Difference Between NTSC, PAL, and Secam

At present, there are three different TV standards that are known and all these are incompatible with each other. These standards are used differently based on the distribution of the countries.

As it is very difficult to transform the data encrypted inside to any other standard. To change and transfer the data the video must be changed according to the certain standards required for it. 

NTSC vs PAL vs Secam

The main difference between NTSC, PAL, and Secam is that NTSC is the short term for National Television Standard Committee, PAL is the short term used for the Phase Alternating Line, while comparatively, Secam is the short term used for Squentiel Couleurmmoire. The use of these standards are based on the different locations as NTSC is generally used in the areas of United States of America and Japan, PAL is used in the places the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden, India while the Secam is used in the Eastern Europe and France area.

NTSC vs PAL vs Secam

NTSC is the short term used for National Television Standard Committee and was developed in the year around 1954.

The television standard was developed by the United States of America and it is the oldest standard known and existing. Around 33 different countries are using the NTSC television standard.

PAL is the short-term used for Phase Alternating Line and the television standard was developed in the Europe, United Kingdom, and Germany.

The country developed it in the year 1967 and the advantage of it was that it has a greater resolution that helps in getting good picture quality.

Secam is the short term used for Squentiel Couleurmmoire and it is the third television standard developed by France in the same year as PAL.

All the main and key elements of the standard are the same as that of PAL except the color transmission which happens on a sequential basis.

Comparison Table Between NTSC, PAL, and Secam

Parameters of ComparisonNTSCPALSecam
Developed In United States of AmericaEurope, United KingdomFrance
Number of lines used525625625
No of frames/second605050
Variants4.43, J, and MB, D, G, H, I, N, M, and NCB, G, D, K, K1, and L
Color Bust9 cycles10 cyclesCycles of Red and blue
Sub carrier frequency3.58 MHz4. 43 MHz4.25 MHz
PriceMedium rangeExpensiveCheap
Color Info TransformationI, Q or U, VU, VDb, Dr
Studio MixingMost easyMedium easy levelMost difficult

What is NTSC?

NTSC is the very first television standard that was developed. The country behind this was the United States of America and Japan. They developed it in the year 1954 which was very early of its kind.

The television standard is incompatible with other standards and they have very different standards for conversions.

They use about 525 lines per second for transmission and even the frames used per second by it is approximately 50 in number.

The resolution of the picture that determines the video qualities are in three different types and that are – 720 x 480; 704 x 480; 352 x 480; 352 x 240.

It is used in near about 33 different countries that including – Costa Rica, the Philippines, Burma, Barbados, Jamaica, Venezuela, South Korea, and many others.

It is the easiest standard for studio mixing and it also costs in the medium range. 

What is PAL?

PAL is the second television standard that was developed and it was developed in Europe, United Kingdom.

The country developed it in the year 1967 and the increased benefit of it was that the picture resolution used in the standard was high which increases the video quality.

The picture resolution used in the standard is – 720 x 576; 704 x 576; 352 x 576; 352 x 288.

The complete term used for the acronym is Phase Alternating Line. The standard uses about 625 lines per second and they have a frame rate of about 25 Hz. The variants used for the transmission for PAL are B, D, G, H, I, N, M, and NC.

The different countries that use the PAL as their television standard are – Algeria, Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Pakistan, Paraguay, Portugal, Qatar, Rumania, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Yemen, Zimbabwe and many more.

What is Secam?

Secam is the third and the last television standard that was ever developed. The standard was developed by France and in the year 1967. The acronym stands for Squentiel Couleurmmoire.

The main or key elements of the Secam are almost the same as that of the PAL television standard. The only difference between PAL and Secam to be found in the way of transmitting color info that is Secam does it sequentially.

The bandwidth and the resolution used by the Secam is 720 x 576; 704 x 576; 352 x 576; 352 x 288.

The frame rate and the number of frames per second both are relatable that is frame rate is about 25 Hz and the frames per second are about 50.

The places using Secam as their television standards are – Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, North Korea, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Vietnam, Western Samoa, Zaire, and many others.

Main Differences Between NTSC and PAL and Secam

Developed In

  1. NTSC was developed by the United States of America and was the first TV channel transmission standard.
  2. PAL was developed by Europe, United Kingdom and was the second TV standard.
  3. Secam was developed by France and is the third TV transmission standard known.

Number of lines used

  1. NTSC uses around 525 lines for transmission purposes.
  2. PAL uses about 625 lines for transmission purposes.
  3. Secam uses the same number of lines as of PAL i.e. about 625 in number.

No of frames/second

  1. The number of frames used by NTSC per second is about 60.
  2. The number of frames used by the PAL per second is 50.
  3. The number of frames used by the Secam is around 50 per second.

Variants

  1. The variants used for the transmission of NTSC 4.43, J, and M.
  2. The variants used for the transmission for PAL are B, D, G, H, I, N, M, and NC.
  3. The variants used for the transmission for Secam are B, G, D, K, K1, and L.

Color Bust

  1. The number of cycles of the color bust in NTSC is 9 cycles.
  2. The number of cycles of the color bust in PAL is 10 cycles.
  3. The number of cycles of the color bust in Secam is the blue and red color.   

Subcarrier frequency

  1. The subcarrier frequency used by NTSC is 3.58 MHz.
  2. The subcarrier frequency used by PAL is 4.43 MHz.
  3. The subcarrier frequency used by Secam is 4.25 MHz.

Price

  1. The price range of NTSC lies in the medium range.
  2. The price range of PAL is quite expensive.
  3. The price range of Secam is very cheap.

Color Info Transformation

  1. The color info transforming of NTSC is I, Q or U, V.
  2. The color info transforming of PAL is U and V.
  3. The color informing of Secam is Db and Dr.

Studio Mixing

  1. The studio mixing in NTSC is very easy.
  2. The studio mixing in PAL lies in between medium levels.
  3. The studio mixing in Secam is very difficult to perform.

Conclusion

Ever since the world has changed or started manufacturing revolutionized products the standards and need for them are also changed.

Since the discovery of TV, there was a need to establish certain standards for the transmission of media.

Thus, three different TV standards were developed by different countries and the order of their development was from NTSC (1954), PAL (1967), and Secam (1967).

Although now, the use of these TV standards is not often used still many countries enforce these standards to secure the threat of piracy.

These standards are not compatible with each other which makes them hard to transfer the data from Blue-Rays, DVDs, VSR, etc.

All of these are restricted to certain places which help them to easily label the use of standards in different countries and help in providing extra security, illegal distribution of various shows, movies, games, etc.  

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7261607
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1405734
  3. https://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO200508824120833.page
  4. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7259178
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