The Mysteries Of Television Transmission Explained, Busting The NTSC/PAL Myths

Author xlxmarketing 21.6.2008. | 08:34

Very few things in the electronics world have caused as much consternation as the PAL, NTSC and SECAM formats. The systems have caused electricians, security specialists, consumers and wholesale drop-shippers a great deal of consternation ever since the color NTSC transmission system was first put into use in 1953, where it was first dubbed Never Twice the Same Color(NTSC) by wags due to variances in the colors transmitted.

In this blog we’re going to answer some of the more pressing questions people have about these formats.

What does NTSC, PAL and SECAM mean and where does it come from?

NTSC stands for National Television System Committee; PAL, Phase Alternating Line and SECAM, stands for Séquentiel Couleur Avec Mémoire (that’s Sequential Color with Memory for anybody who doesn’t speak French).

Unsurprisingly the US was the first country in the world to get television and they used a format called NTSC so when they beamed color signals into houses where people were still using black and white TVs it would still show a picture.

Unfortunately Europe, and much of the rest of the world, worked on a different kind of power grid to the US and the PAL and SECAM color formats were devised to get around this.

What format will work where?

If you’re trying to set up a security system you will have no problems pairing a PAL security camera with a PAL security system, even if you’re in a territory where the news is beamed to you in NTSC.

However there are regions where a certain kind of equipment will be common and a certain color format will be broadcast. As you can see on the map below.

video regions map

Don’t miss part two where we look at what products you absolutely can’t pair and what happens when you put them together. Or learn more about NTSC and PAL in the Chinavasion guide to video formats.

Author xlxmarketing 21.6.2008. | 08:34
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