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NTSC VS. PAL - The Differences that You Should Know

Still being bothered by the NTSC and PAL restrictions in playing back DVD discs? Want to know the differences between NTSC and PAL DVD discs? Want to know which kind of DVD discs your purchased DVD discs belong to? Check the below content. We will provide you with some detailed information about NTSC and PAL DVD discs, and show you how to play and watch NTSC/PAL DVD discs without any limit.

Part 1: Know about NTSC and PAL Format

NTSC, named after the National Television System Committee, is the analog television system that is mostly used in Americas. Phase Alternating Line (PAL) is a colour encoding system for analogue television used in broadcast television systems in most places broadcasting at 625-line / 50 field (25 frame) per second (576i), such as Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia.

Here is a picture showing the television encoding systems in the world by nation.

ntsc-vs-pal-01

If you are an American who has tried to insert a movie from Europe into your DVD player, you will notice that the picture will be very scrambled and the sound quality will be absolutely terrible. The vast majority of DVD players that were manufactured for the United States are not backwards compatible with the PAL broadcast format.

Due to the electrical differences noted below, a PAL television would not work in the United States. The differences in resolution quality also account for why a PAL formatted DVD will not play properly play on an NTSC player. If you must play an NTSC formatted DVD on a PAL DVD player, or vice versa, there are conversion kits available. These kits can convert NTSC to PAL or PAL to NTSC. The downside to these conversion kits is that they can be very time consuming and the quality of the movies may be reduced upon completion of the conversion.

Part 2: NTSC Vs PAL, What's the Difference?

Here is a concise table for your references:

 

NTSC

PAL

Abbreviation

National Television System Committee

Phase Alternating Line

Picture size

720x480

720x576

Display frame rate

30 (525 individual scan lines)

25(625 individual scan lines

Color correction

manual color correction

automated color correction

Video bandwidth

4.2 MHz

5.0 MHz

Resolution lines/field

525/60

625/50

Electrical power

60 hertz

50 hertz

If you are an American who traveled to Europe and brought back a PAL formatted DVD movie, you will notice that this DVD is not compatible with your DVD player. The picture will be very scrambled and the sound quality will be absolutely terrible. This is due to the differences of frames per second between the two formats. PAL makes actors move a bit faster. If you are trying to watch a PAL movie on a NTSC television, you need to add 5 frames per second, or the motion of the film will be very jerky or slow.

ntsc-vs-pal-02-1

If you must play an NTSC formatted DVD on a PAL DVD player, or vice versa, there are conversion kits available. The best conversion tool I have used is Leawo DVD Ripper.

Part 3: Best DVD Converter to Rip NTSC/PAL DVD - Leawo DVD Ripper

Leawo DVD Ripper is a top-rated and a professional DVD to video converter for you to rip DVD to video and audio in any formats for importing to various media devices and uploading to online video sharing sites, like MP4, MPEG, WMV, MOV, MKV, FLV, RMVB, etc. and rip DVD to portable media players: iPhone 4S, the New iPad, iPod Touch 4, Galaxy S3, Xperia Tablet S, Samsung ATIV Tab, PSP, PS3, PS VITA, Apple TV 3, Xbox 360, etc. As a professional DVD ripper software tool, Leawo DVD Ripper enables you to decrypt encrypted DVD discs and get rid of disc region restrictions for converting, no matter your DVD discs are NTSC or PAL. Therefore you could freely play and watch NTSC/PAL DVD discs on any media player or devices you have. It even allows you to adjust output video and audio parameters, edit DVD movies, etc.

  • Leawo DVD Ripper
  • Leawo DVD Ripper

    ☉ Convert DVD to video/audio files like MKV, MP4, AVI, FLV, RMVB, etc

    ☉ Convert DVD to iPad, iPhone, Android devices

    ☉ Edit DVD video files with built-in video editor

    ☉ Add 3D effect with built-in 3D movie creator

    ☉ Selectable subtitles and audio tracks from source DVD movies for output videos

Download and install Leawo DVD Ripper on your computer. And get source DVD movies ready for converting. It should be noted that Leawo DVD Ripper is a module built in Leawo Prof. Media. follow the below steps to learn how to convert NTSC/PAL DVD discs to videos in various formats.

Step 1: Download and open Leawo DVD Ripper

Leawo-bd-ripper-panel

Kick off Leawo Prof. Media and then click the "Convert" option on the menu bar, or click the "Blu-ray/DVD Ripper" option below to enter the DVD Ripper module.

Step 2: Load DVD content

Under "Convert" section, click "Add Blu-ray/DVD" button to load source DVD content or drag file directly in for converting. You could load source DVD disc, folder and/or ISO image file as you like.

add-source-file

Note

  • Leawo DVD Ripper offers 3 different content loading modes. The Full Movie mode loads all source DVD content, Main Movie mode by default loads the longest title (generally the main movie) but allows you to switch another title for loading, while Custom Mode enables you to select desired DVD title(s) for loading. Choose one according to your needs.
  • Leawo DVD Ripper enables you to edit DVD movies before converting to video files, like trimming video length, cropping video size, adding image or text watermark, adjusting effect, applying 3D effect, etc.

Step 3: Set output profile.

Click the drop-down box next to the "Add Photo" button, and then click "Change" to select output format. Multiple Common Video, Common Audio and HD Video formats are selectable. You could even select output format according to your device under "Device" tab. By making use of the Profile Search bar on the left side, you could quickly search out desired format.

set-profile

Let the mouse stay on each format option and then you could see "Edit" icon, by clicking which you could adjust video and audio parameters of output format, including: video codec, quality, bit rate, frame rate, aspect ratio, channel, audio codec, resolution, etc. You could also enter the Profile Settings panel by clicking "MP4 Video > Edit" option.

set-parameters

The main differences between PAL and NTSC video are the resolution and frame rate. NTSC has a resolution of 720x480 and a framerate of 23.97. PAL is defined to have a resolution of 768x576 and a framerate of 25fps. So you need to change these parameters after selecting an output format for video. The same procedure goes with NTSC to PAL conversion.

To make the video NTSC-compatible, make settings as below:

  • Resolution: 768*576 pixels
  • Frame rate: 25fps
  • And to make the video Pal-compatible, set settings as below:
  • Resolution: 720x480 pixels
  • Frame rate: 23.97fps

However, if the output format is set to DVD, there is no need to change resolution and framerate settings. You'll have a TV Standard option to switch convert PAL DVD to NTSC DVD, or NTSC DVD to PAL DVD.

Step 4: Set output directory and start converting

set-directory

Click the big green "Convert" button. And then on the sidebar, set output directory in the "Save to" box to save output video files. After that, click the bottom "Convert" button to let Leawo DVD Ripper start converting DVD to video/audio. You could "Cancel" any conversion at any time as you like on the converting interface.

Part 4: Free NTSC/PAL DVD Player - Leawo DVD Player

Besides converting NTSC/PAL DVD discs to regular videos to get rid of the NTSC/PAL restrictions, you could get another choice to freely play and watch NTSC/PAL DVD discs on your computer. That’s to make use of 3rd-party DVD player software tools that could play back DVD discs regardless of NTSC and PAL restrictions.

leawo-blu-ray-player

Leawo DVD Player is a 100% free NTSC/PAL DVD player program that could help you play back any DVD discs in either NTSC or PAL as you like. As a region-free DVD player software tool, Leawo DVD Player could actually play back DVD discs of all region and in almost all disc restrictions. You could try it to freely play back DVD discs.

Actually, Leawo DVD Player is far more than a simple DVD player that could play back NTSC/PAL DVD discs. It could also:

  • Act as region-free Blu-ray player to play back 4K/regular Blu-ray disc, folder and ISO image files for totally free, regardless of Blu-ray disc protection and region restrictions.
  • Perform as HD video player to play back up to 4K/1080P/720P HD videos without any quality loss.
  • Play back media files with preferred subtitles and audio tracks.
  • Play back even ISO image files without quality.

Besides the above-mentioned features, Leawo Blu-ray Player could even work as lossless Blu-ray to MKV converter to convert Blu-ray movies to MKV files without quality loss. Of course, that’s a Platinum version, which will be in charge.

Extension: DVD Region restrictions besides NTSC and PAL

DVD 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 its 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.

These restrictions can be really annoying for people who love to collect DVD or CD from all over the world. We do not want crappy images or sound. Is there a solution? Sure. Wanna know how? Wait until next time.

For your reference, here is another guide to rip NTSC DVD to MP4 and other popular video formats.

Toby Yang

Toby Yang

With long-term dedication into the latest market demands and technologies, the author has become an expert in posting practical, in-depth and user-oriented how-tos, tutorials, recommendations, reviews, and more digital multimedia solutions in Blu-ray, DVD, video, audio, picture, Apple utilities, etc.

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