC.Most NTSC players can't play PAL discs. But a multisystem DVD has the ability to play DVD movies of different video standards including PAL, the standard in Israel, Europe and most other locations around the world.
In addition, most newer computers have the ability to play PAL system DVDs.
3. I'd like more details: What does a DVD player region code mean?
Discs are also coded for different regions of the world. The Movie Industry has divided the global DVD marketplace into six regional zones. This regional coding system was introduced to combat piracy. It also allows film distributors to stagger theatrical and DVD movie releases across the world's various markets. Thus a film can be released for sale on DVD in one territory only, with access to the disc restricted via regional coding so that this DVD cannot be viewed on a DVD player from another differently coded territory where the film may not have even been released in cinemas yet.
Under regional coding, all DVD movies are marked with a regional code that prevents one region's (DVD's) disks being played on another region's DVD player.
The world's six DVD regions are:
Region 1: United States and it's Territories
Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East
Region 3: Southeast Asia and East Asia
Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central and South America
Region 5: Indian Subcontinent, Former Soviet Union and Africa
Region 6: China
Region 0: Can be played on all DVD players regardless of their specific regional coding
4. I'd like more details on the differences between NTSC and PAL DVDs:
The encoded video (MPEG2) on a DVD is stored in digital format, but it's formatted NTSC or PAL. The three differences between NTSC discs and PAL discs are:
1) Picture size and pixel aspect ratio (720x480 vs 720x576),
2) Display frame rate (30 vs 25),
3) Video from film is usually encoded at 24 frames/sec. but is preformatted for one of the two display rates. Movies formatted for PAL display are usually sped up by 4% at playback, so the audio must be adjusted accordingly before being encoded.
5. Other interesting facts about NTSC vs PAL players:
Most NTSC players can't play PAL discs.
All PAL DVD players output NTSC, and MOST PAL TVs will display NTSC with no problems.
For VHS [videos, not DVDs] you must have a VCR that can read NTSC and/or PAL. Most European decks are "multi-scan" and can read NTSC.