NTSC vs ATSC: Difference and Comparison

Before buying a TV tuner or TV, it is very important to know some technical language related to it because, without its knowledge, this technical language seems complicated.

For example, terms like NTSC, ATSC, and QMM are related to these, which one needs to be aware of. It is important to understand what they mean and in what context they are used, and what the difference is between them. 

Key Takeaways

  1. NTSC is an analog television standard, while ATSC is a digital standard that replaced NTSC in the United States.
  2. ATSC offers higher resolution and better image quality than NTSC due to its digital nature.
  3. Unlike NTSC, ATSC supports multi-channel audio, providing viewers with a more immersive audio experience.

NTSC vs ATSC

National television system committee (NTSC) is the old analog signal transmission introduced in 1940 in the USA. It does not support high-definition TV and has a 4:3 screen format. Advance television system committee (ATSC) was introduced in 1982 to replace NTSC. It supports high-definition TV with enhanced picture and audio quality.

NTSC vs ATSC
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The NTSC has a committee on the National Television System, which the United States started in 1940. It was introduced under the original standards for analog television.

It supports SDTV quality with a 4:3 ratio of screen format. Also, it’s capable of only 2 channels of sound which leads to stereo-quality sound.

ATSC is a type of OTA signal introduced by the United States. It is many times better and better than the old system. It has been designed in such a way that all the old gaps can be filled.

It has also brought high-quality widescreen, HDTV picture, and audio quality by enhancing the quality. Along with this, all the qualities of theatrical effect have been provided in it.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison NTSCATSC
DefinitionNTSC tuners only address analog signal transmission. ATSC supports digital signal transmission.
Full formNTSC stands for national television system committee.ATSC stands for advance television system committee.
Origination The United States adopted NTSC in the 1940s for the use of black and white television.NTSC replaced ATSC in 1982 by the United States itself.
Purpose After its arrival, differences between the various TV companies ended, and the system was standardized. ATSC is the updated version of NTSC. Its main purpose is to rectify its (NTSC) shortcomings and convert it into an improved version. 
Advantages It supports SDTV quality with a 4:3 ratio of screen format. Also, it’s capable of only 2 channels, leading to stereo-quality sound.ATSC allows HDTV quality with a wide range of screen formats. They can carry up to 5.1 surrounding sounds for transmission.

What is NTSC?

NTSC mainly refers to the older analog signal that was adopted by the United States in the 1940s. However, it is largely phased out under digital ATSC broadcasting.

NTSC is considered inferior to ATSC because it cannot provide high-quality HDTV images or widescreen formats and does not retain the highest audio.

The NTSC has a committee on the National Television System, which the United States started in 1940. It was introduced under the original standards for analog television. 

After its arrival, differences between the various TV companies ended, and the system was standardized. The system was later changed from black and white to colour TV, which became possible in 1953 and was updated.

Apart from America, this system was also used in Canada, America, Japan, and many Asian countries, the Caribbean, South America, etc. In 2009, it was discontinued in the US. It was gradually discontinued in Canada and most countries by 2011.

NTSC stands for National Television System Committee. It is the older version of television analog. NTSC only allows encoding two colour signals which are known as I-Phase and Q, which is known as Quadrature.

This process is called QAM. After this, NTSC allows colour subcarriers for colour television. 

What is ATSC?

ATSC is a type of OTA signal introduced by the United States. It is many times better and better than the old system. It has been designed in such a way that all the old gaps can be filled.

It has also brought high-quality widescreen, HDTV picture, and audio quality by enhancing the quality. Along with this, all the qualities of theatrical effect have been provided in it.

Using analog TV requires the aid of a converter if the digital signal is to be carried away. But all new TVs covered by the FCC already have an ATSC tuner built into the TV, so a separate tuner isn’t needed.

ATSC stands for Advanced TV Committee, the group that replaced NTSC in 1982 to rectify its shortcomings and convert it into an improved version, which was done by the United States itself.

ATSC stands for advance television system committee. It is capable of carrying multiple channel information in a single stream. ATSC support different display resolution.

It allows the 1080s and 720p video formats. ATSC requires less bandwidth for HDTV quality. ATSC can carry 6 SD video streaming and gives a wide range of screen formats which is up to 16:9.

So overall, we can say that ATSC is gradually replacing NTSC because it is the updated version. 

Main Differences Between NTSC and ATSC

  1. NTSC tuners only address analog signal transmission, while ATSC supports digital signal transmission.
  2. NTSC stands for national television system committee, while ATSC stands for advance television system committee.
  3. The United States adopted NTSC in the 1940s and for the use of black and white television, whereas ATSC replaced NTSC in 1982 to rectify its shortcomings and convert it into an improved version, which the United States itself did.
  4. NTSC doesn’t support HDTV quality with a wide range of screens, it only allows a 4:3 ratio of screen format, while ATSC allows HDTV quality with a wide range of screens.
  5. NTSC is capable of only 2 channels of sound, leading to stereo-quality sound, while ATSC can carry up to 5.1 surrounding sound for transmission. 
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7265957/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5426262/
  3. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/868925/

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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