Difference Between NTSC and PAL

Every television standard is different from the other in many different aspects. The television standards adopted also differ from country to country. The three most popularly adopted television standards include NTSC, PAL, and SECAM. Also, a video from a country using a particular television standard cannot be played in a country using some other standard.

NTSC vs PAL 

The main difference between NTSC and PAL is that NTSC was introduced before PAL and therefore is a more advanced standard. There are other differences in reference to their abbreviation, video bandwidth, sound carrier, bandwidth, vertical frequency, horizontal frequency, color subcarrier frequency, and the number of lines in every frame.

NTSC and PAL

A committee that developed the analog television color system is the National Television System Committee, commonly referred to as the NTSC. This system was introduced in 1954, America and ruled till the era of digital conversion. It is part of the three primary and widely adopted standards including, PAL and SECAM.

For Analog Television, a color encoding system was developed. This standard was utilized in broadcast television. It is called the Phase Alternating Line, or more commonly referred to as PAL. This standard was also a part of the three widely used television standards, including NTSC and SECAM. This, too, is being replaced by digital standards.

Comparison Table Between NTSC and PAL 

Parameters of ComparisonNTSC PAL 
AbbreviationNTSC is an abbreviation for the National Television System Committee.PAL is an abbreviation for the Phase Alternation by Line.
Video BandwidthIt has a 4.2 MHz Video Bandwidth.It has a 5.0 MHz Video Bandwidth.
Sound CarrierIt has a 4.5 MHz Sound Carrier.It has a 5.5 MHz Sound Carrier.
BandwidthIt has a 6 MHz Bandwidth.It has a 7 to 8 MHz Bandwidth.
Vertical FrequencyIt has a 60 Hz Vertical FrequencyIt has a 50 Hz Vertical Frequency
Lines/Field30 frames are transmitted per second. There are 525 scan lines in every frame.There are 625 scan lines in every frame.
Horizontal Frequency15.734 kHz Horizontal Frequency15.625 kHz Horizontal Frequency
Color Subcarrier Frequency3.579545 MHz Color Subcarrier Frequency4.433618 MHz Color Subcarrier Frequency

What is NTSC?

A committee that developed the analog television color system is the National Television System Committee, commonly referred to as the NTSC. This system was introduced in 1954, America and ruled till the era of digital conversion. It is part of the three primary and widely adopted standards including, PAL and SECAM. This committee was set up in the early 1940s. The main aim was to resolve conflicts among competitors by introducing a nationwide analog television system in the US. It is a standard that was initially developed in 1941. It also lacked color provision at the time.

However, the second standard that was adopted in 1953 permitted color television broadcasting. This standard was also in harmony with back and white receivers, which were pre-existing at the time. This was the first broadcast color system which was very famous. It was adopted by almost everyone and dominated the markets until the early 2000s. Later, new systems were launched, ATSC being one of the popular ones. Many parts of the countries like America, South Korea, Japan, and so on utilize the NTSC or the National Television System Committee standard. Now, however, most of these countries have switched to new and popular digital standards available today.

What is PAL?

For Analog Television, a color encoding system was developed. This standard was utilized in broadcast television. It is called the Phase Alternating Line, or more commonly referred to as PAL. This standard was also a part of the three widely used television standards, including NTSC and SECAM. This, too, has been replaced by digital standards. Most European countries and also a few African countries adopted this system. Around the 1950s, plans for the introduction of color television had begun in Western European countries.

This was also when many different issues with the NTSC had come forth, some including transmission conditions and weather conditions. In the process of overcoming these problems of NTSC, alternative standards came forth. To overcome NTSC’s shortcomings, alternative standards were devised, leading to the development of the PAL and SECAM standards. Finding solutions for NTSC problems. Providing a colored visual along with a 50Hz frequency and more scan lines in a frame was the main goal of these standards.

Main Differences Between NTSC and PAL 

  1. NTSC is an abbreviation for the National Television System Committee. PAL is an abbreviation for the Phase Alternation by Line.
  2. NTSC has a 4.2 MHz Video Bandwidth. PAL has a 5.0 MHz Video Bandwidth.
  3. NTSC has a 4.5 MHz Sound Carrier. PAL has a 5.5 MHz Sound Carrier.
  4. NTSC has a 6 MHz Bandwidth. PAL has a 7 to 8 MHz Bandwidth.
  5. NTSC has a 60 Hz Vertical Frequency; 15.734 kHz Horizontal Frequency; 3.579545 MHz Color Subcarrier Frequency. PAL has a 50 Hz Vertical Frequency; 15.625 kHz Horizontal Frequency; 4.433618 MHz Color Subcarrier Frequency.
  6. In the case of NTSC, there are 525 scan lines in every frame. In the case of PAL, there are 625 scan lines in every frame.

Conclusion

NTSC and PAL were two of the most widely utilized television standards in broadcast systems in the world. NTSC was the first one to gather such a wide audience. As it was developed in the 1940s and not updated until a decade, it also showed many weaknesses. The major weaknesses included the visuals, frames, and weather-related problems. These needed to be resolved.

And for this purpose, other standards were developed. The new standard PAL had a colored visual and a better frequency. If we see the comparison, many aspects of the PAL standard are better than the NTSC. There is a difference of 0.8 MHz in the Video Bandwidth, 1.0 MHz difference in Sound Carrier, and so on. However, both of them remained popular until the 2000s. After which, they are replaced by new digital standards.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4180256/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7261607/
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