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furryman
03-31-2004, 01:05 PM
I recently purchased a DVD player that claims it can play DVD's from "any region". I was under the impression that most countries other than the U. S. use PAL format rather than NTSC format. So, my question is can I really play DVD"s from "all regions" or do I need some kind of adapter to convert PAL format to NTSC format?

Tentacle Monster
03-31-2004, 01:17 PM
Apparently you do (http://www.dvdoverseas.com/dvd.htm), unless it has a built-in converter. Check the documentation that came with the player.

A list of countries using the PAL standard (http://www.psreporter.com/pal_system_tv_standard.html)
A list of countries using the NTSC standard (http://www.psreporter.com/ntsc_system_tv_standard.html)
And the countries who use Secam. Never heard of this one before. (http://www.psreporter.com/secam_system_tv_standard.html)

Rex Fenestrarum
03-31-2004, 02:27 PM
It might have a built-in converter. What model player is it?

Tapioca Dextrin
03-31-2004, 02:30 PM
I recently purchased a DVD player that claims it can play DVD's from "any region". I was under the impression that most countries other than the U. S. use PAL format rather than NTSC format. So, my question is can I really play DVD"s from "all regions" or do I need some kind of adapter to convert PAL format to NTSC format?

It depends on the individual player. Some players have inbuilt PAL/NTSC convertors, but they can screw up the aspect ratio. If it's been hacked through hardware, then it will probably have problems reading any RCE encoded US discs.

Charlie Tan
03-31-2004, 04:54 PM
I think most mid to uprange players of well known brands do this, i.e. convert PAL/NTSC. You want to check on your tv, though. American standard for the picture is 60hz, while PAL is 50. Unless your tv can handle that conversion, it won't matter how region free your player is, you'll only get a garbled picture.

Mangetout
03-31-2004, 04:57 PM
I may be mistaken but I think you're talking about the mains AC electricity cycles there; the frame rates for pal and NTSC are 24 and 25 fps (can't remember which is which.)

Mangetout
03-31-2004, 04:59 PM
Oops; NTSC is 30fps, PAL is 25

JRDelirious
03-31-2004, 07:01 PM
Hmm... wouldn't some parts of the system use the mains AC frequency as reference for the scan frequency? Or has that all been taken over by self-contained circuitry, eh...

Anyway -- Region Codes and TV Picture Format Standards are separate things, indeed. One large market segment in the USA for all-region players are Anime fans, because Japan does use NTSC video standard for TV signal, BUT uses Region Code 2 (EU) for DVDs (While the EU uses Region 2 but scans in either PAL or SECAM). The player documentation should indicate if it has a built-in converter.

Rex Fenestrarum
04-01-2004, 12:49 AM
It depends on the individual player. Some players have inbuilt PAL/NTSC convertors, but they can screw up the aspect ratio. If it's been hacked through hardware, then it will probably have problems reading any RCE encoded US discs.

Some players have 2 decode chips in them so that one can do PAL > NTSC and the other can handle the aspect ratio. I know my player does this; it's one of the main reasons I bought it.

You're right about the RCE discs, but it also depends on how the region-free setting is actually set on the player. Many region-free players can have a region "assigned" to the player until power-off (which is what mine does); others that have "hacked" firmware cannot do this and will probably choke on an RCE disc. AFAIK, RCE only checks the player's region setting and will not play if REGIONSETTING=0. Setting it to region 1 means that the disc will see REGIONSETTING=1 which is what it wants and playback will begin.

Jman
04-01-2004, 01:08 AM
Well, if the DVD player doesn't have a built in NTSC/PAL converter, you might be stuck unless you have a multi-system TV. My television automatically detects both NTSC and PAL signals and displays both flawlessly...so, if the player doesn't automatically convert, you might look into getting a new TV with that.

Jman

scr4
04-01-2004, 01:16 AM
Hmm... wouldn't some parts of the system use the mains AC frequency as reference for the scan frequency?
I doubt it. Half of Japan uses 50Hz and the other half uses 60Hz. Both use NTSC. I've never seen a warning label on a TV saying it won't work in the other half of the country. (Though household appliances containing AC motors often come with such warnings.)

Charlie Tan
04-01-2004, 01:17 AM
I may be mistaken but I think you're talking about the mains AC electricity cycles there; the frame rates for pal and NTSC are 24 and 25 fps (can't remember which is which.)
Nope. I'm talking about the updating frequency. A PAL tv will update a picture 50 times per second, a NTSC 60 times (compare that with your computer monitor, where you can set that manually, should you chose). A big seller in Europe these past few years have been 100hz tvs. It draws the same picture twice, giving (in theory) a sharper, crisper image.
My DVD is all region and when I put in NTSC and play it on my 100hz tv, it comes out normal. However, I couldn't watch NTSC with my old 50hz tv.

Mangetout
04-01-2004, 01:53 AM
Ack. Youre quite right; sorry for the interruption.

furryman
04-02-2004, 01:34 PM
Thanks for your help.

hibernicus
04-03-2004, 08:12 PM
Most DVD players in "PAL" countries will read both DV-NTSC and DV-PAL discs (there is no DV-SECAM), and output a "60 Hz PAL" signal to the TV.

Most DVD players in the USA will only read DV-NTSC discs.

Cite: DVD FAQ (http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html#1.19)
Bottom line: NTSC discs (with Dolby Digital audio) play on over 95% of DVD systems worldwide. PAL discs play on very few players outside of PAL countries.

Green Eyed Stranger
04-03-2004, 10:17 PM
Nope. I'm talking about the updating frequency. A PAL tv will update a picture 50 times per second, a NTSC 60 times (compare that with your computer monitor, where you can set that manually, should you chose).
Close, since both PAL and NTSC are interlaced formats, the whole image may be updated 50 (or 60) times per second, but any particular line will only be updated 25 (or 30) times per second. Speaking of computer monitors, you may have noticed that there aren't any interlaced graphics formats anymore, they were just horrible to look at, think about that the next time you're watching TV (PAL images are worse for me in this respect YMMV)


A big seller in Europe these past few years have been 100hz tvs. It draws the same picture twice, giving (in theory) a sharper, crisper image.

I believe that the 480p format does something similar in the states. Also if your DVD has "progressive scan" output, it might be able to take advantage of the format.


My DVD is all region and when I put in NTSC and play it on my 100hz tv, it comes out normal. However, I couldn't watch NTSC with my old 50hz tv.

How normal? I think your 100hz TV might be doing some additional tricks. Because not only is it 25 vs 30 fps, I believe PAL has about 100 more lines than NTSC (sorry all my references are at work). So you should see black (or grey) bars at the top and bottom (unless the TV or DVD player resizes to fit the screen).

My goodness, looking back at this post, I hope it doesn't appear that I have an axe to grind with The Gaspode. I really don't. Most of the other points have already been addressed, especially the fact that region encoding and video formats are two different things. It's just that I was really excited to actually be able to contribute (minorly, probably somewhat nitpicky) to a GQ. (Now watch my meager infromation be corrected, with REAL cites).

Take care,

GES

bookbuster
04-03-2004, 10:34 PM
I can't belive they can sell a DVD player as "region-free" and not have the proper converters built in.... What's the point if it doesn't actually work? Isn't that false advertising?

hibernicus
04-04-2004, 03:45 PM
How normal? I think your 100hz TV might be doing some additional tricks. Because not only is it 25 vs 30 fps, I believe PAL has about 100 more lines than NTSC (sorry all my references are at work). So you should see black (or grey) bars at the top and bottom (unless the TV or DVD player resizes to fit the screen).

There's no "letterboxing" when I play my NTSC DVDs on my PAL TV - the aspect ratio is as intended. As I mentioned earlier (check out that link, if you haven't already: it's very useful) the DVD player outputs a pseudo-PAL signal called "60-Hz PAL" which my TV is capable of displaying as normal.

Mangetout
04-04-2004, 04:57 PM
I'm a little confused here; apparently region 0 DVDs will play in all players; this would seem to imply that the footage is stored on the dics in the same format regardless and is then 'rendered' by the player to be shown on whatever TV format that player is designed for (subject to zone restriction).

Are we sure that the terms PAL and NTSC aren't being superfluously applied to DVDs?

Tapioca Dextrin
04-04-2004, 07:17 PM
Are we sure that the terms PAL and NTSC aren't being superfluously applied to DVDs?

Absolutely. A PAL signal comes out like garbage on an NTSC TV. Been there, done that.

Looking at some DVDs reveals that Region 1 DVDs are (usually) labelled NTSC and Region 2 are (usually) labelled PAL.

Green Eyed Stranger
04-04-2004, 10:44 PM
There's no "letterboxing" when I play my NTSC DVDs on my PAL TV - the aspect ratio is as intended. As I mentioned earlier (check out that link, if you haven't already: it's very useful) the DVD player outputs a pseudo-PAL signal called "60-Hz PAL" which my TV is capable of displaying as normal.

You're right it is a useful link:
These multi-standard players partially convert NTSC to a 60-Hz PAL (4.43 NTSC) signal. The player uses the PAL 4.43-MHz color subcarrier encoding format but keeps the 525/60 NTSC scanning rate.


(Bolding mine) To me it says that your TV is playing a mostly NTSC signal (525 lines at 60 HZ) but the color information is on the PAL subcarrier (4.43 MHz). I haven't found a difinitive link about where the extra 100 lines come from (or go) when playing this format. It could be that the TV justs adjusts the image to fit the screen. Since you say you don't see any letterboxing, that's probably it. Of course if there were letterboxing, it wouldn't be nearly as noticable as watching widescreen movies on a TV since there isn't as big of difference between PAL and NTSC aspect ratios as there is between TV and film.

Anyway, it boils down to the fact that European TV's are far more flexable than US ones. (There's irony somewhere in that statement, I just know it.)

Rex Fenestrarum
04-04-2004, 11:51 PM
Isn't that false advertising?

No. It's advertised as being region-free, that is, it circumvents the regioning system. In that, it's honest.

Mangetout
04-05-2004, 02:50 AM
Absolutely. A PAL signal comes out like garbage on an NTSC TV. Been there, done that.

Looking at some DVDs reveals that Region 1 DVDs are (usually) labelled NTSC and Region 2 are (usually) labelled PAL.
Sure, but I don't think that's quite what I was getting at; what I'm asking is whether the moving image data stored on a DVD is actually formatted in such a way as to be suitable for a specified TV format, or whether it is just a digital video stream (like an .mpg file) that needs to be converted to a suitable TV format regardless, even when played in its own region.

An analogous situation would actually be a file such as .wma or .mpg - it would be inappropriate to describe these as PAL or NTSC, because it is just a digital video file designed to be played on a computer; if you want to see it on TV, you'd have to get a TV-out card, which would convert the digital video to PAL or NTSC on the fly.

I'm not saying this is the case, I'm asking whether it is, but if it isn't, how can region 0 discs play in any player - even those that do not have built-in format converters?

kellner
04-05-2004, 06:01 AM
what I'm asking is whether the moving image data stored on a DVD is actually formatted in such a way as to be suitable for a specified TV format, or whether it is just a digital video stream (like an .mpg file) that needs to be converted to a suitable TV format regardless, even when played in its own region.It is a digital video stream and many of the electronic details of the TV norms are not relevant on that level. However the resolutions are different even in the digital data. The frame rate is also fixed in the digital data because you have a certain number of well defined frames and expect the result to run in real time. Of course you can fiddle with this by dropping or duplicating frames but that is already a part of the conversion.

Region 0 disks will only play on players that support the relevant video norm. However many will support some kind of conversion and for software players it is not an issue at all.