NTSC vs PAL: Difference and Comparison

Every television standard is different from the others in many different aspects. The television standards adopted also differ from country to country.

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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.

Key Takeaways

  1. NTSC (National Television System Committee) and PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is analog television color encoding systems, with NTSC used mainly in North America and PAL in Europe and Asia.
  2. NTSC displays 30 frames per second (fps) at 525 lines of resolution, while PAL offers 25 fps with 625 lines of resolution.
  3. NTSC suffers from hue distortion, which PAL corrects through phase alternation of the color signal.

NTSC vs PAL 

NTSC (National Television System Committee) is a video standard used for analog television broadcasting in North America, parts of South America, and other countries, including Japan. PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is a television broadcasting system used in many parts of the world.

NTSC vs 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 in 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, 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

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 in 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 began in Western European countries.

This was also when many issues with the NTSC had come forth, including transmission 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.
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4180256/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7261607/

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