Will My DVDs Play on PAL Equipment?

I’m often asked to what standard my DVDs will play. Or, will my DVDs play on PAL?

Here’s the shortened version of my answer …

NTSC, No Region setting.

We are currently investigating the Phase Alternate Line (PAL) television broadcast system products for our European customers, but please read the lengthy anser for detailed information. As of this moment, the decision has not been made to have a specific PAL release. And if we decide to, it will still be quite some time to re-engineer our product.

Here’s the complete answer

The encoded video (MPEG2) on a DVD is stored in digital format, and can be formatted for one of two mutually incompatible television systems:
* 525/60 (NTSC) or
* 625/50 (PAL/SECAM).

Most of the world television formats are based on three main television standards. NTSC, PAL and SECAM (Systeme Electronique Couleur Avec Memoire).

The USA standard is NTSC and all television broadcasts (except for HDTV) meet this standard. This is the standard that we’ve adopted for our digital format storage of the video. In the UK, PAL is the dominant format. SECAM is used in France and Russia, some Eastern European, and some African countries.

There are only two kinds of DVD’s: NTSC DVD’s and PAL DVD’s. Some players play only NTSC, others play PAL and NTSC DVDs. DVDs are also coded for different regions of the world but that’s covered later.

North Americans,
Your system is NTSC!!!
Your Region is 1
That’s for Television, DVDs and VHS tapes.
For DVDs, 95% of the world’s DVD players can read NTSC.
Most NTSC players can’t play PAL DVDs.

Europeans….
Your dominant system is PAL (Except France)
Your Region is 2.
Most if not all PAL DVD players output NTSC.
Most PAL TVs will display NTSC with no problems.
If your DVD player or TV can play “Region 1 DVDs”, than they’ll be able to display NTSC with no problems.
All DVD players sold in PAL countries play both kinds of DVDs. 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. Most modern PAL TVs can handle this signal. A few multi-standard PAL players output true 3.58 NTSC from NTSC DVDs, which requires an NTSC TV or a multi-standard TV. Some players have a switch to choose 60-Hz PAL or true NTSC output when playing NTSC DVDs.

So what’s the difference ….
The three differences between NTSC discs and PAL discs are:
1) Picture size and pixel aspect ratio (720×480 vs 720×576),
2) Display frame rate (29.97 vs 25),
3) surround audio options (Dolby Digital vs MPEG audio). Video from film is usually encoded at 24 frames/sec. but is preformatted for one of the two display rates. Movies formatted for PAL display are usually sped up by 4% at playback, so the audio must be adjusted accordingly before being encoded. All PAL DVD players can play Dolby Digital audio but not all NTSC players can play MPEG audio. PAL and SECAM share the same scanning format, so discs are the same for both systems. The only difference is that SECAM players output the color signal in the format required by SECAM TV’s. Note that modern TV’s in most SECAM countries can also read PAL signals, so you can use a player that only has a PAL output.

Region Codes – What does “DVD Region” mean?

The global DVD marketplace is divided into six regional zones for two purposes: (1)to combat piracy, and (2)to regulate distribution. Regionalization allows film distributors to stagger DVD movie releases across the world’s various markets. Thus a film can be released for sale on DVD in one territory only, with access to the DVD restricted via regional coding so that this DVD cannot be viewed on a DVD player from another differently coded territory where the film may not have even been released in cinemas yet.

The world’s six DVD regions are:

* Region 1: North America and related Territories
* Region 2: Japan, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East
* Region 3: Southeast Asia and East Asia
* Region 4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central and South America
* Region 5: Indian Subcontinent, Former Soviet Union and Africa
* Region 6: China

The encryption system for regional coding is the same on all DVDs and is contained in just one byte of information. Each DVD player checks to see whether the inserted DVD can be played on that particular regional player unless it’s a multi-zone DVD player which can play DVDs from any regional zone. DVDs coded Region 0 can be played on all DVD players regardless of their specific regional setting.

If you are having trouble playing any of our DVDs, we recommend that you review your DVD player and television system to ensure that your system has the ability to play NTSC and to play Region 1 or Region 0 DVDs.

Regards,
Darrell