Buyer's Guide

What is NTSC or PAL?



World TV, VHS Video, and DVD Formats

Both VHS videos and DVDs are produced in either NTSC or PAL format. Only dual-standard video and DVD players will handle both formats. Therefore you must order the correct format for your country.

Many DVD players for sale now are dual-standard, and will play both formats, providing a suitable television set is used. Dual-standard VCR's are also available, they are much more expensise than a standard VCR. You will know if you have this type of VCR.

All of our DVDs are region free.

If you live in North American, you want to order NTSC format. For all other countries, please check the listing below.

NTSC stands for National Television System Committee, which devised the NTSC television broadcast system in 1953. NTSC is also commonly used to refer to one type of television signal that can be recorded on various tape formats such as VHS, 3/4" U-matic and Betacam.

NTSC countries are: USA, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Burma, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Greenland, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Kitts, Saipan, Samoa, Surinam, Taiwan, Tobago, Trinidad, Venezuela, Virgin Islands.

PAL is the most widely used standard for video and is used in the following countries: United Kingdom, Europe (except France), Australia, New Zealand, and some countries of South America. For more countries that use the PAL format see the list blow.

PAL stands for Phase Alternation by Line, and was adopted in 1967. It has 625 horizontal lines making up the vertical resolution. 50 fields are displayed and interlaced per second, making for a 25 frame per second system. An advantage of this system is a more stable and consistent hue (tint). PAL-M is used only in Brazil. It has 525 lines, at 30 frames per second.

PAL countries include: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina (PAL-N), Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei, Cameroon, Canary Islands, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Gibralter, Greece , Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, North Korea, Kuwait, Liberia, Luxembourg, Madeira, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay (PAL-N), Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Siera Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay (PAL-N), Yeman (the former Yeman Arab Republic was PAL, and the former People's Democratic Republic of Yeman was NTSC ), Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

SECAM stands for Systeme Electronique Couleur Avec Memoire, which was adopted in 1967. It has 625 lines and 25 frames per second.

SECAM Countries include: Albania, Benin, Bulgaria, Congo, former Czechosolvakia, Djibouti, Egypt, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Greece (also PAL), Guadeloupe, Haiti, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg (also PAL), Madagascar, Martinique, Mauritius, Monaco (also PAL), Mongolia, Morocco, New Caledonia, Niger, Poland, Reunion, Romania, Saudi Arabia (also PAL), Senegal, Syria, Tahiti, Togo, Tunisia, former USSR, Viet Nam, Zaire. The above was gathered from various older sources, so discrepencies in spelling or political changes are unintentional.